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Where does the environment leave off and society begin? When expanding production and consumption drives greenhouse gas emissions that warm the planet, which in turn influence the conditions of economic expansion, it is unclear where the climate ends and the economy begins. This fact is not new to our era, however, our social and natural sciences have only recently come to grips with the incredible complexity of the world described by understanding the environment and society as being of a piece. As a result, in the last decade there has been an unprecedented explosion of new concepts, theories, facts, and techniques that follow from such an understanding.
The Encyclopedia of Environment and Society brings together multiplying issues, concepts, theories, examples, problems, and policies, with the goal of clearly explicating an emerging way of thinking about people and nature. With more than 1,200 entries written by experts from incredibly diverse fields, this innovative resource is a first step toward diving into the deep pool of emerging knowledge. The four volumes of this Encyclopedia represent more than a catalogue of terms. Rather they capture the spirit of the moment, a fascinating time when global warming and genetic engineering represent only two of the most obvious examples of socio-environmental issues.