This book provides a lively and thoughtful introduction to ecological anthropology by examining the evolving relations between human communities and nature.
- Written by a noted anthropologist, geographer, and environmental scientist.
- Reviews the evolution of human interactions with the natural world – drawing from anthropology and geography.
- Explores those aspects of human ecological relations that seem to account for the greater connectedness of certain societies to their physical environment.
- Offers a vision for improved relations between humans and nature.
List of Figures
1. Human Agency and the State of the Earth
- Can one conceive of ecosystems without human agents?
- Human agency: individuals making a difference
- Overwhelming evidence for concern with the condition of the earth system
- Looking back and looking forward
2. A Reminder: How Things Were
- The study of human ecological relations
- The contemporary study of environmental issues
- The evolution of human-environment interactions
- Hunter-gatherers: Setting our preferences
- How did we decide to become farmers?
- Herding and farming: An uneasy relationship
- More food for the masses
3. The Great Forgetting
- Earth Transformations in prehistory
- The archeology of environmental change
- The urban-industrial revolution and the unleashing of Prometheus
- The contemporary situation: Human-dominated ecosystems
4. The Web of Life: Are We in It?
- The web of life and trophic relations: Thinking ecologically
- Ecosystem productivity and net primary production
- Land Use and long-term disturbance
5. What Makes People Want to Change the Environment?
- Learning, Adaptation, and Information
- Mitigation and the Cautionary Principle
- Transforming the face of the earth through making better decisions
- Population and the Environment
6. Rebuilding Communities and Institutions
- Community in human evolution
- What is sacred in human evolution?
- Tragedies of the commons
- Institutions and self-organization
- Bioregionalism, deep ecology and embedding people in nature
7. Can We Learn When We Have Enough?
- Material boys and material girls
- Patterns of consumption in developed countries
- Patterns of consumption in developing countries
- A feeding frenzy and a crisis in public health
- Burning fossils fuels instead of calories
- Do we have enough material goods now?
8. Quality of Life: When Less Is More
- Resource abundance vs resource scarcity
- When less is more
- The scale of the problem and the scale of the solutions
- Restoring Our Balance: Valuing community, and trust, rather than more "stuff"
- Are we happier when we have more?
Emilio Moran is James H. Rudy Professor of Anthropology, Professor of Environmental Sciences, and Adjunct Professor of Geography at Indiana University.
"We need more books like this! Moran provides a wonderfully accessible and compelling introduction to the greatest issue of our times. This book is required reading to understand the all-too-human dimension of the environmental crisis and why there is real hope for recovery."
– Tom Lovejoy, The H. John Heinz III Center for Science, Economics and the Environment
"Vintage Emilio Moran! A highly readable, well grounded and insightful stock-taking of human environmental relations – a perspective that will be highly valued by both students and others concerned with an enlightened view of how our species manages or mismanages its habitat."
– Daniel G. Bates, Hunter College, CUNY, and Editor, Human Ecology
"In this original and thoughtful book, Moran leads readers from the past history of human interactions with natural ecosystems through the present crisis of environmental sustainability and into the future, noting serious challenges, and positive trends as well."
– Ben Orlove, University of California Davis, and Editor, Current Anthropology
"Moran [...] provides a primer of the field for beginning students, covering current environmental problems from an anthropological perspective and looking to hunter-gatherers, early farmers, and other ancient and traditional peoples for comparison. Students can learn what they can do to make the world simpler and better. Recommended for libraries serving high school and undergraduate students, and anyone interested in living more wisely."
"Those among us who would like to better understand the intricate interaction between knowledge on environmental issues and societal reactions will most definitely profit from this little book, which can be whole heartedly recommended."
– Environmental Geology
"The major themes of People and Nature provide a menu rich enough to satisfy any beginning student of ecological anthropology."