Our species has transitioned from being one among millions on Earth to the species that is single-handedly transforming the entire planet to suit its own needs. In order to meet the daunting challenges of environmental sustainability in this epoch of human domination—known as the Anthropocene—ecologists have begun to think differently about the interdependencies between humans and the natural world. This concise and accessible book provides the best available introduction to what this new ecology is all about—and why it matters more than ever before. Oswald Schmitz describes how the science of ecology is evolving to provide a better understanding of how human agency is shaping the natural world, often in never-before-seen ways. The new ecology emphasizes the importance of conserving species diversity, because it can offer a portfolio of options to keep our ecosystems resilient in the face of environmental change. It envisions humans taking on new roles as thoughtful stewards of the environment to ensure that ecosystems have the enduring capacity to supply the environmental services on which our economic well-being—and our very existence—depend. It offers the ecological know-how to maintain and enhance our planet's environmental performance and ecosystem production for the benefit of current and future generations. Informative and engaging, The New Ecology shows how today’s ecology can provide the insights we need to appreciate the crucial role we play in this era of unprecedented global environmental transition.
This book focuses on the representation of nature in science education in schools in the United States. Given the importance of our relationship with the nonhuman world for the fate of our planet, this work gives special attention to the representation, instruction, and understanding of the relationship between the social and the natural world. It also proposes an alternative, sustainability science-based conceptual framework for ecology and environmental science topics in science education, which is compatible with the current social-ecological understanding of life in the Anthropocene epoch.
This handbook is recognition of the need to better integrate physical and human geography. It combines a collection of work and research within the new field of Critical Physical Geography, which gives critical attention to relations of social power with deep knowledge of a particular field of biophysical science. Critical Physical Geography research accords careful attention to biophysical landscapes and the power relations that have increasingly come to shape them, and to the politics of environmental science and the role of biophysical inquiry in promoting social and environmental justice. The Palgrave Handbook of Critical Physical Geography lays out the scope and guiding principles of Critical Physical Geography research. It presents a carefully selected set of empirical work, demonstrating the range and intellectual strength of existing integrative work in geography research. This handbook is the first of its kind to cover this emerging discipline and will be of significant interest to students and academics across the fields of geography, the environment and sustainability.
This book is for those who are not just interested in the ways humans have harmfully altered their environment, but instead wish to learn why the many governmental policies in place to curb such behavior have been unsuccessful. Since humans began to exploit natural resources for their own economic ends, we have ignored a central principle: nature and humans are not separate, but are a unified, interconnected system in which neither is superior to the other. Policy must reflect this reality. We failed to follow this principle in exploiting natural capital without expecting to pay any price, and in hurriedly adopting environmental laws and policies that reflected how we wanted nature to work instead of how it does work. This study relies on more accurate models for how nature works and humans behave. These models suggest that environmental laws should be consistent with the laws of nature.
The Anthropocene, in which humankind has become a geological force, is a major scientific proposal; but it also means that the conceptions of the natural and social worlds on which sociology, political science, history, law, economics and philosophy rest are called into question. The Anthropocene and the Global Environmental Crisis captures some of the radical new thinking prompted by the arrival of the Anthropocene and opens up the social sciences and humanities to the profound meaning of the new geological epoch, the ‘Age of Humans’. Drawing on the expertise of world-recognised scholars and thought-provoking intellectuals, the book explores the challenges and difficult questions posed by the convergence of geological and human history to the foundational ideas of modern social science. If in the Anthropocene humans have become a force of nature, changing the functioning of the Earth system as volcanism and glacial cycles do, then it means the end of the idea of nature as no more than the inert backdrop to the drama of human affairs. It means the end of the ‘social-only’ understanding of human history and agency. These pillars of modernity are now destabilised. The scale and pace of the shifts occurring on Earth are beyond human experience and expose the anachronisms of ‘Holocene thinking’. The book explores what kinds of narratives are emerging around the scientific idea of the new geological epoch, and what it means for the ‘politics of unsustainability’.
This book is an original, accessible, and thought-provoking introduction to the severe and broad-ranging challenges that climate change presents and how societies can respond. It synthesizes and deploys cutting-edge scholarship on the range of social, economic, political, and philosophical issues surrounding climate change. The treatment is introductory, but the book is written "with attitude", for nobody has yet charted in coherent, integrative, and effective fashion a way to move societies beyond their current paralysis as they face the challenges of climate change. The coverage begins with an examination of science, public opinion, and policy making, with special attention to organized climate change denial. The book then moves to economic analysis and its limits; different kinds of policies; climate justice; governance at all levels from the local to the global; and the challenge of an emerging "Anthropocene" in which the mostly unintended consequences of human action drive the earth system into a more chaotic and unstable era. The conclusion considers the prospects for fundamental transition in ideas, movements, economics, and governance.
Today's students will face the unprecedented challenges of a rapidly warming world, including emerging diseases, food shortages, drought, and waterlogged cities. How do we prepare 9.5 billion people for life in the Anthropocene, to thrive in this uncharted and more chaotic future? Answers are being developed in universities, preschools, professional schools, and even prisons around the world. In the latest volume of State of the World, a diverse group of education experts share innovative approaches to teaching and learning in a new era. EarthEd will inspire anyone who wants to prepare students not only for the storms ahead but to become the next generation of sustainability leaders.
Rethinking International Cooperation in a Complex World
Author: Ben Ramalingam
Publisher: OUP Oxford
Category: Business & Economics
Many agree that the foreign aid system - which today involves virtually every nation on earth - needs drastic change. But there is much conflict as to what should be done. In Aid on the Edge of Chaos, Ben Ramalingam argues that what is most needed is the creative and innovative transformation of how aid works. Foreign aid today is dominated by linear, mechanistic ideas that emerged from early twentieth century industry, and are ill-suited to the world we face today. The problems and systems aid agencies deal with on a daily basis have more in common with ecosystems than machines: they are interconnected, diverse, and dynamic; they cannot be just simply re-engineered or fixed. Outside of aid, social scientists, economists, business leaders, and policy makers have started applying innovative and scientific approaches to such problems, informed by ideas from the 'new science' of complex adaptive systems. Inspired by these efforts, aid practitioners and researchers have started experimenting with such approaches in their own work. This book showcases the experiences, insights, and often remarkable results of innovative thinkers and practitioners who are working to bring these approaches into the mainstream of aid. From transforming child malnutrition to rethinking economic growth, from building peace to reversing desertification, from rural Vietnam to urban Kenya, the ideas of complex systems thinking are starting to be used to make foreign aid more relevant, more appropriate, and more catalytic. Aid on the Edge of Chaos argues that such ideas and approaches should play a vital part of the transformation of aid. Aid should move from being an imperfect post-World War II global resource transfer system, to a new form of global cooperation that is truly fit for the twenty-first century.
Thinking about Animals in the Age of the Anthropocene makes connections between the Anthropocene discourse and human-animal studies, thus facilitating further interdisciplinary work on the topic of animals in the Anthropocene.
Explores the causes and implications of the Anthropocene, or Age of Humans, from multiple points of view including anthropological, scientific, social, artistic, and economic. Although we arrived only recently in Earth's timeline, humans are driving major changes to the planet's ecosystems. Even now, the basic requirements for human life--air, water, shelter, food, nature, and culture--are rapidly transforming the planet as billions of people compete for resources. These changes have become so noticeable on a global scale that scientists believe we are living in a new chapter in Earth's story: the Anthropocene, or Age of Humans. Living in the Anthropocene: Earth in the Age of Humans is a vital look at this era. The book contextualizes the Anthropocene by presenting paleontological, historical, and contemporary views of various human effects on Earth. It discusses environmental and biological systems that have been changed and affected; the causes of the Anthropocene, such as agricultural spread, pollution, and urbanization; how societies are responding and adapting to these changes; how these changes have been represented in art, film, television, and literature; and finally, offers a look toward the future of our environment and our own lives.