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Introduction to Ecology and Society - Lesson Summary

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The ecology of human societies is about connections between ecological and human-social, cultural, and organizational processes.

• Ecology: Refers to the interrelations of human beings, flora,  and fauna with elements of the natural and the physical environment-biotic and non-biotic components. 
• Environment: Refers to the surroundings, or the contexts within which humans, animals, plants, and others exist. 

We live in close interaction with the natural environment that has shaped our cultural identity, value-systems, and our economic well being. Unlike other species, human beings are not driven by instinct, but rather, human behaviour is learned, as we interact with our environment. 

After the Industrial Revolution, the increase in human population, human technology and development are now being seen as a threat to the natural environment. This fragility of the ecosystem comes as a result of a bigger demand in natural resources. 

The Environmental Movement flourished in the 1960's in the midst of the Civil Rights, Peace and Women's Rights Movement. Rachel Carson's book, Silent Spring, brought to public attention the dangers of environmental pollution to public health and sparked the beginning of modern 'environmentalism. 

In response to The Environmental Movement, several laws emerged to regulate environmental pollution and protect natural resources such as The National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA). 

The 1970's saw the emergence of Environmental Institutions: 
• First Earth Day was in 1970
• Greenpeace emerged in 1971
• The UN Conference on Human Development was 1972 
• The World Watch Institute was created in 1975

The term Global Warming was coined in 1985 and a hole in the ozone layer was discovered this same year.

In 1987, a document titled, World Commission on Environment and Development was drafted.

in May 1999, The UK's Sustainable Development Strategy was published, with added meanings to define Sustainable Development.