The Way the Wind Blows is an important contribution to a growing literature demonstrating the importance of integrating social and natural scientific approaches in order to address issues related to global sustainability. This book reports the findings of a conference held at Rice University, ‘convened to bridge the gap between climatology and the human sciences…and to bring the history of human responses to climate to the international debate on climate change’ (p. 1). The authors of this volume contend that one contribution is that information from the archaeological record can significantly extend the relatively short instrumental record of climate change, thereby allowing researchers to examine the full range of truly long-term processes. Their fundamental proposition, however, is that humanity interacts not directly with nature, but with its perceptions of nature, and it acts on those perceptions often through behaviors that are intangible (p. 6). Hence, to a human population, an environmental crisis is primarily a matter of the social realm, implying a failure of adaptation rather than a breakdown in the environment itself (p. 7). Change, and nonlinear change in particular, are seen as characterizing human–environmental relations with environmental transformations that might be catastrophic for other species sometimes
Ecological Economics – Elsevier
Published: Sep 1, 2002
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