Environmental Sociology is a sub-discipline of Sociology focused on researching, analyzing and communicating the complex and wide range of interactions among human societies and the environments that they inhabit. The growing recognition, among all segments of humankind, of the interface of individual and societal well-being and environmental quality helps to define—and elevate—the remit of Environmental Sociology. Significantly, the field has focused on the social dimensions of the ambient, natural environment and the built, human-made environment.
Topical examples of Environmental Sociology include efforts to: understand environmental thought and action as parts of wider social endeavor; clarify how and why people and their cultures perceive environmental opportunities as well as environmental problems; and, investigate, interpret and communicate the nature of drivers of natural and human-induced decline or improvement in environmental condition. Additional foci of the discipline are designed to address the spectrum of issues from environmental degradation and globalization to sustainability and local food systems. Increasingly, these foci aim to disclose the reasons behind inequitable distribution of environmental hazards (for example, investigations of circumstances wherein socially disadvantaged populations often encounter greater exposures to myriad environmental stressors and hazards).
Noise pollution is unwanted or harmful sound that intrudes upon human or other faunal activity. Noise pollution is almost entirely human generated, whether by machine sources...
Climate Change PerceptionsLast Updated on 2014-11-20 11:03:33
The Perception Factor: Climate Change Gets Personal
This article, written by Catherine M. Cooney, appeared first in Environmental Health Perspectives—the peer-reviewed, open access journal of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.
The article is a verbatim version of the original and is not available for edits or additions by Encyclopedia of Earth editors or authors. Companion articles on the same topic that are editable may exist within the Encyclopedia of Earth.
Summer 2010 saw a new suite of climate change studies from the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) with the stark conclusion that “Climate change is occurring, is caused largely by human activities, and poses significant risks for—and in many cases is already affecting—a broad range of human and natural systems.”1 The NAS series received a boost from separate research... More »
Inclusive Wealth Report 2012Last Updated on 2013-10-29 21:21:58The International Human Dimensions Programme on Global Environmental Change (IHDP)* announced at the Rio+20 Summit on June 17, 2012. the launch of the Inclusive Wealth Report 2012 (IWR 2012). The report measures the wealth of nations.
Download PDF | Read more about the report
The report presents a new economic index, which looks beyond the traditional short term economic and development yardsticks of gross domestic product (GDP) and the Human Development Index (HDI). The Inclusive Wealth Index (IWI) assesses changes in a country’s productive base, including produced, human, and natural capital over time. By taking a more holistic approach, the IWI shows governments the true state of their nation’s wealth and the sustainability of its growth.
Twenty countries were assessed in the IWR 2012 over a period of 19 years (1990-2008). Together they represent more than half of... More »
GibraltarLast Updated on 2013-10-13 00:03:00Gibraltar is a small overseas territory of the United Kingdom with slightly under 30,000 people strategically located on Strait of Gibraltar that links the North Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea, adjoining Spain.
Strategically important, Gibraltar was reluctantly ceded to Great Britain by Spain in the 1713 Treaty of Utrecht. The British garrison was formally declared a colony in 1830.
In a referendum held in 1967, Gibraltarians voted overwhelmingly to remain a British dependency.
The subsequent granting of autonomy in 1969 by the UK led to Spain closing the border and severing all communication links.
A series of talks were held by the United Kingdom and Spain between 1997 and 2002 on establishing temporary joint sovereignty over Gibraltar. In response to these talks, the Gibraltar Government called a referendum in late 2002 in which... More »
Property rights and ecological-social interactionsLast Updated on 2013-08-28 20:28:34Humans interact with their environment through systems of property rights and governance (that are embedded in social, political, cultural, and economic context), and thereby affect both the quantity and quality of environmental resources. While national and international economic policies have often ignored the environment, institutions could play a key role in reconciling economic development and the maintenance of environmental carrying capacity and resilience. Ecology and Society and Environment and Development Economics describes recent research on resilience in social-ecological systems. Folke and Gunderson identify several papers which explain how better ecological-social research can help to address global environmental issues. This article explains how the functioning of property rights regimes in relation to human use of the environment, is critical to the design... More »
EthnobotanyLast Updated on 2012-06-25 00:00:00
What is Ethnobotany?
Ethnobotany is the study of how people of a particular culture and region make use of indigenous (native) plants. Since their earliest origins, humans have depended on plants for their primary needs and existence. Plants provide food, medicine, shelter, dyes, fibers, oils, resins, gums, soaps, waxes, latex, tannins, and even contribute to the air we breathe. Many native peoples also used plants in ceremonial or spiritual rituals. Examining human life on earth requires understanding the role of plants in historical and current day cultures.
Plants and People
Throughout time, countless peoples have tested and recorded the usefulness of plants. Those plants with beneficial uses were kept and utilized. Our cultures evolved by passing from generation to generation ever more sophisticated knowledge of plants and their usefulness. Even today, we depend upon... More »
Drag and drop the content to change the order of featured content. The top nine will be displayed.