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Environmental Sociology

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).

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Inclusive Wealth Report 2012 Last Updated on 2013-10-29 21:21:58 The 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 »
Gibraltar Last Updated on 2013-10-13 00:03:00 Gibraltar 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 interactions Last Updated on 2013-08-28 20:28:34 Humans 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[1]. Ecology and Society[2] and Environment and Development Economics[3] 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[4]. This article explains how the functioning of property rights regimes in relation to human use of the environment, is critical to the design... More »
Ethnobotany Last 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 »
Poverty and National Parks Last Updated on 2011-08-22 00:00:00   Many poor people live around national parks in developing countries. Does that mean that these parks are contributing to their poverty? Living on the Edge of Poverty and National Parks Decade-long study questions conventional wisdom about the relationship between national parks and poverty If so many poor people live around national parks in developing countries, does that mean that these parks are contributing to their poverty? Yes, according to the conventional wisdom, but no, according to a 10-year study of people living around Kibale National Park in Uganda published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. "Often people have lamented that the poorest of the poor live on the edge of the parks, and the assumption is that it's the parks that are keeping people poor," said Lisa Naughton, a professor of geography at the... More »