[23], Clashes between environmentalists, who are often exurban migrants who moved from urban to rural areas for outdoor activities and scenic nature, and longtime residents who are involved in extractive industries such as mining, ranching, and agriculture are common in the western United States. Some aim to help local communities develop industries that depended on rainforests in nondestructive ways, such as non-timber forest products like rattan, rubber, medicines, and fruit. We live on a planet where the climate—winds, precipitation, weather, temperatures—is being modified by the collective impact of the human species. There are many questions, some of a global scale, which arise when viewing the environmental anthropology of homelessness from a critical perspective. Cultural evolutionism: a theory popular in nineteenth and early twentieth century anthropology suggesting that societies evolved through stages from simple to advanced. This work also reminds us that environmentalism and conservation are grounded in sets of beliefs, assumptions, and world views developed in Western Europe and North America and must be translated as environmentalists work in other cultures. question in her concise introduction to environmental anthropology while maintaining the structure and clarity of previous editions the third edition has been thoroughly revised to include new research newly added are a chapter on the environmental impact of war and recommended readings and films townsend begins with a environmental anthropology from pigs to policies … Most of the stories we tell about ourselves and our place in the world and especially stories told by anthropologists revolve around Homo sapiens. “Energy and the Evolution of Culture.” In Anthropological Theory: An Introductory History, edited by R. Jon McGee and Richard L. Warms. Though these indigenous groups achieved visibility and some important victories, they remained vulnerable to negative press and needed to carefully manage their images. The anthropological focus on local communities is a welcome change of perspective when, by definition, the scale of global climate change seems to preclude local involvement and solutions. This work explains not only how and why people do what they do, but also the advantages of their systems in the environments in which they live. In an early an influential study of political ecology, Piers Blaikie and others argued that soil erosion was not caused by many of the factors blamed by state governments, including overpopulation, bad farming practices, and environmental stresses. Their goal was to create an environmental management plan for the region that would limit development and urban growth. Environmental anthropology is an exciting subfield that will grow in importance as questions of envi-ronmental sustainability become increasingly central to scientific and popular conversations about the future of our species and the planet. The report identified the human causes and contributions to climate change and emphasized that climate change is already having an impact as rising sea levels are forcing residents of places such as Kiribati to flee their island homes and melting ice shelves threaten the subsistence practices and the lifestyle of Inuit groups in Alaska. From the perspective of such groups, the government seems to value elephants, tigers, or scenic vistas more than the people living on the land. Pro-development forces, rather than participating, mobilized politically to remove supporters of the plan from county government seats and derail the process. For example, on the Hawaiian island of Oahu the trash incinerator and landfill are on the west side of the island where many native Hawaiians and other low-income groups live. They tried to bring together a variety of environmental and pro-development groups to dialogue but were met with an intense political backlash. How can they bring old, outdated things new life through innovation? "Roundtable Discussion: Reading List for a Progressive Environmental Anthropology." Environmental historian William Cronon tackled this question directly in his essay, “The Trouble with Wilderness, or Getting Back to the Wrong Nature.”[20] Cronon argued that, by celebrating a nature supposedly untouched by human hands, we tend to forget about preserving the nature with which we come in contact every day. Top qualified writers for this question. All other trademarks and copyrights are the property of their respective owners. Research suggests that deforestation was one of the causes of the collapse of the city-state. Later, they gradually introduce tree crops, and the plot is left to regrow trees while they open new fields for crops. This conclusion challenged two major assumptions made about the rainforest and the people who lived there. Ethnobotanical work is interdisciplinary, and while some ethnobotanists are anthropologists, many are botanists or come from other disciplines. 6. Many environmental justice advocates are anthropologists and political ecologists. What is the myth of the ecologically noble savage? Second, cultural resource managers recognize the need for continuing involvement of indigenous communities with archaeological sites and seek their input to inform management plans and practices. The Western media, they argue, imagined indigenous groups as ecologically noble savages, and the danger in that perspective is that the indigenous communities would be particularly vulnerable if they lost that symbolic purity and the power that came with it. Sahlins, Marshall. In many indigenous communities worldwide, cultural activities and beliefs are connected to specific landscapes and ecologies. They do not deny the important contributions of science and the scientific method. As a discipline concerned primarily with human-environment interaction, environmental anthropologists recognize that we are now working within a pressure cooker of rapid environmental … The emphasis on human–environmental interactions in the production of disease has obvious synergies with epidemiology, and it is no surprise that there are many biological anthropologists working with epidemiologists and in public health. … All rights reserved. : Green Encounters : Shaping and Contesting Environmentalism in Rural Costa Rica by Luis A. Vivanco (2007, Trade Paperback) at the best online … The Kayapó in the Amazon and another group known as the Penan, who live in the Indonesian rainforest, were both confronted in the past by plans to open logging roads in their traditional territories and build dams that would flood vast amounts of their land. He accompanied Kayapó leaders to Washington, D.C., to protest construction of a large dam using funds from the World Bank. While valuing cultural diversity, anthropologists also argue for a holistic perspective that universally values human life regardless of such differences. Many archaeologists credit increased productivity that came with agriculture as the foundation of civilization, allowing humans to live in larger settlements, specialize in craft production, and develop social hierarchies and eventually math, writing, and science. Questions of cause and effect, for instance, are comprised of political and economic agendas that can be masked by a seemingly neutral language of scientific objectivity. A medical … This course in environmental anthropology will be organized around a . 358 PERSPECTIVES: AN OPEN INTRODUCTION TO CULTURAL ANTHROPOLOGY. Disney’s Pocahontas presents many of the stereotypes of the ecologically noble savage. Balee was a friend of Darrell Posey, and their work together got Balee thinking about the extent to which the Amazon rainforest is a product of human productive activities and not entirely natural processes. 8. Multispecies ethnographies: an ethnographic approach in which anthropologists include non-human species as active participants in a society or culture and study their influence and actions. For this discussion I would like to to pick 2 of the following questions from the book and answer them. Extractive reserves: community-managed protected areas designed to allow for sustainable extraction of certain natural resources (such as fish, rubber, Brazil nuts, and rattan) while maintaining key ecosystems in place. Some specialize in environmental anthropology. Second is the notion that the Amazon was primeval, untouched, and pristine. Biological anthropology (also called physical anthropology), then, is an interesting mixture of social studies and biological studies; several other ingredients make it even more fascinating. Anthropologists work for international conservation organizations like Conservation International, The Nature Conservancy, and the World Wildlife Fund and with government agencies like the National Park Service, the Peace Corps, and USAID. 7. Because those societies depended heavily on the natural world for food, medicine, and building materials, such knowledge was often essential to their survival. There are 4 fields in Anthropology, and each asks different types of questions. The conservation and development project with which I am most familiar is related to extractive reserves in the Brazilian Amazon. This idea aligned with ecological thinking at the time that emphasized the balance of nature and the importance of the various components of an ecosystem in maintaining that balance. It means that one must leave civilization behind to be in contact with nature. Anthropologists have become involved in environmental causes around the world. Environmental anthropology, which a subfield of anthropology, studies the relationship of humans with the environment in the past and in the present.... Our experts can answer your tough homework and study questions. The system breaks down when cleared forests are not allowed to regrow and instead are replaced with industrial agriculture, cattle raising, or logging operations that transform the open fields into pasture or permanent agricultural plots. Another fascinating tale comes from William Balee’s work in the Amazon. I spent a summer doing research for my master’s thesis on extractive reserves established by Brazilian rubber tappers in Acre, which is in the northwestern corner of the Brazilian Amazon. An anthropological analysis of consumption reminds us that the categories of “necessities” and “luxuries” are cultural constructs. In environmental sciences, this move to question the objectivity of science can be seen in political ecology, a diverse field that includes many anthropologists along with geographers, political scientists, sociologists, and other social scientists. Much of the work on multispecies ethnography has been done by feminist anthropologists who have already been at work for decades on similarly decentering male-focused histories of our species. Struggles to Secure Environmental Quality and Social Justice,”. Some of my favorite work in political ecology challenges the causes and effects of tropical deforestation. Exurban: a term that describes the migration of generally affluent people from urban areas to rural areas for the amenities of nature, recreation, and scenic beauty associated with rural areas. Q.DNA is responsible for your phenotype, but to what extent? Create your account. Similarly, archaeologists and paleobotanists study prehistoric people’s relationships and use of plants, especially in terms of domestication of plants and animals. Environmental Anthropology Ecological anthropology studies the relations between human beings and their environments. Do we really need cars or cell phones to be happy? The answers can be a bit better illuminated by showing how marginalized groups, outside of the dominant paradigm, such as the homeless, can serve as indicators of the state of the overall relationship of the … Some political ecologists have noted this contradiction and called for local movements and their pushes against extension of states power to be taken more seriously, including in the United States.[24]. In that case, local farmers must replant areas more frequently and soil fertility declines. They describe the moral economy of a turf grass commons in which maintaining a healthy lawn signified important values of being connected to the community, your family, and nature. This course provides an overview of the types of environmental disasters that commonly affect both human and non-human primates. Because these chemicals wash into waterways, lawns have an enormous collective environmental impact. In that sense, environmental anthropology is a way to inform and connect with a variety of other disciplines that address similar questions of sustainability. The ability of early humans to shape the landscape, first by simply encouraging wild plants to grow and later by planting and irrigating crops and domesticating plants and animals, set humans on the path toward our current problematic relationship with the planet. But in general, Anthropologists ask all sorts of questions about people! Mendes was eventually assassinated by owners of some of the cattle ranches who were unhappy about his activism, but ultimately, the movement was successful. Most of the stories we tell about ourselves and our place in the world and especially stories told by anthropologists revolve around Homo sapiens. Cameron’s depiction, which includes a sympathetic anthropologist, criticizes Western capitalism as willing to destroy nature for profit. Environmental anthropology is a subfield of anthropology with roots in activism. This approach aims to combine conservation and development, bringing together typically different objectives. Despite its positive portrayals of indigenous groups, the idea of the ecologically noble savage tends to treat indigenous peoples as an imagined “other” constructed as the opposite of Western culture rather than endeavoring to understand the world views and complexities of indigenous cultures. Read more Read less. The QS World University Rankings by Subject 2020 cover 48 different subjects. Anthropologist Sidney Mintz documented how our sweet tooth led to development of the slave trade, industrialization, capitalism, and colonization in the Americas. Both of these economic activities require a healthy, mature forest. It also has to be answered from the online book. As ecologists began to develop more-complex models of how ecosystems change through long-term dynamic processes of succession and disturbances (such as storms, droughts, and El Niño events), anthropological approaches to the environment also changed. White described how cultures evolved through their ability to use energy as they domesticated plants and animals, captured the energy stored in fossil fuels, and developed nuclear power. She criticizes people who anthropomorphize dogs and challenges her readers to understand dogs on their own terms.[32]. Although the area, which consisted of 20,000 square kilometers, included 170 communities, most government maps showed it as practically empty. The main focus of this particular perspective focuses on a … The place of disease in this framework is as an environmental stressor that can shape human population structure and variation through differential mortality and fertility. His work built on earlier anthropological concepts of cultural evolution—the idea that cultures, like organisms, evolve over time and progress from simple to more complex. As cattle ranching expanded in the Amazon, rubber tappers were being evicted because they did not have formal title to the land on which they lived and worked. Increasingly, though, some anthropologists have begun to think about how other species make decisions and exercise a degree of agency that can influence history. Find many great new & used options and get the best deals for Environmental Anthropology and Ethnobiology Ser. The increased consumption of sugar associated with industrialization provided financial incentives for continuing slavery and colonization projects in the Americas. Identify the methods and theories anthropologists use to examine human interactions with the environment. Perspectives: An Open Invitation to Cultural Anthropology, http://www.bruno-latour.fr/sites/default/files/139-AAA-Washington.pdf, http://anthropology.ua.edu/cultures/cultures.php?culture=Ecological%20Anthropology. Environmentalists and developers have decried slash-and-burn cultivation as a major cause of deforestation, and governments in many tropical countries have prohibited farmers from cutting and burning forests. Although anthropologists have studied the city since the 1930s, the label urban anthropology became common only in the early 1960s. Tuscaloosa, AL: University of Alabama Press, 2013. [28] This arrangement makes economic sense for consumers in relatively rich countries in North America and Europe, but the workers in Africa are out of sight and out of mind, often working without proper protection from the toxic metals or even training on their dangers. Regardless of whether you decide to study anthropology, understanding the value of anthropological insights for environmental questions will allow you to better appreciate and understand the complexity of environmental questions in modern society and potential solutions. In addition, the failure of many of these projects has inspired governments and NGOs to include local communities in planning and operating conservation and development schemes. This is the prompt the teacher gave… Just pick two from each section and write 5-6 sentences for each. This was first done in Alaska and Canada in the 1960s and 1970s. The American Anthropological Association, for example, recently issued a Statement on Humanity and Climate Change meant to “to recognize anthropological contributions to global climate change-related issues, articulate new research directions, and provide the American Anthropological Association with actions and recommendations to support and promote anthropological investigation of these issues including the development of course curricula and application of anthropological theory and methods to the issues.”[5] Such statements emphasize the importance of anthropological contributions to current scientific and political debates. One branch of ethnoecology is ethnobotany, which studies traditional uses of plants for food, construction, dyes, crafts, and medicine. Consequently, as a logging or mining company moves in, it destroys both the environment and culture. Archaeological evidence of collapses of earlier societies—Harappan cities in the Indus River Valley, the Maya in Central America, and the Rapa Nui of Easter Island, for example—provides a sobering warning as many pre-historic cultures’ practices were, at some level, environmentally unsustainable, leading to deforestation, soil salinization, or erosion. These interactions improve archaeological research and create the kind of cross-cultural bridges that strengthen the discipline. … By giving the trees to the small-holders and allowing them to harvest and sell them whenever they wanted, he motivated them to plant and care for the seedlings like any other valuable cash crop. [12] When there is a low population density and an adequate supply of land, slash-and-burn cultivation is a highly sustainable type of elongated crop rotation in which annuals are planted for a few years, followed first by tree crops and then by forest, rebuilding soil nutrients and mimicking natural processes of forest disturbance in which tree falls and storms periodically open up small patches of the forest. Protected areas developed from the Western vision of nature that separates it from culture and assumes that one must exclude humans to conserve nature. Steward emphasised the dynamic, two-way nature of the culture-environment relation, and the importance of the concept of adaptation in understanding it. He described how a hunting and gathering subsistence economy that relied on pine nuts, grass seeds, berries, deer, elk, sheep, antelope, and rabbits shaped Shoshone culture. Research on political ecology from such case studies forces us to recognize that the debates are not solely about environmental ethics; they also involve control over valuable resources such as land, timber, and oil. Multispecies ethnographies challenge the centrality of humans in the world. What political, economic, and cultural factors are prohibiting world leaders from agreeing on solutions to global environmental challenges? I begin with a brief overview of anthropological analysis of human interactions with the environment and then explore how anthropological perspectives toward human-environmental interactions have changed over time. By connecting natural and human diversity, anthropologists recognize humans’ interdependence with the environment over time. Become a better citizen by learning how society works. Land was cleared to increase agricultural production and to harvest wood for the construction of houses, fueling cooking fires, and producing lime, which was used to make plaster for large-scale construction projects. environmental anthropology student summaries/questions followed by questions from class and discussion. Environmentalists who were worried about Amazonian deforestation joined forces with the rubber tappers, who were worried about their livelihoods, and together they created extractive reserves—protected areas owned by the federal government but managed by local communities of rubber tappers who could stay on the land indefinitely as long as they followed the environmental regulations they established. In subsequent decades, movements in both anthropology and archaeology criticized those scientific perspectives, challenging their objectivity, a process I examine in greater detail later in this chapter. Initially, the farmers plant mostly perennial crops such as rice, beans, corn, taro, and manioc. For example, Donna Haraway writes about dogs and how the relationship between dogs and humans has evolved over time. [11] Harris explored the importance of cattle for milk production, dung for fuel and fertilizer, labor for plowing, and provision of meat and hides to the lowest caste, untouchables, who were able to slaughter and eat cows and tan their hides because they were already seen as ritually impure. “Changing the Atmosphere: Anthropology and Climate Change.” Final Report for the AAA Global Climate Change Task Force. Anthropology is the study of people, in all times and in all places. Because they often speak the local language, understand the peoples’ perspectives, and are interested in close, on-the-ground observations, anthropologists make valuable contributions in support of conservation and economic development. 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