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Introduction

  • Simron Jit SinghEmail author
  • Helmut Haberl
  • Marian Chertow
  • Michael Mirtl
  • Martin Schmid
Chapter
Part of the Human-Environment Interactions book series (HUEN, volume 2)

Abstract

Over the last half century, exceptional changes in the natural environment attributed to human activities have placed renewed importance on the study of society-nature interactions. Contemporary problems such as climate change, loss of biodiversity and valuable ecosystems, and resource depletion have been greatly exacerbated by the unsustainable ways in which humans interact with their environment. Indeed, the magnitude of the problems we now face is an outcome of a much longer process, accelerated by industrialisation since the nineteenth century. There is evidence that ecosystems are increasingly challenged by coping with human demands (Millennium Ecosystem Assessment 2005) and that costs and benefits of the use of nature’s bounty are unequally distributed socially and geographically, inducing great potential for social conflict (Hornborg et al. 2007; Martinez-Alier et al. 2010). In this sense, the present problems are not only “ecological” but also “socio-ecological” since the effect of how societies interact with their environment has a bearing not only on ecosystems but also upon social systems and human wellbeing.

Keywords

Global Environmental Change Environmental History Sustainability Problem Environmental Sociology Energy Flow Analysis 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Authors and Affiliations

  • Simron Jit Singh
    • 1
    Email author
  • Helmut Haberl
    • 1
  • Marian Chertow
    • 2
  • Michael Mirtl
    • 3
  • Martin Schmid
    • 4
  1. 1.Institute of Social Ecology Vienna (SEC)Alpen-Adria Universitaet Klagenfurt, Wien, GrazViennaAustria
  2. 2.Center for Industrial Ecology, Yale School of Forestry and Environmental StudiesYale UniversityNew HavenUSA
  3. 3.Department of Ecosystem Research and MonitoringEnvironment Agency AustriaViennaAustria
  4. 4.Center for Environmental History, Institute of Social Ecology Vienna (SEC)Alpen-Adria Universitaet Klagenfurt, Vienna, GrazViennaAustria

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