Understanding History of Human Interaction with Nature Can Help Manage Global System

A better more sustainable and desirable future requires humans to learn from past interactions with the environment. Multidirectional connections have been created throughout time from human reactions to change.

For example, extreme drought triggered both social collapse and revolutionary systems of water management through irrigation. An article in the current issue of AMBIO: A Journal of the Human Environment studied the historical significance of human interaction with nature.

Society in the 21st century is a global system, and the most critical problems facing humanity exceed regional and national borders. In the past, when civilizations were challenged, or even when they collapsed, it happened in a relatively isolated region. In our interconnected global system, massive social or environmental trouble in one region threatens the entire system.

Current societal actions, such as contributions to global warming, can reverberate in climatic and other ways for centuries into the future. If society wants to survive the accumulating problems it now faces, an integrated, transdisciplinary understanding of how humans have interacted with nature in the past is vital.

To develop an integrated understanding of the link between human and environmental change, a project of the global-change research community has been started called “Integrated History and future of People on Earth (IHOPE).”

IHOPE takes a positive attitude toward the challenges facing the global-change research community and supporters believe that if we can really understand the past, we can create a better, more sustainable and desirable future. To read the entire study, click here: http://www.allenpress.com/pdf/ambi/AMBI_Sustainability.pdf.

Ambio, a multidisciplinary English-language journal, aims to serve the important function of putting into perspective significant developments in environmental research, policy, and related activities, and to reach specialist, generalists, students, decision makers, and interested laymen around the world with this information.


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