Socio-ecological transformations and the social sciences

Authored by: Stewart Lockie , David A. Sonnenfeld , Dana R. Fisher

Routledge International Handbook of Social and Environmental Change

Print publication date:  October  2013
Online publication date:  October  2013

Print ISBN: 9780415782791
eBook ISBN: 9780203814550
Adobe ISBN: 9781136707995

10.4324/9780203814550.ch1

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Abstract

Our relationships with the landscapes and ecologies that we are a part of, the plants and animals that we share them with, and the natural resources that we extract, lie at the heart of contemporary social and political debates. Mitigation of anthropogenic climate change is among a handful of issues that dominate the world’s political imagination early in the third millennium of the common era. Risks associated with global environmental change combine with dangers of extreme climatic and geological events to remind us of humanity’s dependence on favourable environmental conditions. In every one of the first ten years of the century, natural disasters affected some 200–300 million people and caused around US $100 billion in damage (Armstrong et al. 2011). Such costs increased fourfold in 2011, following the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami off the east coast of Japan, as well as a spate of (comparatively smaller) disasters in other advanced economies including the USA, Australia and Aotearoa/New Zealand (Ferris and Petz 2012).

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