Ecologies of the Heart : Emotion, Belief, and the Environment
Ecologies of the Heart offers a highly readable new look at the range of approaches we use in thinking about environmental management. In answering the questions of why people hold beliefs about the environment that are 'counterfactual' - against the facts - to modern scientists, often making ecological choices on emotional grounds, the book shows that these beliefs are understandable and have an empirical basis in solving the world ecological crisis. Eugene Anderson argues that although no one person is going to solve the world ecological crisis single-handedly, it will never be solved unless we recognize the problem presented by beliefs that are plausible but inadequate.
- Hardback | 272 pages
- 147.32 x 231.14 x 25.4mm | 566.99g
- 28 Mar 1996
- Oxford University Press Inc
- New York, United States
"With his characteristic generosity and skilled analytic doggedness, Gene Anderson engages in a series of explorations in cultural ecology. Like a skilled therapist, he explores the conditions of reasonable and harmful human interactions with environments. He sensitively examines intersections of ecology with religion, cognition, and, especially, emotionality....One learns from the dragons in the hills, Northwest coast religious ecology, Webers disenchantment, and much more."--Lynn Thomas, Professor of Anthropology, Pomona College"Here is another E. N. Anderson masterpiece--a carefully crafted, meticulously researched, and compellingly personal treatment of a topic so critically important to all humanity: Why do we treat our environment and its resources the way we do?... This book is a 'must' for any thoughtful reader concerned about the future of the earth. Biologists and ecologists, anthropologists, economists, political scientists, religious scholars--and most especially politicians and decision-makers of industrial societies--will find here a new way of thinking about humans and our place in the universe."--Nancy J. Turner, Professor of Environmental Studies, University of Victoria
About E. N. Anderson
Eugene N. Anderson is Professor of the Department of Anthropology at the University of California, Riverside, and has worked in the field of resource management for more than 30 years.
Back cover copy
There is much we can learn about conservation from native peoples, says Gene Anderson. While the advanced nations of the West have failed to control overfishing, deforestation, soil erosion, pollution, and a host of other environmental problems, many traditional peoples manage their natural resources quite successfully. And if some traditional peoples mismanage the environment - the irrational value some place on rhino horn, for instance, has left this species endangered - the fact remains that most have found ways to introduce sound ecological management into their daily lives. Why have they succeeded while we have failed? In Ecologies of the Heart, Gene Anderson reveals how religion and other folk beliefs help pre-industrial peoples control and protect their resources. Equally important, he offers much insight into why our own environmental policies have failed and what we can do to better manage our resources. He has concluded that all traditional societies that have managed resources well over time have done so in part through religion - by the use of emotionally powerful cultural symbols that reinforce particular resource management strategies. Moreover, he argues that these religious beliefs, while seeming unscientific, if not irrational at first glance, are actually based on long observation of nature. To illustrate this insight, he includes many fascinating portraits of native life. Folk beliefs are often dismissed as irrational superstitions. Yet as Anderson shows, these beliefs do more to protect the environment than modern science does in the West. Full of insights, Ecologies of the Heart mixes anthropology with ecology and psychology, traditional myth and folklore withinformed discussions of conservation efforts in industrial society, to reveal a strikingly new approach to our current environmental crises.
Table of contents
1. Landscape with Figures ; 2. Feng-Shui: Ideology and Ecology ; 3. Chinese Nutritional Therapy ; 4. Learning from the land otter ; 5. Managing the Rainforest ; 6. Needs and Human Nature ; 7. Information Processing ; 8. Culture: Ecology in a Wider Context ; 9. In and Out of Institutions ; 10. The Disenchanted ; 11. A Summary, and Some Suggestions