In an era where humans affect virtually all of the earth's processes, questions arise about whether we have sufficient knowledge of human-environment interactions. How can we sustain the Earth's ecosystems to prevent collapses and what roles should practitioners and scientists play in this process? These are the issues central to the concept of environmental literacy. This unique book provides a comprehensive review and analysis of environmental literacy within the context of environmental science and sustainable development. Approaching the topic from multiple perspectives, it explores the development of human understanding of the environment and human-environment interactions in the fields of biology, psychology, sociology, economics and industrial ecology. The discussion emphasises the importance of knowledge integration and transdisciplinary processes as key strategies for understanding complex human-environment systems (HES). In addition, the author defines the HES framework as a template for investigating sustainably coupled human-environment systems in the 21st century.
Roland W. Scholz chairs the Natural and Social Science Interface in the Department of Environmental Sciences at the ETH (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology), Zurich. A mathematician, psychologist and decision theorist by training, he is particularly interested in environmental systems analysis, human-environment interactions, environmental decisions and risk assessment. He has led numerous large-scale transdisciplinary processes to foster sustainable transitions of urban and regional systems.
List of boxes; Overview; Roadmap to environmental literacy; Part I. Invention of the Environment: Origins, Transdisciplinarity, and Theory of Science Perspectives: 1. What knowledge about what environment?; 2. From environmental literacy to transdisciplinarity; 3. Basic epistemological assumptions; Part II. History of Biological Knowledge: 4. Emerging knowledge on morphology, ecology, and evolution; 5. From molecular structures to ecosystems; Part III. Contributions of Psychology: 6. Psychological approaches to human-environment interactions; 7. Drivers of individual behavior and action; Part IV. Contributions of Sociology: 8. Traditional sociological approaches to human-environment interactions; 9. Modern sociological approaches to human-environment interactions; Part V. Contributions of Economics: 10. Origins of economic thinking and the environment; 11. Contemporary economic theories dealing with the environment; Part VI. Contributions of Industrial Ecology: 12. The emergence of industrial ecology; 13. Industrial agents and global biogeochemical dynamics; Part VII. Beyond Disciplines and Sciences: 14. Integrated systems modeling of complex human-environment systems Roland W. Scholz, Justus Gallati, Quang Bao Le and Roman Seidl; 15. Transdisciplinarity - a tool for environmental literacy; Part VIII. A Framework for Investigating Human-Environment Systems (HES): 16. The HES postulates; 17. The HES framework Roland W. Scholz, Claudia R. Binder and Daniel J. Lang; 18. Applying the HES framework Roland W. Scholz, Claudia R. Binder, Daniel J. Lang, Timo Smieszek and Michael Stauffacher; 19. Comparing the HES framework with alternative approaches Roland W. Scholz and Fridolin Brand; Part IX. Perspectives for Environmental Literacy: 20. New horizons: environmental and sustainability sciences; Glossary; References; Index.