Introduction

We interact with each other and with our physical environments. We are biological creatures who depend upon the living landscape to sustain us. Plants and animals are affected by our actions, and our existence is impacted by plants and animals. We exist within complex sets of interactions - that is, we live in an ecological world.

Learning to perceive the world as a never-ending system of interactions - that is, to think about our surroundings and our relationships with our environments and each other ecologically - is challenging. Such thinking forces us to rethink our views of economics, politics, and business. It suggests different ways to plan and design. In economics, for example, an ecological view suggests a much more complex set of relationships than supply and demand: supply of what and where from and at what cost, not only in dollars but to other species and other generations. Ecological understanding can also confront our values and religious beliefs, although most faiths address human connections to the natural world and stewardship responsibilities for future generations.

Ecology is, by definition, the reciprocal relationship among all organisms and their biological and physical environments. People are organisms. As a result, we can ask, Is the use of human as a modifier to ecology necessary?

Human with ecology helps reinforce the reality of our place in environments. Human ecology seeks to understand the multiple interrelationships between the human species and our environments. Human ecology is broader than biology, but also is grounded in biological concepts. The transdisciplinary field can be defined as the study of the complex and varied system of interactions between people and their environments.

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