chapter  1
20 Pages

Underlying Ideas: Ecological Transitions, Socionatural Systems, and Adaptive Behavior

ByJohn W. Bennett

The theoretical background of most of the chapters in this book is informed by three concepts: “ecological transition,” “socionatural system,” and “adaptation.” The first pertains to changes in relations of Homo sapiens and the physical environment, as sapiens entered into his full capacity to shape the environment to his own ends. The second concept emphasizes an enduring reciprocity between humans and the environment, regardless of the level of technological complexity or the particular “transition” under consideration. The third concept concerns the distinctive features of human behavior that underlie the human relationship to the environment—in particular, the remarkable plasticity of response and the ability to solve problems arising from such responses.