Prologue: Images of Man and Nature
This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book suggests that the best case for the existence of something called cultural ecology can be made on the grounds of public policy. It utilizes the term "adaptation", which refers to focus on strategic behavior as the key to a policy-oriented cultural ecology. The rational or purposive manipulation of the social and natural environments constitutes the human approach to Nature. In some discussions of the contemporary ecological situation, there is a disposition to attribute environmental abuse to particular cultural values. For example, North American culture has been seen as the apotheosis of the Nature-destroyer—the supreme example of a culture that has viewed Nature as a simple resource, as something to be immediately converted into "benefits". Anthropology, like other products of modern civilization, has undergone comparable changes in its basic imagery and conceptual foundations.