Epilogue: Ecology, Culture, and Anthropology
Intensive research on particular cultural-ecological systems prohibits large-scale study; the anthropologist therefore must choose his research sites with care, sampling larger universes in order to determine the effects. It is that the concept of a region comes into view. A region is therefore two things: It is a geographical area in which a significant man-Nature interactive system is to be found. A region is also a frame for multidisciplinary research: a demand for the integration of data from many realms of ecological reality and therefore an opportunity for specialists, whether within anthropology or from anthropology and related fields, to work together on theoretical conceptions of human ecology as a synthesis. If anthropologists are specialists in culture, they may find it possible to explore alternatives to the present destructive practices and values. The overriding problem of ecological reform is the need to provide psychologically gratifying and economically rewarding activities that substitute for those presently causing environmental degradation and pollution.