Understanding Human Ecology offers a coherent conceptual framework for human ecology – a clear approach for understanding the many systems we are part of and for how we frame and understand the problems we face. Blending natural, social, and cognitive sciences with dynamical systems theory, this key text offers systems approaches that are accessible to all, from the undergraduate student to policymakers and practitioners across government, business, and community.

In the first edition, road-tested and refined over a decade of teaching and workshops, the authors built a clear, inspiring and important framework for anyone approaching the management of complex problems and the transition to sustainability. Fully updated for the second edition, the book now goes further in using systems-thinking principles to explain fundamental processes of change in social-ecological systems. Revised case examples provide a working application of these principles, whilst a new discussion of the hierarchical structure of complex systems is included to guide practical policymaking.

This new edition is essential reading for students and scholars of human ecology, environmental ethics, and sustainability studies.

Prologue: six impossible things before breakfast  PART I: The challenge  1. Human ecology: an evolving perspective  2. Dynamics of conflict and change in the Snowy Mountains  PART II: Building shared understanding  3. Thinking together  4. System dynamics I: stocks and flows  5. System dynamics II: feedback  6. Systems and sustainability  7. Toward a shared theoretical framework  PART III: Living in the Anthropocene  8. Paradigms: ideas that change the world  9. Living well in the Anthropocene  10. Consumers and global food systems  11. Stewards of a full Earth  Epilogue: six possible things before dinner