Interdisciplinary approaches to human transformation of the environment

  • John Karamichas (Contributor)

Activity: Consultancy typesContribution to the work of national or international committees and working groups


In an age where the effects of anthropogenic climate change are at the center of international concern, the idea that humanity has become an agent of global environmental change is a commonplace. From an environmentalist perspective, it seems, human agency has been imagined primarily as a source of pollution: mankind has been seen as the despoiler of pristine nature. But overlooked by that way of seeing has been the role human beings have played in shaping their environment: not in degrading their pure, primordial habitat—as in the typical narrative of humanity intruding into “virgin” wilderness—but in helping to fashion what has been taken to be a purely natural setting. Through their activities of occupation, human beings transform the landscape they occupy; but then, frequently, those activities are forgotten, and the landscape is taken as given. To be sure, humanity’s role in making its landscape habitable has been recognized and studied in the past— though arguably it has not been a dominant theme in our conventional understanding of ourselves. The discussion developed in that session laid down a framework for a new environmental sociology paradigm that I have been developing since and aspire to a high impact publication.
Period18 Jun 2012
Event titleInterdisciplinary approaches to human transformation of the environment
Event typeWorkshop
LocationClandeboye Estate., United Kingdom