What is Human Ecology?

Human ecology is the study of the relationships and ruptures between nature, culture, society and economy- how each affect, create and contain one another.
There are multiple definitions, here are a few to which we subscribe.

In these times of multiple crises, human ecology (the study of humans as an integral part of nature) has been described as ‘how, where and ultimately whether humans live on Earth’ (Ulrich Loening, 2019).

Human ecology is the study of ecological and social systems where social systems are part of an ecological whole. Thus, human ecology provides the lens to understand our ecological and social predicaments and pathways for impactful change prioritising planetary and human needs equally.
Human ecology is at the intersection of and integrates environmental and social justice. It is the study of communities on Earth – human and environmental.

Over the last 50 years, CHE’s developed a distinctive ‘Scottish School’ of radical human ecology: one which includes a grounded understanding of people and place, and sets traditional ecological knowledge and indigenous ways of knowing alongside scientific rigour. This work is rooted in the Scottish generalist tradition of the ‘democratic intellect’ – education should not just create intellectual elites, but should contribute to full human flourishing in a fair society where all can participate.