What is Human Ecology?
Our human ecology4 is the expression of everything we do and represented by every interaction we create on Earth. In the broadest sense, it consists of the innumerable relationships with and between humans, our social contexts, other species, and the physical environment. Through our respective cultures, tools, institutions, emotions, technologies, spiritual practices, agriculture, population trends, economies, sciences, worldview beliefs, and countless individual actions, our human ecology weaves and creates our species’ history and destiny on this planet.
Green Vegans has adopted the term human ecology to serve as both a vessel to contain a comprehensive approach to our survival and to use it as a term for public understanding how each issue relies on the others to be solved. Because our individual and collective impacts now reach distant ecosystems, our human ecology must include our relationship with the entire Earth and all species living here.5
Why Do We Need A New Human Ecology?
Humankind has missed its opportunity to adapt to Earth’s ecosystems in a way that is sustainable, ethical, and just. As evidenced by the climate crisis, wanton environmental destruction, and human misery, we have gone too far. The core of our present human ecology is archaic, lethal and a dead end. It has to change into a new human ecology immediately for both pragmatic and ethical reasons.
If we do not voluntarily alter our behavior as a species to protect the planet that sustains us, then the damaged environment and its declining, suffering resource base will force tragic change upon us in ways we would not freely choose. It will be thrust upon us by social and environmental collapse when little noteworthy will be remaining of the nature and nurture we call home. Think about the impacts that scarcity and non-existence of resources have upon us when financial systems and ecosystems no longer function and support us. Economic, social, and political ruin follows. We are losing too much of what is sacred to us, including our freedom of choice and life itself.
The vegan New Human Ecology reflects our commitment to make changes in our personal lives. It is here where our power lies.
We are guided by the need to create seven results. Just as there is nearly universal agreement against child labor, female genital cutting (FGC)6, “honor” killings of innocent women, incest, sexual abuse, torture, and slavery, there must also be universal agreement about standards of decency towards ecosystems, humans, individuals of other species, and Earth.
4 We use the term human ecology here to advocate for universal and comprehensive changes in human behavior – not as a discipline of study. The term has a long history, diverse meanings, and many applications. The traditional use is the study of the relationships between humans and the entirety of their surroundings, mainly the environment in which we each live.
5 Excerpted from a forthcoming book, This Is Hope: Green Vegans and The New Human Ecology.
6 Female Genital Cutting (FGC) is an invasive cultural practice that removes part or all of the external female genitalia. This act is dangerous, yet it is very common in Africa and parts of Asia and the Middle East. http://www.care.org/newsroom/specialreports/fgc/index.asp. Up to 140 million girls and women worldwide are currently living with the consequences of FGC. There are an estimated 3 million girls in Africa at risk of undergoing female genital cutting every year; this number soars when girls at risk all around the world are added into the figure. FGC causes serious psychological and health complications. The practice is often done under unsanitary conditions, and without anaesthesia. The average age of girls forced to undergo FGC is between 4 and 12. There are no health benefits of FGC.