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April 2, 2015 / societyforhumanecology

Fundamental Questions in Human Ecology

25 years ago the Australian National University Human Ecology program released a series of discussion papers called the Fundamental Questions Papers. The Human Ecology Forum thought it would be interesting to revisit these Fundamental Questions through a series of reading and discussion groups and see essentially which have stood the test of time, which have dated, and what new questions would you ask today or answer differently. The FQP are progressively being scanned and release as freely available resources across the Human Ecology Forum website. Although there is no scope to participate remotely in the discussion series anyone is welcome to access this material although, please, acknowledge its original source. There is some other material on the website that scholars of Human Ecology might find useful too.


Although not all titles are yet live, the full series of FQP was;

  1. The Fundamental Questions Program and its conceptual basis. S. Boyden
  2. From growth to sustainability: implications of the Swedish experience. R. Birrell
  3. The evolution of societal values compatible with ecological sustainability. A. J . D. Bellett
  4. Ecological sustainability, deep environmental ethics and Tao: a preliminary conjunction. D. Bennett
  5. Values for sustainability: the necessity of transcendence and sacred realms. P. Cock
  6. Environmental management and the political philosophy of trust. G. McDonnell
  7. Aborigines, values and the environment. K. Palmer
  8. How green was my mallee: changing Australian attitudes to their land. B. Roberts
  9. Energy options for sustainability. S. Dovers ( ed)
  10. Future health: towards a sustainable Australia. V. Brown and F. Barnes ( eds)
  11. Social structures for sustainability. P. Cock (ed)


Leave a Comment
  1. Tim Waring / Apr 2 2015 12:47 pm

    Reblogged this on Timothy M. Waring and commented:
    Strange that the fundamental questions for Human Ecology does not include the challenge of predicting the emergence of sustainable human-natural systems. This seems to be the core challenge of the science.

    • Rob Dyball / May 27 2015 11:50 pm

      Hi Tim – not sure about ‘predict’ – I don’t know that evolution/adaptation understanding can do that, but perhaps check ‘The evolution of societal values compatible with ecological sustainability’. A. J . D. Bellett (FQP 3). Cheers Rob

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