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Human Ecology Review (HER)

Human Ecology Review is the official journal of the Society for Human Ecology. It is freely available online from ANU Press

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 ANU 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 now scanned and 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 – see

You can access the FQP via the following links;

  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)

(FQP 9, 10, and 11 are edited volumes and not currently available.)

Understanding Human Ecology: A systems approach to sustainability Paperback –by Robert Dyball and Barry Newell

We are facing hugely complex challenges – from climate change to world poverty, our problems are part of an inter-related web of social and natural systems. Human Ecology provides an approach to address these complex challenges, a way to understand them holistically and to start to manage them more effectively.

This textbook, which has been road-tested and refined through over a decade of teaching and workshops, offers a coherent conceptual framework for Human Ecology – a clear approach for understanding the many systems we are part of and how we frame and understand the problems we face. By giving rigorous definitions it guides readers out of the current ‘conceptual swamp’ that hinders communication and collaboration – with a particular focus on terms such as “sustainability” and “cultural adaptation”, that need generally agreed definitions before they can support clear communication. It also clarifies the role of Human Ecology, and similar disciplines, by bringing ethical and justice considerations into the assessment of different interventions to promote sustainability.

Blending natural, social and cognitive sciences with dynamical systems theory, the authors offer systems approaches that are accessible to all, from the undergraduate student in environmental studies to policy-makers and practitioners across government, business and community.

Publisher: Routledge also available on Amazon

Introduction to Collaborative Conceptual Modelling, Barry Newell and Katrina Proust

Rising populations, consumerism, urbanism, and globalisation are leading to more extensive and tighter feedback connections within the human-Earth system, making it more and more difficult to understand its dynamics and anticipate its response to management actions. The point has now been reached where it is necessary to take a dynamical systems approach in attempts to develop adaptive strategies that can bring human activities into harmony with planetary processes.

Open access working paper.

A Brief History of SHE

From the article: “As the Society for Human Ecology (SHE) passes the mark of its first quarter century, it seems timely to offer a brief chronicle of events leading to and following from its founding. Historical accounts are always incomplete. This one will have many shortcomings as well. Nonetheless, it is important to maintain some log of SHE’s organizational journey and take note of significant events, individuals and achievements along the way.”

Read the entire article now.

Seven Principles of Universal Design

Universal Design is designing environments that truly meet the needs of the people who use them. It ranges from inclusive and non-discriminatory design of products, cars, architecture, and urban environments and infrastructure, all the way to information technology and telecommunications.

Chapter 1 from the Universal Design Handbook is available free to SHE members and visitors. Read the first chapter for free!

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