Ecological and social sciences had a happy marriage in the early twentieth century, but once the honeymoon was over, they grew apart and suspicious of one another, ending in a bitter separation. Reductionist and simple application of ecological theory to human systems ignored the social, political, and cultural complexities of social dynamics. At the same time, new econometric models for social behaviors treated the earth as a featureless plane, ignoring the ecosystems on which human survival and to a large degree human patterns and processes are based. In the last decade, renewed interest in socio-ecological systems has forced a reconciliation of ecological and social theory.
This presentation explores how ecological literacy can intertwine with social science theory in ways that lead to a fuller understanding of the dynamics of human ecosystems. We pay particular attention to the role of ecological literacy in guiding human ecosystem management over the long-term, and in a manner that is more just, inclusive, equitable, adaptive, and sustainable