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Soc 101 Environmental Sociology April 3rd 2013.docx

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University of Waterloo
SOC 101
Barry Mc Clinchey

rdSoc 101 Environmental Sociology April 3 2013 What is Environmental SociologyThe study of interaction between human society and the physical environment Pipeline from Alberta supports and oppositions1970s widespread public interest in environmental issuesConnection with ecology appreciation of ecosystemApply biological insights to enhance their understanding of the relationship between human society and the physical environmentEmphasis given to exploring how social factors impact the environment Relationship between Humans and Their Physical EnvironmentThree broad orientations o The physical environment is viewed as a warehouse of raw materials to beexploited nature by itself has no intrinsic value scientific or economic approach to the environmentFrench and British beaver pelts in Canada oThe physical environment has an almost sacred and spiritual value and human have a unique obligation to act as its stewards and protectors mystical approach and deep ecology o The physical environment and human beings exist in a harmonious relationship wherein human needs can be achieved without damaging the physical environment sustainable development or more radical utopian thinkingNew Environmental Paradigm o Human social actions occur within an ecosystem that has its own processes and limits o Out behaviour effects nature o Recognizes that human societies and the natural environment interact with each other human behaviour affects nature o Polar bears dwindling population due to global warming and loss of ice caps New Ecological Paradigm o Emphasizes that modern industrial society is beginning to exceed the limits of the environment o Ecocentric view humans are only one part of the global ecosystem o Conscious endeavour to overcome anthropocentrism of our past Triple Bottom Line o Utopian notion o Business think about effects on planet and effects of people in addition to profitEnvironmental ChallengesNatural vs Technological Disasters o Ulrich Beck in his Risk Society promoted the concept of risk and risk research in contemporary sociology o Investigates how technology is creating global challenges we could never have predicted o Only in the last few generations have human created technology that has global consequences o The contemporary risk to society is less about natural disasters and more about unrestricted tehcoholgical development
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