The Human-Environment Interrelationship
Environmental research engages with the mutual relations between humankind and the environment, focusing on the effect of humankind on the biotic and abiotic components of the environment.
From the dawn of history the environment has shaped human history; but for many years now the human population has become the factor fundamentally affecting the environment and its resources.
During the prehistoric era, hunter-gatherer and fishing activities affected the environment; then, in the period that followed, these were accompanied by agriculture and herding.
Environmental factors (such as climate, availability of natural resources and the characteristics of the local flora and fauna) determined the manner and extent of humankind’s influence. The growth in human population numbers alongside changes in lifestyle have led to increasing exploitation of the natural resources and habitats.
In many cases the natural resources suffer from over-exploitation (such as uprooting of woodland and over-fishing) that has led to the destruction of natural habitats, the collapse of their ecosystems and the irreversible extinction of species.
Processes such as urbanisation, uncontrolled quarrying and the dumping of waste matter and toxic materials, are among the human-mediated destructive acts that affect the environment, sometimes irreversibly.
Sadly, the global climate changes in recent decades are interacting with the local-scale changes and leading to extreme environmental events (such as coral bleaching), at a rate previously not encountered by the ecosystem over the course of evolution.
These subjects require broad interdisciplinary research, including the presentation of environmental predictions, as well as the proposal of solutions conducing to an effective policy for the protection of nature and the environment.
Researchers in this field: