The study of human ecology focuses on understanding how ecosystems affect, and are affected by, human biology, behavior, technology and social organization. Students will learn about basic ecological principles, and the way humans have adapted both culturally and biologically to different ecosystems. We will explore ecological models for the origin of human cooperation, human cultural diversity and social complexity - and investigate how limited ecosystem resources ignite competition among humans and human groups. We will review the evidence for significant past environmental changes caused by people living in simple societies; and how ancient civilizations often caused irreparable collapses of their ecosystem. We will conclude by examining modern climate change, and the impact that recent changes have had on resources in different ecosystems, as well as on the sustainability of local indigenous societies and nation states.
This course fulfills the (GB) Human Behavior requirement for students under GenEd.