Gereon Janzing, geobotánico y etnobotánico
Gereon Janzing, geobotánico y etnobotánico

Cultural ecology

Cultural ecology is a part of cultural/social anthropology (ethnology) that is dedicated to the relationship between societies and their natural environment. It researches the ways cultures adapt to their ecological surrounding, including their resource management, also with discussions on sustainability.

It is more and more taken into account that cultural diversity and ethnodiversity are part of biodiversity. Efforts to save cultures and languages become increasingly linked with efforts to save species and ecosystems. The knowledge of an ethnic group having been living in an area for millennia is often closely related to the ecosystem.

In the United States an approach started that is called cultural anthropology, which tries to explain cultures as a reaction on the environment. Sometimed it is exaggerated and results in absurd ideas for lack of ecological knowledge. So there are those who state that the Aztecs (who in many myths are considered cannibals) had to kill people and eat human flesh in order to have sufficient proteins. That does not serve for more than grinning. For we know that meat only contains a small part of the proteins that the animal (in this case: the human being) has taken. So, from where did the victims get their high amounts of proteins? Probably from beans. And the very Aztecs knew the beans too and ate them directly.

French: écologie culturelle