Coverage of the Environment in “Cultural Anthropology”


We’ve made a transition. We have thought for many years that humans
had to adapt to the natural world around us. But we’re beginning to see how now because of human activity the natural
world is having to adapt to us. So in this edition we’ve introduced a
new concept called the anthropocene. The anthropocene is actually a term
suggested by geologists to describe the impact of human activity on this geological period,
on this very physical formation of the planet. So we want to explore as
anthropologists the ways in which humans are impacting the natural
environment in many places around the world. We’ve included examples throughout the
book of the impact that humans are having on the natural environment and that
climate change is having on humans. For instance, the opening chapter
of the book starts with the story of a Coca Cola bottling factory in India and
the impact of the drawing down of the aquifers in that town on the local
population’s water supply as the Coca Cola Bottling Company
uses that water to make its products. But we also see environmental change
and its impact on South Pacific islands, on the coastal areas of Bangladesh. We look at other water issues in
Flint, Michigan and Mumbai, India. We also look at activism around the world
including the Paris climate change talks as well as student activism on US campuses as students
organize to pressure their universities to divest their endowments
from fossil fuel companies and to make the more environmentally friendly.