Skip to main content

Why the Humanities

Why should the humanities respond to the environmental crisis?

The humanities have access to vast resources for conceptualizing and envisaging the relationships between the human and the non-human. The past two decades have seen major efforts in unearthing these resources and putting them to good practice. New approaches to nature aesthetics have enabled new forms of appreciation of the natural world. Historians and anthropologists have made worldviews in the past and in other cultures accessible; these perspectives offer deep insights into modes of engaging with nature that differ from our extractive approach in the West. Philosophers and legal scholars have offered alternatives to anthropocentric ways of thinking. We aim to contribute to this urgent task of re-imagining the future to counter the multiple emergencies: climate change, loss of biodiversity, soil erosion and a water crisis, to name but a few.

The Human Touch

The aim must be to ensure solutions are equitable, good for the environment, self-reliant and not dependent on long term external support. Solutions should be built on collective values and have a strong underpinning of justice and governance. Our approaches emphasize community-owned approaches so that community members can monitor for themselves the quality, impact and outcomes of initiatives.

New approaches straddling traditional disciplinary boundaries and the ways we think, plan and organize, are aimed both at smarter use and stewardship of planetary resources and at changing our inherited exploitative relationship to the natural world.


Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences