WE ARE AN ECOSYSTEM
Modern humans have rapidly changed the conditions that were prevalent during their emergence as a species some 200,000 years ago. For tens of thousands of years humans lived within the constraints of their bioregions and made adaptive adjustments to climatic and biophysical changes. Within the last 10,000 years, humans have successfully colonised nearly every type of ecosystem and bioregion on the planet. We are an ecosystem. Living things are on and in us, and we are on and in living things. We are not just in or out, we are always both; we are an ecosystem.
Thought Leader, Environmentalist, Humanist & Ecologist
Glenn Albrecht retired as Professor of Sustainability and served as Director of the Institute for Social Sustainability at Murdoch University in Perth, Western Australia in June 2014, whose transdisciplinary research is in the domain of sustainability and ecosystem health. He was at the University of Newcastle in New South Wales as Associate Professor of Environmental Studies until December 2008. He is an Environmental Philosopher with both theoretical and applied interests in the relationship between ecosystem and human health, broadly defined. He has become known for coining the neologism ‘solastalgia’. He pioneered the research domain of ‘psychoterratic’ or earth-related mental health and emotional conditions with the lived experience of negative environmental change. Glenn has also produced research papers in environmental history, transdisciplinarity, sustainability, environmental politics, environmental and animal ethics. Solastalgia has become accepted worldwide as a key concept in understanding the impact of negative environmental change in academic, creative arts, social impact assessment and legal contexts. Albrecht’s work is increasingly cited in scholarly literature and is now being used extensively in course readings, new research theses and academic research in many disciplines including geography and environmental studies. His work is now published in languages other than English.
He has publications in the field of animal ethics, most recently, on the ethics of relocating endangered species in the face of climate change pressures and the ethics of the thoroughbred horse industry worldwide. With Professor Phillip McManus (Sydney University) he has completed a book which was published in 2012 by Routledge on the thoroughbred industry. He also published with Professor McManus on the newly emerging domain of ‘psychoterratic geographies’. His recent ARC funded research projects include a collaborative study into the relationship between human and ecosystem health in the coal mining region of the Upper Hunter of NSW and the ethics of feral buffalo control in Arnhem Land. Current ARC funded research projects include, the geographies and bioethics of the thoroughbred horse industry and ecological footprint analysis for policy makers. Latest initiatives at Murdoch University include a “resilient regions” research project that will examine the resilience of various regions within Western Australia. Glenn Albrecht is a pioneer of transdisciplinary thinking and, with Higginbotham and Connor produced a major book on this topic, Health Social Science in 2001. His current major research interest, the positive and negative psychological, emotional and cultural relationships people have to place and its transformation is one that sees him having an international research profile.