Gerald Marten is an ecologist with more than sixty years of research experience in a variety of ecosystems around the world. He has lived and worked in the United States and Canada, Mexico and Central America, East Africa, Southeast Asia, and Japan. His innate love of nature, enriched by growing up in Southern California’s Santa Monica Mountains, kindled a scientific passion to explore how nature works. As his work progressed, it focused increasingly on practical ecological problems, and so did his commitment to translating science so people and communities can make good use of it. Author of Human Ecology: Basic Concepts for Sustainable Development (Earthscan Publications, 2001) and Traditional Agriculture in Southeast Asia: A Human Ecology Perspective (Westview Press, 1986), he has published approximately one hundred scientific articles, many of them on practical concerns such as fisheries and forest management, tropical agriculture and land use, alternative energy, ecological mosquito control, and how people can live sustainably on this planet. Four years ago he began the EcoTipping Points project to discover how lessons from environmental success stories can point the way to making a better world for his five grandchildren and all the rest of us.
The ecotippingpoints.org website features nearly 100 environmental success stories collected from around the world by a team of scientists and journalists. The stories display a diversity of detail but have something important in common – a “lever” that I call an “EcoTipping Point” – a community-based process switching environmental decline to a course of restoration and sustainability. The website offers lessons from the stories while explaining how EcoTipping Points work and what it takes to create them.
Human Ecology – Basic Concepts for Sustainable Development
Human ecology is the study of how human social systems relate to and interact with the ecological systems on which they depend. This book introduces basic principles in an accessible, story-laden format. It explains how ecosystems are organized and function; the interactions of human social systems with them; and how social institutions and processes contribute to or conflict with sustainability. It integrates long-standing ecological principles with more recent concepts from complex systems theory. Simple diagrams, examples, and exercises make the concepts easily understood. (Explore this book further: English, Español)
Traditional Agriculture in Southeast Asia: A Human Ecology Perspective
We shouldn’t throw out the baby with the bathwater. Traditional knowledge and practices – products of many centuries of trial and error – are being lost as agriculture modernizes in Southeast Asia. Modern technology may offer higher yields, but traditional agriculture is ecologically sustainable. Traditional Agriculture in Southeast Asia describes:
- traditional technologies and practices in Thailand, Indonesia, and the Philippines;
- how those technologies and practices fit with people’s lives and contribute to their welfare;
- how farmers are drawing on the best of both worlds, traditional and modern, to adapt to today’s rapidly changing social and economic conditions and aspirations.