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Environmental Anthropology

June 11, 2008

“Environmental anthropology assists policy-making and program planning by combining expertise in ecology with methods and tools for understanding of the social and cultural dynamics of communities potentially affected by policy decisions. The extensive body of relevant scientific knowledge included in environmental anthropology includes: understanding and building on the social organization of communities in larger social systems for use in identifying and solving environmental problems, recognizing and addressing differences in culturally diverse perceptions, categories, linguistic terms, values and behaviors related to the environment in order to confront differences and improve communication among specific cultural/ethnic groups with respect to addressing environmental concerns identifying and utilizing culturally specific styles of communication and rhetoric typical of designated groups to enhance communication and mutual understanding among groups.”

This definition was published by the Society for Applied Anthropology. While it is wordy, it is the best definition of the field.

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