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Ecology of Happiness

by Eric Lambin University of Chicago Press
Pub Date:
09/2012
ISBN:
9780226466675
Format:
Hbk 184 pages
Price:
AU$57.99 NZ$59.12
Product Status: In Stock Now
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We know that our gas-guzzling cars are warming the planet, the pesticides and fertilizers from farms are turning rivers toxic, and the earth has run out of space for the mountains of unrecycled waste our daily consumption has left in its wake. We've heard copious accounts of our impact-as humans and as a society-on the natural world. But this is not a one-sided relationship. Lost in these dire and scolding accounts has been the impact on us and our well-being. You sense it while walking on a sandy beach, or in a wild, woody forest, or when you taste the meat of a free-range chicken, or even while gardening in your backyard. Could it be that the natural environment is an essential part of our happiness? Yes, says Eric Lambin emphatically in An Ecology of Happiness. Using a very different strategy in addressing environmental concerns, he asks us to consider that there may be no better reason to value and protect the health of the planet than for our own personal well-being.

In this clever and wide-ranging work, Lambin draws on research in the fields of geography, political ecology, environmental psychology, urban studies, and disease ecology, among others, to answer such questions as: To what extent do we need nature for our well-being? How does environmental degradation affect our happiness? What can be done to protect the environment and increase our well-being at the same time? Drawing on case studies from Asia, Africa, Europe, and North America, Lambin makes a persuasive case for the correlation between healthy ecosystems and happy humans. Unique in its scope and evenhanded synthesis of research from many fields, ''An Ecology of Happiness'' offers a compelling human-centered argument that is impossible to overlook. What better reason to protect an ecosystem or save a species than for our own pleasure?

INTRODUCTIONDegradation of the Environment, Improvement of Well-Being, The Important Question, The Problem of “Free Riders,” A Positive—Not Alarmist—Discourse, Well-Being and the Natural Environment, Separation,
1THE EXPERIENCE OF NATURE, Disappointing Materialism, Let the Statistics Speak, The Virtuous Quartet, Biophilia, Nine Perspectives on Nature, Psychology of the Environment, Explicative Theories, Applications,
2THE EXPLOITATION OF ANIMALS, Healing through Animals, Cows, Chickens, Pigs, Eating Less Meat, Healthy Eating, The Giant Hecatomb, Animal Rights, Advances in Animal Well-Being, Our Leisure, Not That of Animals, Which Is Happier, the Horse or the Zebra? A Less Unilateral Relationship with Animals,
3AN INFECTIOUS ENVIRONMENT, Emerging Diseases, The Neolithic Revolution, Infectious Diseases, Zoonoses, Gifts from Asia, Vulnerability,
4THE THREAT OF ARTHROPODS, Vector-Borne Diseases, Malaria and Climate Change, Attack of the Ticks, The Asian Tiger in Europe, Sometimes It Really Is the Climate, Disturbing a Complex System,
5BILL GATES OR MICROBES, Pandemics, From Monkey to Human, From the Pleasure of Transcontinental Travel, SARS, Super-Asian Rapid Surge, The Globalization of Microbes,
6PARADOXICAL CITIES, An Urbanized World, The Cesspool of the First Cities, Subtraction or Addition, Unbreathable Air, Dying of Heat in Cities, Healthy Places, A New Alliance,
7ENVIRONMENTAL CONFLICTS, The Return of Malthus, Environmental Security, Theory Tested by Facts, The Role of Institutions, Too Many or Too Few Resources, The First Climate Conflict? The Shadow of the Military, Politics rather than the Environment,
8ENVIRONMENTAL REFUGEES, Natural Disasters, Millions of Displaced, Waves of Refugees, Demographic Studies, Politics of Asylum, Political Asylum, Another Advantage for the Rich,
9WHEN POOR COUNTRIES SET AN EXAMPLE, Liberalization and Intervention in Vietnam, Ecotourism in Costa Rica, The Middle Path in Bhutan, Several Paths,
CONCLUSION, Debriefing, The Happiness of Some Creates the Unhappiness of Others, Five Choices for the Future, Five Situations with Dual Advantages, Happiness and Environment,
Acknowledgments, Bibliography,

''Rare is the environmental book that asks us to take a look at the impact of nature on ourselves, rather than chastising our human impact on nature. Eric Lambin's unique approach reminds us just how essential the natural world is to not just our well-being, but also our sense of happiness. And by appealing to our quintessential searches for pleasure-from the food we eat to the warm summer air we breathe in-An Ecology of Happiness inspires a strong urge for environmental stewardship.'' -Gretchen Daily, Stanford University''
Teresa Lavender Fagan is a freelance translator living in Chicago; she has translated numerous books for the University of Chicago Press.

Eric Lambin is professor in the Department of Geography at the University of Louvain in Belgium.