The human species is unique in many ways. One uniqueness resides in the complexity of human ecosystems and in the extraordinary role humans play in determining the sustainability of those systems. Hence, a central problem for human ecology is to understand how human actions influence environmental change. Structural human ecology seeks to understand the underlying structural drivers of environmental change and their dynamics.
Any human ecosystem comprises four key, interacting components: population, environment, social organization, and technology. How might we better understand the linkages between these indispensable components and environmental impacts? How might we proceed to develop organized research programs to examine these linkages? How might we discipline our conceptual models with empirical tests?
For a detailed discussion on STIRPAT, the research program conducted by Thomas Dietz and his colleagues Eugene A. Rosa and Richard York that explores human drivers of environmental change, please visit www.stirpat.org.