This website is an outcome of my work in human ecology and biohistory at the Australian National University from 1965 onwards.
Since the ground-breaking contributions of people like Rachel Carson, Teddy Goldsmith, Paul Erhlich, Barry Commoner, Arne Naess and Donella and Dennis Meadows fifty to sixty years ago, a great deal has been written about the ecological unsustainability of current human activities on Earth. This website makes no attempt to review this literature. It is simply a summary of my own personal thoughts that I would like to communicate to my family, friends and anyone else who might be interested. It is not a scholarly treatise.
I am among those who appreciate that the only hope for the future lies in a radical cultural transformation, leading to big changes in the pattern and scale of human activities the world over, and to societies that are truly respectful of, and sensitive to nature and the processes of life on which we depend.
I am convinced that this crucial cultural transformation will not happen unless a great wave of new understanding sweeps across the prevailing cultures across the world – understanding of the story of life on Earth and the human place in nature.
In my own mind I like to refer to this cultural transformation as a ‘Biorenaissance’. This term is appropriate because in the past hunter-gatherer cultures held deep respect for the natural world. They understood that we humans are part of nature, and that we are completely dependent on other forms of life for our wellbeing and survival.
To facilitate thinking and communication about a transition to a healthy and ecologically sustainable society of the future, I have introduced several new terms. They are: Biounderstanding, Bionarrative, and Biosensitive, and they are defined in the text.
I am very grateful to my grandchildren, David Moore and Karina Bontes Forward, for their great assistance with this website – to David, for persuading me to have a website and for creating it, and to Karina, for her help in putting it all together.
For more detail, see:
1. Boyden, S. Western civilisation in biological perspective: patterns in biohistory. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
2. Boyden, S. 2004. The biology of civilisation: understanding human culture as a force in nature. UNSW Press. Sydney.
3. Boyden, S. 2016. The Bionarrative: the story of life and hope for the future. ANU Press, Canberra (available online).
4. Boyden, S. 2016 The biohistorical paradigm: the early days of human ecology at the Australian National University. Human Ecology Review. 22. pp25-46 (available online).