In Catton and Dunlap’s article, they explore two concepts of environmental sociology.
- Human Exceptionalist Paradigm (HEP) – applied to traditional sociology’s worldview; that homo sapiens are exceptional characteristics of our species somehow exempt humans from ecological principles and from environmental influences and constraints.
- New Ecological Paradigm (NEP) – human societies necessarily exploit surrounding ecosystems in order to survive, but societies that flourish to the extent of overexploiting the ecosystem may destroy the basis of their own survival.
In other words, in HEP, human-environmental relationships are unimportant because humans and the environment are unrelated, whereas in NEP, there is a focus on a tight-knit relationship between humans and the environment, both directly impacting one another at all times.
With regards to KD, the Human Exceptionalist Paradigm would consist of KD standing in isolation to the humans that surround her on a day-to-day basis. She is completely unrelated to them. In the New Ecological Paradigm, KD and all humans around her co-exist on an equal playing field, and any action by humans will directly impact KD’s life in some way.
I believe that the New Ecological Paradigm is more relevant to KD because she exists in the heart of Dickinson’s academic quad. Anything that we do as humans to change her environment will impact her. If we build a new structure that blocks the sun that she may usually get on a daily basis, that might impact her growth pattern. This is just one example, but I believe that KD and the humans that walk by her on a daily basis are directly intertwined and that all actions taken by humans can impact her in some way.
Dunlap, R., & Catton, W. (1979). Environmental Sociology. Annual Review Sociology, 5, 243-273. Retrieved November 28, 2015, from JSTOR.