HEP vs. NEP: NEP more relevant

Earlier in the course of the semester, there were two paradigms that Catton and Dunlap explained. The first was HEP which is defined as the Human Exceptionalism Paradigm. This held the view that humans are different from all other organisms, all human behavior is controlled by culture and free will, and all problems can be solved by human ingenuity and technology. NEP is defined as the “New Environmental Paradigm”. There are 3 main assumptions of this paradigm according to Catton and Dunlap. The first is that human beings are just one of the blogpost#9#1species that are interdependently involved in the biotic communities that shape our social life. The second assumption is the linkage of cause and effect and feedback in the web of nature hat produce many unintended consequences from purposive human action. The last assumption is that the world is finite, which means there are potent physical and biological limits constraining economic growth, social progress, and other societal phenomena. After spending the course of a semester with a tree I believe there is one that is more relevant to our society today, which is NEP.

After spending this entire semester learning about environmental sociology there are many reasons why I believe NEP is more relevant. The first reason is that people are unaware of what their actions may have on the environment. For example people can disrupt the balance of nature and not even realize that they have done it. There are people that cut down trees all the time and they pay little attention to what effect that may have on the ecosystem. One thing that people need to know is that the Earth has plenty of natural resources but we need to learn how to develop and use them properly. More people need to be aware of the water issue on the planet and need to be given ideas for how they can help. This gets back to the point that humans are seriously abusing the environment. A lot of times people do something to harm the environment but they don’t even take a second glance to make sure that what they did has not had a bad consequence. Overall there are many things that can be done to take us off the path we are on right now where most of the resources would be used up very quickly and where there would be a lot of issues that are left for the next generation to figure out how to handle.


Anderson, Mark, and M. New Ecological Paradigm (NEP) Scale (2012): 260-62. Berkshire Publishing, 2012. Web. 9 Dec. 2015.

Catton Jr., William R., and Riley E. Dunlap. “Environmental Sociology: A New Paradigm.” American Sociologist 13.1 (1978): 41-49. SocINDEX with Full Text. Web. 9 Dec. 2015.

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