Environmental Literature | Social Justice | Sustainable Futures

The Culture-Environment Relations- Mary Osborn

February 3rd, 2017 | Posted by Mary Osborn in Uncategorized

How do environmental issues register differently in different cultures? (Or do they?)


According to Amos Rapoport in “On the Relation Between Culture and Environment”, “culture-environment relations have been among the most active and lively areas of environment-behavior studies (EBS)”. This being, because every culture views environmental issues in different ways due to the differing views of life in general. The reasons of this development of culture-environment relations is due to how culture affects behavior, cognition, and meaning (Rapoport). Culture is the eyes through which we look at the world and therefore affects the way they view the environment.

Ever since the beginning of the human species, we have learned from the world around us and created thoughts and ideas on how to look at it. These different biological subgroups of humans has resulted in the differences between groups of humans. Due to the vastness of the earth and the separation of different people, each group developed different cultures and ways of looking at the world.

Although culture is different all over the world, it is hard to define what it is. Rapoport says that culture is an “unobservable entity” that is only seen by its effects, expressions, or products. When each culture defines “environment” they define it in different ways. Environment may be the nature in which surrounds us or the environment in which we construct for ourselves.

This adds complexity for finding solutions for environmental issues and will require a cross-cultural approach to tackle. As an educator, my goal is to create lesson plans that expose my students to environmental issues and solutions while appealing to their different cultural backgrounds. Hopefully by doing this I can be an enactor of change within my students lives.


Works Cited


Rapoport, Amos. “Culture and Environment.” Culture and Environment. Carnegie Mellon University, n.d. Web. 03 Feb. 2017. <http://www.cmu.edu/ARIS_3/text/text_rapoport.html>.

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