By understanding how pre-industrial humans interacted with other species, we can gain new insights about modern humans.
How do humans fit into and impact their ecosystems, past, present, and future? Humans traditionally have been studied as external features of ecosystems. As yet, there has been no comprehensive data or theory about the myriad ways humans interact with other species and what that means for sustainable socio-ecological systems. Jennifer Dunne thinks that by understanding how pre-industrial humans used species for food, fuel, tools, clothing, housing, ornamentation, play, and ritual in different cultures and across time, we can gain new insights on innovation, cultural and ecological change, and sustainability. Such knowledge of the past can help us shape a better future.