Book Launch: Stephen Boyden - A Biorenaissance - the human place in nature, past, present and future

Join Emeritus Professor Stephen Boyden as we welcome his 2023 release, 'A Biorenaissance: The Human Place in Nature, Past, Present and Future’, launched by Prof. Tony Capon, Director, Monash Sustainable Development Institute and our Master of Ceremonies, Emeritus Prof. Steve Dovers.

Prof. Boyden will discuss the essence of what he has learned and what he feels is important from his more than a half century's work in human ecology and biohistory.

About the book

While the main threats to humankind today are the consequences of the human aptitude for culture, our only hope for overcoming them lies in this aptitude. This booklet shows how human culture has emerged as a new kind of force, and a very powerful one, in human ecosystems. It describes how the worldviews of the prevailing cultures across the globe today are leading to human activities on a scale, and of a kind, that are causing irreparable damage to the living systems on which we depend. If present conditions continue unabated, the collapse of civilisation is inevitable. There will be no effective shift to sustainability unless these cultures undergo radical transformation.

Stephen argues that this cultural transformation will not happen unless a wave of new understanding sweeps across the cultures of the world - understanding of life on Earth and of the human place in nature. We can think of the kind of cultural change we need as a biorenaissance: a rebirth in the way we relate to nature, to create a society that lives in harmony with the laws of nature, and ourselves as part of nature.


About the Author

Stephen Boyden graduated in Veterinary Science in London in 1947. From 1948 to 1965 he carried out research in immunology in Cambridge, New York, Paris, Copenhagen and Canberra.

From 1965 until his formal retirement at the end of 1990 he pioneered work on human ecology and biohistory at the Australian National University (ANU). In the 1970s he initiated and was Director of the Hong Kong Human Ecology Program – the first comprehensive attempt to study the ecology of a city. For some years after that he was a consultant for UNESCO on urban ecology. In 1973 he introduced undergraduate courses at ANU in Human Ecology, and these have survived to the present day. He has continued to work in this field since he retired.

He has published nine books on human ecology and biohistory, five of them since his retirement. He is at present a Professor Emeritus at the Fenner School of Environment and Society at ANU.