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Early Environment And Animism, Materialist Conceptualization And Pharmaceuticals, Environment And Theology, Contemporary Approaches, Bibliography

The term environment became specialized beginning in about the 1960s to designate the context of human and animal groups, with a special emphasis on the natural world and its physical and vegetal components. Within this framework, the word took on an even more limited meaning and in the early twenty-first century refers primarily to the interaction between human and animal activity on the one hand and to humans and the natural world on the other, principally the impact of the former on the latter. In this context, "environment" is often linked with notions of habitat deterioration and species endangerment, and with appropriate responses to these threats, such as species recording and protection and natural-resource and habitat conservation. In a broader sense, however, environment refers to all elements (physical, biological, psychological, social, and cultural) that constitute the context in which life (vegetal, animal, and human) has evolved and continues to evolve. Four major components of this complex notion are taken into consideration here for their particular historical relevance and importance in Western culture: the notion of animism; materialist conceptualizations of environment (including diseases, medicines, and astrology); theological understandings; and contemporary approaches to the environment and environmental issues.

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Science EncyclopediaScience & Philosophy: Electrophoresis (cataphoresis) to Ephemeral