12.2 Cultural ecology
Thoreau was seeking to develop ideas about how to bring people and nature into equilibrium.  We now see this standpoint requires a hard-headed approach to planning for sustainability based on good science, robust economics and community participation, in which well-being of planet and personal beliefs are interdependent.  The old educational subjects are not suitable to encompass the scope of this project, and early efforts to define a suitable body of knowledge produced the the term 'cultural ecology'.  This is a development of 'ethnoecology', which was first used by Conchlin to describe how the long-term survival of communities of native peoples depends on the careful management of resources produced by local ecosystems.  Cultural ecology extends the basic principle of ethnoecology to include all communities, world-wide.  For example, the day to day impacts of city cultures involve the massive emission of atmospheric pollutants from the use of fossil fuels that have consequences for all ecosystems.  The consumption of fast foods may connect city dwellers with tropical deforestation, where meat is mass produced from cattle ranges derived from tropical ecosystems.  The concept of 'food miles' encapsulates the environmental cost of supermarket consumerism based on long-distance bulk transport of commodities.
However, if conservation management is to be brought into the general education system from its current professional periphery, it has to have cross-topic connections for learners to navigate to and from a range of departure points. A mind-map to begin building this navigation system has been produced from the subject of natural economy created by the Cambridge University Examination Syndicate for education in world development. A topic map of cultural ecology presents world development as the replacement of traditional systems for utilising natural resources with scientific systems for managing industrial production systems. Conservation management is the bridge between these historical aspects of human social evolution. It carries value judgments and perceptions about environment where scientific knowledge is not necessarily the clearest representation of what reality is from the standpoint of Homo sapiens being just one of many living things in a community of beings.