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The discipline of Environmental Humanities has sought to include humanistic inquiry into sustainability solutions by exploring the direct relationship between humans' belief systems and the world's ecosystems. As IHR Founding Director and Distinguished Sustainability Scientist (Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute for Sustainability) Sally Kitch explains, "the problem is not in the planet, it's in ourselves."
Literary, cultural, religious, ethnic, women’s, and media studies scholars, philosophers and historians began organizing in the early 1990s to address environmental issues. By 2000, these organizational efforts began rapidly internationalizing and integrating into a vibrant interdisciplinary field. Environmental humanists focus on the study of human imagination, perception, behaviors and the relationship of humans to their surrounding environments—both social and natural. Since 2009, the IHR has been collaborating with institutes, schools and centers at ASU, including the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability (GIOS), to incubate and develop research and activities in this vibrant interdisciplinary field.