This paper presents a general theory of people-environment relations in modern society. The first part argues that the natural and social environment is integral to peoples' well-being. And yet, due mainly to the way in which production-processes are organised in capitalist society, people remain alienated from their environment and from one another. The second part suggests that people increasingly rely on signs and symbols of the environment. These provide people with packaged and partial understandings of their environment. And in the end these only further contribute to the process of alienation. The final section offers some preliminary ideas as to strategies which might start overcoming peoples' estranged relations with their social and physical surroundings.