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Transcript
Humanity and environment
Donald Winslow
15 September 2010
Questions
• What is the environment?
• What is “environmental studies”?
• What is ecology?
• What is sustainability?
• How do humans depend on their environment?
• What can nature teach us about our lives?
What is the environment?




In ecology, an organism's “environment” is its
surroundings.
The factors that affect the organism and that
are influenced by the organism.
Modern global society's environment is our
world—the entire Earth.
Anything that “hurts our environment” hurts our
world.
Environmental studies
& environmentalism


Environmental studies—The study of the
interactions of humans with their environment.
Environmentalism—A political movement
advocating the protection of natural resources,
species, and ecosystems.
Environmental studies
is an interdisciplinary field

Natural sciences

Geography

Social sciences

Philosophy, religion, ethics
Natural sciences

Physics

Chemistry

Geology

Oceanography

Meteorology

Climatology

Biology

Ecology
What is ecology?


The study of the interactions of organisms
(living things) with their surroundings.
An ecosystem is composed of all the different
species of organisms in a given area, along
with the physical and chemical factors with
which they interact.
Black-necked Stilt & White-faced Ibis
at Hackberry Flat.
Social sciences

Anthropology

Demography

Psychology

Sociology

Political science

Economics
Sustainability




Living in a way that can be sustained
Not depleting or degrading resources on
which future generations will depend
Is economic growth compatible with
sustainability?
Sustainability principles in nature provide
insight for human civilization.
Natural capital


Natural resources

Timber

Fossil fuels
Natural services

Hydrological cycling

Nutrient cycling
Cypress swamp in White River
National Wildlife Refuge in
Arkansas
Sustainability principles in nature

Solar energy

Diversity

Population regulation

Recycling
View from Mt. Saum Tauk in Missouri
To conclude…
• Environment is everything.
• Many fields help us understand our world.
• Ecologists study interactions.
• It’s not necessarily easy to be green.
• We depend on natural resources and services.
• Nature can teach us about our role in the world.