Education of Environmental Knowledge Basic Theory 2021
Earth is objectively speaking, the best planet. That look like rainbows, adorable sloths, funky looking caterpillars, and a universe of invisible tiny things that can do everything from make food to power the cycle of nitrogen on this here hunk of rock. This beautiful, weird, corner of the universehas everything a person could need – and that’s because of the environment.
What is the environment?
Well, it’s everything. And we humans depend on it for our literal existence. So don’t you think you should learn a little more about it? In this series of lessons on environmental science miriam and you are going to explore all the ways humans interact with and relyon the environment. Welcome to the Essentials of Environmental Science! People who work in the field of environmental science draw on aspects of biology, chemistry, economics, politics, human geography, urban planning, the list goes on, in their study of the natural world.
Education Of Environmental Science:
The scope of environmental science has steadily broadened over the last 100 years: starting from anthopocentrism – a human-centered worldviewwhich has its roots in the European societies from which most modern scientific practices descend. Then into biocentrism – which ascribes valueto human and non-human life, and finally into ecocentrism – which values the well-being of entire ecosystems including all the living and nonliving elements.
These three terms: anthropocentrism, biocentrism,and ecocentrism, describe standards of environmental ethics. Depending on a culture’s – or a scientist’s- worldview, the environmental ethic will influence what questions are asked and whatvalue we put on the answers. Today’s environmental problems, from
Water pollution to endangered species to climate change, require us to look for answers through the broadest lens the ecocentric ethic. Humans have had a huge impact on our natural world, especially since the Industrial Revolution.
One 2011 article put it this way: “for better or for worse, the earth system now functions in ways unpredictable with out understanding how human systems function and how they interact with and control earth system processes.” To truly understand environmental systems and human impact, it is important to not simply study an organism, like an endangered species,or a pollution source, like an oil spill, in isolation. Instead, we should try to understand naturalor human-caused disruptions to the environment from an ecocentric approach–looking at thebigger systems at play. If you learn one thing from watching our serieson environmental science, make it this: We humans benefit from the environment, but weare also part of it. That means our actions can and do affect Earth systems, so a lot of environmental science focuses on how to protect, preserve, and restorethe systems human activity degrades.
One way scientists do this is by constructing models to represent natural systems and all of their interconnected factors. Models are powerful scientific tools with the ability to both explain and predict. A model could be code on a computer that recreates the physical processes of the earth’s climate, but it can also be a chart or graphic that
represents the carbon cycle. Here’s a model of the planet’s hydrologic cycle.
Important Of Environmental Science
Environmental science helps us to understand how all the living and non-living components are interrelated. Rain falls, runs into surface waters or down into the ground water. Or, the water can be taken up by plants for photosynthesis. This model represents all these actions with squiggly lines and rain drops. However, like any scientific model, it’s not perfect.
It can not possibly represent everything going on at any one time. The only thing that can do that is the earth itself. But even though we can’t run global-scale experiments, a model does allow us to predict what would happen if something in the system changed.
If humans clear-cut a forest,this model would predict that there will be less evapotranspiration from the trees into the atmosphere. We could then expect to measure less water vapor in the atmosphere around that location. So, models help us to understand, one, a system,two, how natural and human disturbances.
It is through this process that environmental science can analyze and address environmental problems. Now – I know I just said that you don’t want to look at a single organism exclusively, but it is probably easier to start thinking about how biotic, or living, and abiotic, or non-living, components fit into a system,by beginning
Let’s use a single white-tailed deer, amember of the species Odocoileus virginianus to define some terms and look at how an ecosystem works. Biologists define species in a number of ways,but one common definition of species is a group of organisms that can successfully reproduce with each other.
A group of individuals of that species of deer living in a particular area is called a population. But this population of deer isn’t alonein an empty void. They’re hanging out, at the same time and the same place, with lots of other populations – like pine trees, fungi, squirrels, orbats. Together, an ecological community is a group of populations living in one area at a particular time, interacting with one another. If you add in all the abiotic components,like the air, rocks, water, and even something like the temperature, then you’ve got an ecosystem.
When studying a single species, like a white-taileddeer or an African elephant, nothing works in isolation; therefore, we can’t study anything in isolation, so researchers need to consider all the abiotic and biotic components of that species and its ecosystem together.
Organisms in a tropical rain forest have adapted to different conditions than those in a savannah, or a tundra, a desert,or in temperate grasslands. We call these different broad regions of the planet, defined by their patterns of rain fall and temperature, biomes. Latitude – the distance north or south from the equator – can be a useful tool in determining where certain biomes exist. It is no surprise that the hot, humid condition sall along the equator created tropical rain forest biomes around the world.
At higher latitudes, the cooler parts of the world, you’re more likely to find biomes like tundra or the boreal forest. This graph, created by ecologist Robert Whittaker,
represents the different major terrestrial biomes. The y-axis is average precipitation and thex-axis is average temperature. Whittaker’s graph works because terrestrial biomes are mainly defined by their temperature and precipitation patterns, however, thisdoesn’t tell us much about the wide variety of aquatic ecosystems that exist in oceans,rivers, lakes, swamps, coral reefs, and marshes.
Aquatic ecosystem are defined by things like salinity, water flow, and depth. This all kind of feels like a bunch of definitions,but they are important to understand, because everything from prehistoric to modern lifeas we know it was constructed in and around these natural systems. We humans benefit immensely from all aspects of the natural world. We depend on earth’s systems for clean air to breathe, clean water to drink, and fertile soil in which to grow crops. We also place a esthetic and cultural value in to our natural resources through poetry, songs, and paintings dedicated to and inspiredby nature.
All together, this practically endless list of benefits that the natural world provides are called ecosystem services. Here’s an example to get your head around.
The oceans are full of fish, which is a huge benefit for millions of people around the world. But, that isn’t the only service the ocean provides, it absorbs lots of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, helping to regulate the entire planet’s climate. And a huge portion of the oxygen we breathe comes from photosynthetic marine plankton.
The ocean also serves as a highway system for transporting goods from country to country on cargo ships, and we even harness the energy of waves and tides to generate electricity.
In all its forms, is an areathat especially demands protection.
Mostly there are 3 main types of biodiversity:
1) Gzenetic diversity within a population.
2) Species richness – speciesdiversity within an ecosystem.
3) Ecosystem diversity in an area.
A population with large genetic diversity has greater potential to adapt to environmental changes. High species richness makes an ecosystem more stable, and better able to recover from disturbances.
And an area with a rich diversity of habitat sand ecosystems can support a more robust and stable community of organisms. So biodiversity over all helps an ecosystem be more resistant and resilient in the face of environmental changes, whether they’renatural hazards or human impacts.
An ecosystem with high biodiversity is like a giant, well-spun spider’s web: lots and lots of interconnected points. If the web has a little rip in one area, it can probably still function, because it is supported and held together by hundreds of other strands woven together. But if the web is only made of two or three strands, then the same small rip could collapse the entire web.
The ecosystem web, species constantly interact with each other and those relationships have shaped those species evolution. And some of the most important evolutionary relationships are predator.
Who’s eating Food webs and trophic pyramids are both scientific models which represent how predators and their prey interact within an ecosystem, but they emphasize different things. The arrows in a food web map the flow