What is ecology?

Ecology is branch of biology that deals with the relation between organisms and their environment.

The word is also used to refer to the natural environment.

It is a science that deals with the study of the life and non-life interactions within an ecosystem, the structure of these interactions, and the dynamics of the system.

Ecology is an interdisciplinary study that employs knowledge from areas such as biology, chemistry, meteorology, physics, and a variety of other natural sciences.

Ecology emerged as a new science in the early 20th century.

The first research and development in ecology was done around 1900 by American scientist Frederic Clements.

Frederic Clements / Img source: Wikipedia.org

In the late 1800s, the German biologist and philosopher Ernst Haeckel had originated the word “ecology” to describe the scientific study of the interactions between organisms and their environment.

Haeckel had called his study “oekology”.

Ernst Haeckel / Img source: Wikipedia.org

Haeckel had called his study “oekology”.

Ecology is such a broad field of study that many fields of study have contributed to its development.

The following are some of the contributions:

  • Chemical studies of the effects of pollution on the natural environment.
  • Geography and anthropology, which study landscape and human impacts on the environment.
  • Biology and its study of the interactions between organisms and their environment.
  • Meteorology and climatology, which study the interactions between the atmosphere and the environment.
  • Physics and the study of the interactions between light and matter.
  • Chemistry, which studies the interactions between chemicals and the environment.

Ecological problems

The following are some of the causes of present-day ecological problems on Earth:

  • Air pollution.
  • Industrial pollution.
  • Acid rain.
  • Deforestation.
  • Pollution of the seas, lakes, and rivers.
  • Extinction of species.

There are a lot of methods of recovering ecology:

  • Land reclamation.
  • Eutrophication control.
  • Habitat conservation.
  • Restoration of damaged ecosystems.
  • Pollution control.
  • Recycling.
  • Restoration of natural habitats.

The way to the ecologically sustainable development

Ecologically sustainable development is a concept that, as the term suggests, is both ecologically sound and economically sustainable. It is defined as the process of managing economic, social, and environmental resources to provide for present and future generations. The emphasis is on the environmental sustainability of development. The concept of sustainable development has evolved in response to social, economic, and environmental concerns about the consequences of development that is not sustainable.

An international conference, “Our Common Future,” was held in 1987 to address the sustainable development of international development. This conference resulted in the publication of the Brundtland Report, later adopted by the United Nations General Assembly. The Brundtland Report defines sustainable development as development that “meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” The report developed three categories for sustainable development: (1) economic development, (2) social development, and (3) environmental protection.

Economic development is the generation of wealth through the development of resources. It involves protecting human health and the environment through the mitigation of pollution and the conservation of natural resources. Social development is the development of the social and cultural aspects of society, including education, housing, health care, and employment. It also involves the protection of human rights. Environmental protection is the preservation of the natural environment, including the ecosystems of the oceans, lakes, and rivers. It also involves the preservation of cultural and historic areas.

The Brundtland Report has been criticized for its emphasis on economic development. Critics of the concept of sustainable development argue that this emphasis on economic development reflects the Western values of the report’s authors. They argue that the idea of sustainable development is inherently biased and reflects the West’s values. They also argue that the concept of sustainable development does not incorporate the needs of the developing world’s people.