What is Ecology? • Ecology is the branch of science that deals with the complex relationships between living things and their environment. • For example, we depend upon plants for both food AND shelter. (wood)
Ecology vs. Environmentalism • Ecology is a science. • Environmentalism or the Environmental Movement is a strong concern for the environment. It is based on emotions, values, beliefs, and politics. • Ecologists attempt to NOT make decisions based on moral values and emotions, but environmentalists do.
Understanding by Organizing • Biologists like to classify animals according to taxonomic groups (species, genus, family, etc.—SEE PAGE 7). • Ecologists organize things a little bit differently. Again, see page 7. • Their classification system starts at organism, then population, then community, then ecosystem, then ecosphere.
What is an ecosystem? • An ecosystem is any partially-contained environmental and living system. • For example, a lake, a forest, a large valley or a desert are all examples of ecosystems. • It comprises ALL living organisms AND the rocks, soil, buildings, etc. • Take a look at the info on the top of page 8 about balanced and unbalanced ecosystems.
Pollution • Pollution is when harmful materials come into contact with life-sustaining resources such as water or soil. • What examples can you think of when something has been polluted? (Hint—there are some examples on pages 10-14) • The Law of Conservation of Matter says that nothing can be created nor destroyed (it can only change form)—So pollution can not be destroyed…the moral of the story is: we should PREVENT pollution because we cannot get rid of it. We can only change its form. (Recycling!)
Conservation of Natural Resources • Because of the Law of Conservation of Matter, it would just be easier to NOT use something, than to have to recycle or re-use it. This is conservation of natural resources. • There are two types of people who discuss how our resources should be used: conservationists and preservationists. • Preservationists say that we should prevent humans from using these resources. (Like, we should NOT be able to cut down trees in a forest for wood or paper.) • Conservationists would say that we CAN use resources, as long as we are smart about it and don’t use them up. (Logging is OK, but cut down only every third tree, and plant some more while you are at it.)