- Ecology, as a science, takes on a holistic approach to nature and problem-solving that happens in our ecosystem. Holistic means that it tries to encompass and think about as many possible factors that we know about.
- What is the ultimate source of energy from an ecological standpoint? That is easy - it is the Sun, which allows photosynthesis, which leads to the creation of (carbon-rich) sugars, which leads to energy, which leads to life itself.
- Remember the basic principle of ecology, which states that nothing lasts forever? Well, the same goes for the Sun. It will, no matter how hot it seems now, shut down once it depletes the fuel it needs for nuclear fusion. It will happen in approximately 5 billion years from now.
Ecology is a specialized part of biology that investigates the interaction and co-dependencies that happen in Earth's ecosystem. Ecology is interested in biodiversity and how different organisms behave in a specific environment.
One could argue that ecology is one of the most essential branches of biology, as it can help us understand and protect the environment that is home for all the species living on Earth. There are principles that ecology seems to follow to describe the approach it takes to explain biodiversity and the interaction between biotic and abiotic components found in nature.
What Is An Ecosystem?
The ecosystem is the research focus of ecology. However, this term might seem to be too broad because it looks like it encompasses everything. Well, it can not get much simpler than this, because everything in the environment is in constant interaction. So, an ecosystem is a structure that relies on the notions of coherence or incoherence of organisms that inhabit either a specific area or Earth as a whole.
Matter Cannot Just Disappear
Ecology's perspective on the matter is rather simple: materials that exist on this planet go through different cycles (and recycling, too) to appear in a different form somewhere else. So, nothing you get rid of today while you throw in the trash can will disappear. Ecology explains this through the concept of cyclic pathways, which are, in essence, the way matter is created, redistributed, and reformed in our environment.
All Problems That Happen In The Environment Are Connected
If things happen cyclically, that means that all problems that occur within our ecosystem always cause numerous issues. This means we can not solve a problem like global pollution of soil if we just get rid of the plastics. There are other factors, and they are again based on the way we handle the resources on this planet, which will affect the quality of life, and in the end - biodiversity.
Nothing Lasts Forever
No matter how you think about this space-time and deal with the cyclic nature of life itself, the resources on this planet are not infinite. This is a hard fact to realize if you try to push your imagination and think about this planet once you are gone. Your life, depending on other various factors, has an expiration date.
You can think about the resources on Earth the same way. What will happen in 20 years with fuel? What will happen in 50 years with water supplies? What will this planet look like in 2250? This is something you can not comprehend fully. Still, the fact that things can most certainly go from bad to worse should make you think about the importance of all the natural resources on the planet, and how you are not the only one whose needs need to be fulfilled.
This is something that grounds ecology as natural science and proposes an approach that necessarily becomes saturated with moral questions. All organisms on this planet need some kind of energy to thrive and survive. All species need food, water, and the heat coming from the Sun in one way or another.
These resources are used to create energy, which allows life itself. If one species, and there is no need to mask this any further, has too much control over one type of resource, others will suffer. Humans, and our ecosystem management abilities are highly risky, and we are not only leaving our fellow humans without energy, but we are also doing it to thousands of different plant and animal species.
Competition In Nature
However, humans are not to be blamed for absolutely everything that seems disruptive. Food chains had existed long before we started to make our way to the top, and ecology states how all organisms compete for resources from the same pool. However, the problem with today's world is that it turned that into a notion that is hard to fight against. Do people really need to compete, or even worse, fight wars to get the resources we need to share?
The Component Of Time
From an ecologist standpoint, nature (as a very complex entity where matter comes into contact) spent a long time developing the stability of Earth's ecosystem. You can definitely look at Earth and nature acting as synonyms here: conditions on Earth have been changing for millions of years, and some of them took a lot of time to look the way they do now. It is our destructive presence, which can speed up time, or if you wish - to speed up the changes, and often drive them from bad to worse.