Sunday, January 24, 2010

Some definitions

Yo soy yo y mi circunstancia, y si no la salvo a ella no me salvo yo meditaciones del quijote

[I am I and my circumstances, and if I do not save the latter I do not save my self]

-Meditaciones del quijote [Mediations of Don Quijote], 1914, p 77, José Ortega y Gasset

Human ecology deals with everything that surrounds us. From the broad meanings of both those words, human and ecology, human ecology can be defined; All activities from humans are connected. One of the first definitons of human ecology can be seen in this blog's title;

The Ecological Approach to the Study of the Human Community

(article from, R. D. McKenzie, 1925, The City, by Robert E. Park and Ernest W. Burgess)

where the Ecological Approach comes from the word Ecology [Greek: οἶκος, household; -λογία, study of], which is the interdisciplinary scientific study of the interactions between organisms and their environment.

Ecology is also the study of ecosystems which describe the web or network of relations among organisms at different scales of organization, refers to any form of biological diversity. Ecologists research connections from small to large; everything from the bacteria's role in nutrient recycling to the effects of forests evaporation on the earth's atmosphere. Ecology as a field emerged from the natural science, Biology in the late 19th century.

Biology as a field, emerged in the the beginning of the 1800, studying life and living organisms, including their structure, function, growth, origin, evolution, distribution, and taxonomy. Biology and ecology are naturally very close, where ecologists needs biological terms for their work, for example, scientific names, presence and life cycles to describe flows, growth and relations.

Human ecology is therefore a rather complex, interdisciplinary area, which use the holistic approach to deal with solutions. Examples to practise ecology in the human society can be in conservation biology, wetland management, natural resource management (agriculture, forestry , fisheries), city planning (urban ecology), community health, economics, basic & applied science. Human ecology also provides a conceptual framework for understanding and researching human social interaction.

Such a human social interaction can be the cities, a central part in this blogsite. Ecocities, a term from 1979, defind as;

a human settlement that enables its residents to live a good quality of life while using minimal natural resources

The word eco refers here to ecology, BUT in the ecological approach this might also be the economy. The closeness between ecology, economy and sociology is central to the field of human ecology and therefore also for ecocities that deals with both humans and (their) ecology.

Awarness of the ecology of humans have given the light to the environmental problems. Which are normally recognized as complex and hard to solve, and from this fact the field of Environmental communication and management emerged as a new but essential academic field to the future.

Environmental communication emerged from interdisciplinary work involving communication, environmental science, risk analysis and management, sociology, social psychology and political ecology. EC refers to the study and practice of how individuals, institutions and societies, distribute, receive, understand, and use messages about the environment and human interactions with the environment or our suroundings i.e human ecology.

According to Robert Cox, 2006, the field of Environmental Communication is composed of seven major areas of study and practice:

  • Environmental rhetoric and discourse
  • Media and environmental journalism
  • Public participation in environmental decision making
  • Social marketing and Advocacy campaigns
  • Environmental collaboration and conflict resolution
  • Risk communication
  • Representations of nature in popular culture and green marketing

All of them central to sustainable development.

This blog deals with the broad perspective of human ecology as a educational part, but as much as to educate people to be aware of their surroundings, we need to work with them, as the field of environmental communcation advocate.

My hope is, that we don't need to have definitions in the future, we will just live in the middle of it. Aware and full of life.

No comments:

Post a Comment

MIRAGE: A Short Film about Arcosanti

Mirage from Edan Cohen on Vimeo .