Ecology is a


The post-Enlightenment Western worldview is a fairly easy scapegoat for social problems of any ilk. Indeed, the individualist, patriarchal, optimistic outlook can be blamed for many things, from the historical subordination of women to the state of modern pop music. The assumption that the "Western" thought perspective does not allow for true experience or insight is simply false and idealistic. The accompanying reports combine a review of existing literature with an analysis of original quantitative data derived from a poll of 9, mothers from 12 countries in Western Europe, making it one of the largest studies of this kind ever conducted. This report is, as far as we know, an account of the first ever study that has been commissioned by Freemasons from a non-Masonic body. None of the SIRC members involved in the project are Freemasons, a fact that evoked surprise and welcome in equal measure from the Lodge members we met.



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"Deep Ecology as an Aesthetic Movement"


Madhav Gadgil is an ecologist, nature lover, and a staunch believer in the good sense of people and in democratic decentralization. The remanants of a mosque that was washed away in Cheruvannur, Kerala during the floods of Akbar Ali Wikimedia. Intense rains, floods, landslides; huge financial losses, manifold human tragedies. In many in Kerala thought that this was a calamity such as strikes just once in a century, that we will get back to normalcy soon and can merrily continue business as usual.

But the probability of two such back to back events is only 1 in 10, So, when in the people of Kerala once again encountered the same shocking train of intense rains, floods, landslides, financial losses and manifold human tragedies, people were stunned and began to realise that it was unwise to continue business as usual, and that we must think afresh of the options before us. An event with a probability of 1 in 10, is exceedingly unlikely; what is more likely is that extreme events like intense rainfall are now likely to occur much more frequently than in the past.

All the scientific studies pertaining to global warming suggest that indeed this must be so, that on a warmer earth all kinds of extremes, of rain and drought, and of heat and cold, will become more and more frequent. Humans then are responsible even for natural events like intense rainfall occurring with ever higher frequency.

The root cause of global warming is the wasteful resource and energy-guzzling lifestyle that is spreading all over the earth. True, the model for such a lifestyle originated in the United States of America which even today must accept the lion's share of the blame for global warming.

But that does not absolve us from the blame of following this model, and adding a plethora of deliberately wasteful practices to it. Chalakudy, is a river of magnificent waterfalls and rapids and biodiversity-rich forests and waters. The Kerala State Biodiversity Board advised that the project be rejected since it will destroy one of the last remaining examples of low-level evergreen riverine forests in the Western Ghats and deplete the rich fish biodiversity of the Chalakudy river.

The Environmental Impact Assessments prepared for the project and the public hearings conducted were flawed, and the High Court has repeatedly set them aside. Local people were against the Athirappilly project, so much so that of the more than 1, people attending a public hearing on 15 June , no one spoke in favour, and in the written representations submitted to the public hearing panel, the ratio for and against the project was Three of the five members of the panel were against the project and among them were the presidents of Athirapilly gram panchayat and Chalakudy block panchayat; representatives of the people who would be directly affected by the construction of the dam.

A careful assessment of the project by the River Research Centre RRC brought out several technical flaws—there is not enough water to generate the power as claimed, power generation will adversely affect the irrigation now available from the river as well as the scenic waterfall and the thriving tourism business.

Yet there was continual pressure from the Government of Kerala for clearance of the project. So, at the request of the Ministry of Environment and Forests MoEF , the WGEEP visited the proposed dam site, the reservoir area, the settlements of the primitive tribal group Kadars, and had consultations with members of the public at various levels. This was the first time that such a discussion was held between proponents and opponents of the project.

Evidently, the technically flawed project will not contribute to meeting the energy demands of Kerala; a proper life-cycle analysis is likely to show that it will expend something like units of energy in construction and operation to generate 80 units.

Its only justification can come from the totally unwarranted profits that will be made by contractors and their cronies, and this is what is being pushed with the greatest vigour by governments, not of the people, by the people, for the people, but of the contractors, for the contractors, and by the contractors, and supported by an all-party political cartel.

It would be salutary to recall at this stage the philosophy of J C Kumarappa, the accountant-economist who worked closely with Mahatma Gandhi and wrote the insightful book, Economy of Permanence. He pointed out that western Capitalism had elaborated a capital-intensive economy highly wasteful of natural resources because western nations had successfully accumulated large capital stocks through drain of their colonies, and had access to huge stocks of natural resources of whole continents like North and South America and Australia that they had taken over while wiping out the indigenous people.

India, on the other hand, Kumarappa wrote, did not enjoy that kind of access to capital and natural resources, but had to ensure that it did justice to its huge bank of human resources. This called for prudent use of natural resources, best accomplished by empowering local communities to safeguard them, and creating productive employment on a very large scale.

Kumarappa, therefore, advocated working out an innovative Indian model that would focus on the rural economy, of a non-violent rather than predatory development on the western pattern. Otherwise, he cautioned that we would end up creating an economy of violence.

Writing in , his emphasis naturally was on agriculture-based economic activities in the rural sector.

But today, sand, stone, groundwater as well as forests have all emerged as economic resources of substantial value, resources that must be deployed to strengthen the rural economy and generate sorely needed employment. As the Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz emphasises, any nation must aim at a harmonious development of its four capital stocks, not just the man-made capital that gross domestic product GDP highlights, but also natural, human and social capital.

The currently favoured development model pushed with vigour by all political parties, regardless of their other ideological pronouncements, focuses exclusively on economic activity in the organised industries and service sector. So, it will count on the positive side the rise in demand for new houses and consequently for quarrying stone, following the destruction of property in the floods and landslides of and In its computations, the currently favoured development model will count not only quarrying, crushing, and truck transport as positive development gains, but also the rise in sales of drugs and demand for hospitals as a result of the ill-health caused by the quarrying.

In the absence of proper records, other relevant elements of economic activities such as the decline in agricultural productivity and loss of employment for agricultural labour, which ought to be counted on the debit side, will be largely overlooked.

More importantly, this approach totally ignores the ongoing depletion of natural, human, and social capital, an important concern of the WGEEP report. Thus, it turns a blind eye to the erosion of natural capital of land, water, forest, and biodiversity resources.

The social capital residing in social harmony, cooperation, and trust is also grievously suffering in the prevailing economy of violence. This pattern of development is depleting human capital relating to health, education, and employment as well.

So, what we are witnessing is jobless growth, with an accompanying erosion of natural, human as well as social capital. Our Constitution asserts that the real rulers of India are its people who are sovereign and that all development and conservation efforts should be directed towards promoting their well-being. This is the starting point for all the recommendations of WGEEP, which were cast in the framework of our constitutional duties and responsibilities and the various laws on our statute books.

The vast majority of our people depend for their livelihoods on a robust base of natural resources and their health and well-being depend on a healthy environment. WGEEP therefore believed that pitting development against conservation is a false contradiction, and that we must elaborate a model of development as desired by people that is compatible with conservation also as desired by people.

The fine-tuning of development-conservation practices to the local context that this calls for would require the full involvement of local communities.

The Constitution demands that people have every right to say no, we do not want this type of development. On the positive side, they also have every right to fully enjoy the fruits of prudent use and conservation of the natural resources in their own localities. This people-oriented route is the only route to achieving balanced development. Plachimada panchayat in Palakkad district, where a Coca Cola plant has polluted and depleted groundwater, which has led to a drying up of wells with an adverse impact on agricultural productivity and livelihoods, furnishes a notable example of development imposed from above that the people at grass-roots opposed successfully, albeit incompletely.

The people of Plachimada forced a proper inquiry into their losses; the resultant scientific studies showed that these amounted to Rs crores. The panchayat's reasoning was important: it established the crucial link between governance and managing local natural resources. While cancelling the licence, the panchayat evoked its constitutional rights, arguing that as a local elected government it had the duty to protect the well-being of its citizens. It had the right to cancel—or refuse permission for—anything that affected its citizens adversely.

The High Court of Kerala rejected this argument, affirming that people at the grassroots level do have the authority to decide on the course of development in their own locality. Regrettably, three successive Presidents of India have not signed the bill and the people are not being compensated for their losses. To cite one more instance of the imposition of so-called development, consider the case of Chembanmudy in Pathanamthitta district, where a stone quarry has triggered landslips and blockages of streams that are adversely affecting land, water, forest, and biodiversity resources.

The human capital of health is also being eroded, with even young children developing lung cancer. Mothers complain that the truck traffic does not permit their children to focus on their studies. There is little employment for the locals. The few labourers employed are mainly from the tribal tracts of Orissa or Jharkhand, people whose livelihoods were destroyed by rampant mining in their own districts.

There are horror stories making the rounds of how this disorganised labour force is ill-treated, with no compensation for accidental injuries or even death. Yet the strong protests by the entire local population and resolutions of the Chembanmudy panchayat are being totally ignored and the state government is in fact permitting quarrying closer and closer to the settlements.

This was despite the fact that a vast proportion of these activities are completely illegal. A Committee of the Kerala State Legislature has estimated that of stone crushers operating in the state had no permission from either the Collector or the concerned gram sabhas.

Such a course of action is degrading social capital as well exacerbating social disharmony and mistrust. Like development, conservation is also being imposed on people with the bureaucracy assigned the task of conservation misusing its authority. It thereby vests such lands with the Government, extinguishing all individual rights and titles without any compensation, leading to eviction of 8,plus farmers from 37, acres without compensation.

Even tribals and marginal farmers have lost land and protests against it have been muted. Gram sabhas were not involved in the identification of these lands, and forest officials decided on lands to be taken over without any field visits.

Farmers were not given notice; there was only a gazette notification. It is also alleged that the powers have been used by corrupt officials to extort bribes. Clearly there has been a serious breach of public trust by the governments.

What is meant by the public trust they should have kept is well explained in a judgement by Justice Jayashankaran Nambiar in Omana v. Anil Kumar, W. It was therefore mandatory that we accept the recommendations of the Pronab Sen committee that had been specifically constituted in to establish the criteria for the declaration of ecologically sensitive zones and was the basis of the Mohan Ram committee report. However, the Sen committee had provided no guidelines relating to the management of ecologically sensitive zones.

Many suggested that the Western Ghats should have a regulatory regime of a go-no go nature; that certain activities would be banned within the limits of the Western Ghats, but fully permitted outside these limits. Instead, the expert panel had proposed that development plans should be tailored to the locality, society and time-specific conditions with full participation of local communities.

Therefore, the WGEEP advocated a graded or layered approach, with regulatory as well as promotional measures appropriately fine-tuned to local ecological and social contexts within the broad framework of regions of highest sensitivity or Ecologically Sensitive Zone 1 ESZ1 , Regions of high sensitivity ESZ2 , and the Regions of moderate sensitivity ESZ3. Forest cover needs to be interpreted as cover of natural vegetation since there are many areas at high elevations of the Western Ghats where the natural vegetation is grassland.

Many areas are already protected on account of high ecological sensitivity as Wildlife Sanctuaries or National Parks and these should be part of ESZ1. It seems to have taken the tragic developments of and to clear the mists of disinformation, and for the people to realise that Our job then was to decide on the criteria for identifying localities as ESZ1.

Broadly, we proposed three types of criteria, namely elevation, slope and several indicators of intactness of the natural vegetation. All these criteria were discussed openly through a widely circulated scientific paper published in in India's leading scientific journal Current Science.

In Kerala, rainfall increases steeply with elevation. High rainfall and steep slopes render localities susceptible to landslides; hence our ESZ1 would be areas susceptible to landslides. The extent of intact natural vegetation is the third component for assignment of ESZ1.

Landslides are under check in areas with intact natural vegetation because of the binding of the soil by roots. However, any disturbance to natural vegetation would render a locality with high rainfall and with steep slopes susceptible to landslides. Such disturbances may include quarrying or mining, replacement of natural vegetation by plantations, levelling of the land using heavy machinery, or construction of houses and roads.

Therefore, we expect that in the areas assigned by us to ESZ1 any such disturbance of natural vegetation and soil would mean greater danger of landslides. The fact that these have all been occurring in and in ESZ1 as designated by us is therefore to be expected.

Our other recommendations included avoiding these kinds of disturbing activities and had our recommendations been accepted, there is no doubt that the extent and intensity of landslides being encountered today would have been much lower. The experience of bureaucratically-driven nature conservation efforts coupled with development programmes driven by vested interests has been uniformly negative everywhere from the perspective of the local communities.

Thus, in Maharashtra the Mahabaleshwar-Panchagani region was constituted as an Ecologically Sensitive Zone without any consultations with local communities in Naturally, people feel that ESZ is a regime imposed from outside and that it is a regime focused on rigid bureaucratic controls that are subverted by corrupt officials to harass and extort.

The WGEEP received written petitions complaining that a farmer is now obliged to pay a bribe of Rs 20, to get permission to dig a bore well on his farm.



Human Ecology

An ecosystem includes all the living things plants, animals and organisms in a given area, interacting with each other, and with their non-living environments weather, earth, sun, soil, climate, atmosphere. In an ecosystem, each organism has its own niche or role to play. Ecosystems are the foundations of the Biosphere and they determine the health of the entire Earth system. Sir Arthur George Tansley — was an English botanist who introduced the concept of the ecosystem into biology. Ernst Heinrich Philipp August — was a German biologist, naturalist philosopher, physician, professor, marine biologist, and artist who discovered, described and named thousands of new species mapped a genealogical tree relating all life forms invented many words commonly used by biologists today, such as phylum, phylogeny, and ecology. An ecosystem is a community of living organisms plants, animals and microbes in a particular area.

Ecology is defined as the study of ecosystems. Ecologists study the interaction of all the organisms in an ecosystem. The study includes complex interactions.

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Political ecology is a critical research field within anthropology and related disciplines that examines how and why economic structures and power relations drive environmental change in an increasingly interconnected world. Initially it was most well-known for investigating the practices and impacts of large-scale resource development projects in subsistence-oriented communities in the Global South. Over time, political ecology has expanded its research trajectory to include analyses of environmental politics and socio-ecological degradation in urban, industrialised settings as well. This entry outlines the historical development of political ecology in order to understand the bases for its common theoretical assumptions, research themes, methodological approaches, and sources of critique. In doing so, it provides particular insight into the important ways that anthropologists have influenced, and been influenced by, political ecology. Though individual research interests and emphases have expanded since the early days of political ecology, the field continues to provide a valuable means for tracing the broader structural forces of socio-ecological change to a thorough understanding of the impacts and responses to that change at the local level. Yet, as an inherently interdisciplinary field, the challenge for political ecology continues to revolve around properly integrating its various disciplinary interests and influences into a consistent framework capable of analysing political, cultural, and ecological matters with sufficient rigor.


Cultural Landscapes Blog

ecology is a

ISBN In this book, George Alfred James explores the life, ideas and activism of the Gandhian environmentalist and social worker, Sunderlal Bahuguna. The book provides insights into the intellectual influences on Bahuguna and how his experiences as an activist shaped his ideas over time. It should be acknowledged that this book does not claim to be aimed at an academic audience. Perhaps for this reason, the book is written in a simple and accessible style and does not assume too much background knowledge from the reader.

Since the word ends with "-ology," like biology, geology, zoology, etc.

Ecological Consultancy in North Wales

Ecology, or ecological science, is the scientific study of the distribution and abundance of living organisms and how the distribution and abundance are affected by interactions between the organisms and their environment. The environment of an organism includes both physical properties, which can be described as the sum of local abiotic factors such as insolation sunlight , climate, and geology, as well as the other organisms that share its habitat. Ecology is usually considered a branch of biology, the general science that studies living organisms. Organisms can be studied at many different levels, from proteins and nucleic acids in biochemistry and molecular biology , to cells in cellular biology , to individuals in botany, zoology, and other similar disciplines , and finally at the level of populations, communities, and ecosystems, to the biosphere as a whole; these latter strata are the primary subjects of ecological inquiries. Because of its focus on the higher levels of the organization of life on earth and on the interrelations between organisms and their environment, ecology draws heavily on many other branches of science, especially geology and geography, meteorology, pedology, chemistry, and physics. Thus, ecology is considered by some to be a holistic science, one that over-arches older disciplines such as biology which in this view become sub-disciplines contributing to ecological knowledge.


Ecology is economy

Tardigrade Question Biology Ecology is the study of relationship between the. Solution: Answer b Organisms and environment. The method of directly injecting a sperm into ovum in assisted reproductive technology is called Reproductive Health. Which is known as a barrier layer Structural Organisation in Animals. Chiasmata are most appropriately observed in meiosis during Cell Cycle and Cell Division.

Ecology is the study of the relationship between living organisms and their environment. · The biotic community and non-living environment of an area function.

Industrial Ecology (MSc)

Ecology is the study of how living beings interact with their physical environment and also with one another. It is a branch of biology that studies the relationship between organisms, their environment, and their associated energy flows. We can study ecology at many different levels. For example, we may study organisms, populations, ecosystems, and the biosphere.


The natural Earth is a marvel - a complex coupling of species within ecosystems, whereby life begets life. Ecology is far more than the study of life and its environment. The word is used here as a synonym for ecosystems - the vibrant connections that emerge between species across scales, which cumulatively make life on Earth possible. Nature is far, far more than pretty plants and animals. Ecosystems make Earth habitable, providing water, food, air, shelter, and more - everything that we need and desire to live well. In naturally evolved ecosystems, from genes to individual organisms and species, to ecosystems and everything else in between, each living being present fulfills a niche which sustains itself, its neighbors, and the whole.

Green infrastructure consists of ecosystems that provide valuable services to urban areas.

Make a Gift. Support a Project. Become a Citizen Scientist. Shop for Maps and Reports. A wildland fire is defined as any fire that is burning in a natural environment. Fire ecologists recognize that fire is a natural process, and that it often operates as an integral part of the ecosystem in which it occurs. The main factors that are looked at in fire ecology are fire dependence and adaptation of plants and animals, fire history, fire regime and fire effects on ecosystems.

Madhav Gadgil is an ecologist, nature lover, and a staunch believer in the good sense of people and in democratic decentralization. The remanants of a mosque that was washed away in Cheruvannur, Kerala during the floods of Akbar Ali Wikimedia. Intense rains, floods, landslides; huge financial losses, manifold human tragedies.


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  1. Heraldo

    Now everything is clear, thank you for the information.

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