Ecology

A Definition of Ecology

The ecological is defined as the practices, discourses, and material expressions that occur across the intersection between the social and the natural realms, focussing in this case on the important dimension of human engagement with and within nature, ranging from the built-environment to the ‘wilderness’.

In other words, the ecological domain is treated as narrower that the natural realm. While the ecological is grounded in the natural and includes a spectrum of environmental conditions from the the profoundly modified, through the relatively untransformed, the natural realm includes all of that, and much more. It includes nature beyond the reach of the Anthropocene: the infinitely big and infinitesimally small. The distinction between the social realm and the natural realm, with the natural as a ‘context’ for human action, is common in traditional (cosmological) and modern (scientific) understandings, but we are adding a further dimension.

Our definition recognizes these understandings without being confined to them. It lays ‘the ecological’ across both terms — that is, across ‘the natural’ and ‘the social’ — as naming the connections of human and non-human engagement with and within nature, ranging from objects and bodies to zones of engagement. This means that the ecological domain pertains to questions of social-environmental interconnection, including the unintended consequences of humans living on the planet. The ecological is thus not treated as a background context for human action but rather a place of being human and non-human.

Perspectives and Aspects of Ecology

  1. Materials and Energy
    1. Availability and Abundance
    2. Soil and Fertility
    3. Minerals and Metals
    4. Electricity and Gas
    5. Petroleum and Biofuels
    6. Renewables and Recyclables
    7. Monitoring and Reflection
  2. Water and Air
    1. Vitality and Viability
    2. Water Quality and Potability
    3. Air Quality and Respiration
    4. Climate and Temperature
    5. Greenhouse Gases and Carbon
    6. Adaptation and Mitigation Processes
    7. Monitoring and Reflection
  3. Flora and Fauna
    1. Complexity and Resilience
    2. Biodiversity and Ecosystem Diversity
    3. Plants and Insects
    4. Trees and Shrubs
    5. Wild Animals and Birds
    6. Domestic Animals and Species Relations
    7. Monitoring and Reflection
  4. Habitat and Settlements
    1. Topography and Liveability
    2. Original Habitat and Native Vegetation
    3. Parklands and Reserves
    4. Land-use and Building
    5. Abode and Housing
    6. Maintenance and Retrofitting
    7. Monitoring and Reflection
  5. Built-Form and Transport
    1. Orientation and Spread
    2. Proximity and Access
    3. Mass Transit and Public Transport
    4. Motorized Transport and Roads
    5. Non-motorized Transport and Walking Paths
    6. Seaports and Airports
    7. Monitoring and Reflection
  6. Embodiment and Sustenance
    1. Physical Health and Vitality
    2. Reproduction and Mortality
    3. Exercise and Fitness
    4. Hygiene and Diet
    5. Nutrition and Nourishment
    6. Agriculture and Husbandry
    7. Monitoring and Evaluation
  7. Emission and Waste
    1. Pollution and Contamination
    2. Hard-waste and Rubbish
    3. Sewerage and Sanitation
    4. Drainage and Effluence
    5. Processing and Composting
    6. Recycling and Re-use
    7. Monitoring and Evaluation

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