Ecology is NOT environmental protection; however, a lot of people still equate Ecology with the environmental protection.
As a student of ecology, people often asked me about the topics which relate to the environmental protection. Most questions were about waste management, or about environmental protection topics that they’ve heard of on the news. As an ecologist, I didn’t know how to answer those questions.
Now that I study environmental protection, people are puzzled about what is an environmentalist supposed to do.
It seems that people connect ecologist to environmental protection, more than they do environmentalists.
I suppose that happened because of the negative connotation the term ‘ environmentalist’ had. That probably happened because of people who do not have the necessary knowledge or experience in the field, yet they call themselves environmentalists solely because they are a part of a specific non-governmental organization or based on their personal beliefs.
From that point of view, it seems a bit unfair to call people, who are experienced and knowledgeable on the field of environmental protection “environmentalists” (even if they have a Ph.D. on that). Educational institutions tried to fix that bug by naming their graduates “Environmental scientists” or even “Ecotechnologist”…. I can’t say that fixed the problem, it might actually make it worse.
What is ecology?
I already wrote about What is environmental protection in one of my previous posts, therefore I’ll focus on ecology today.
Ecology is the scientific analysis and study of interactions among organisms and their environment. It is an interdisciplinary field that includes biology, geography, and Earth science. Ecology includes the study of interactions that organisms have with each other, other organisms, and with abiotic components of their environment. Topics of interest to ecologists include the diversity, distribution, amount (biomass), and number (population) of particular organisms, as well as cooperation and competition between organisms, both within and among ecosystems. Ecosystems are composed of dynamically interacting parts including organisms, the communities they make up, and the non-living components of their environment. Ecosystem processes, such as primary production, pedogenesis, nutrient cycling, and various niche construction activities, regulate the flux of energy and matter through an environment. These processes are sustained by organisms with specific life history traits, and the variety of organisms is called biodiversity. Biodiversity, which refers to the varieties of species, genes, and ecosystems, enhances certain ecosystem services.
Ecology is not synonymous with environment, environmentalism, natural history, or environmental science. It is closely related to evolutionary biology, genetics, and ethology. An important focus for ecologists is to improve the understanding of how biodiversity affects ecological function. Ecologists seek to explain:
Life processes, interactions, and adaptations
- The movement of materials and energy through living communities
- The successional development of ecosystems
- The abundance and distribution of organisms and biodiversity in the context of the environment ❐
So, what’s the difference between ecology and environmental protection?
The main difference between ecology and environmental protection is, that ecology sees the human species simply as one of the many animal species. As for the environmental protection, the human is the main and only species that is responsible for the degradation and its effect on other organisms and their environment.
|Examining the relations among organisms and their environment||Discusses the human effort to reduce their own harmful influence on the environment|
|Examines natural processes||Discusses the effects of the activities that were developed/are used only by humans|
|Ecosystems, organisms, and their environment||Waste management, pollution, solutions to environmental problems.|
|Broad natural science||It can be viewed as a subcategory of ecology, which deals exclusively with the human species and its influences|
Ecology studies interactions among ALL organisms and their environment.
While environmental protection studies human impacts on other organisms, their environment, and natural processes.