HolismThe reason why we need to study ecosystems and systems in general is that science is based mainly on analysis, on dissecting things into smaller and smaller pieces then reconstructing larger things from their 'constituent' elements. This contrasts with the gestalt or holistic approach which states that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
The word complexity often arises from the analytically, dissecting, components based system of thinking and understanding. If we rather use a holistic approach the word complexity just disappears.
FitnessIt is interesting that the ultimate way by which ecology and developmental biology measure the fitness level of an organism is by measuring its fertility; its ability to produce offspring that survive and for its offspring to produce offspring that survive. The interesting part is that that is the very way by which ingenious, local and lower class people usually measure their 'value'. A woman who produces a lot of offspring is valued more. A man who has a high rate of fertility can boast about that. It is interesting how the scientific concept of fitness in ecology is the very same principle which ingenious and less educated people use to value themselves.
Ecological NicheProviding the conditions that satisfy the ecological niche for a specific organism are enough to maintaining such organism in good shape and making it thrive. This can be used to keep plants in great condition even at locations other than those where it originally grew and adapted provided the conditions of its ecological niche are provided.
Of course it might be costly in terms of energy and effort to provide such conditions artificially. This is exactly what happened in Biosphere 2. Such artificial provision of conditions can lead to catastrophes same as what happened to Biosphere 2.
Ecological AgricultureOne of my ultimate dreams would be to design an agricultural system fully based on ecological knowledge and ecological science. This is the same idea behind permaculture, yet I would love to take it to the next level. It would be highly interesting to study organisms, communities and ecosystems in the various climates present in Egypt and come up with ultimate ecological agriculture systems that can thrive in our Egyptian environment.
The science of ecology has also progressed considerably since the early days when Bill Mollison first co-founded permaculture. This presents a great opportunity now for taking a second look at permaculture and greatly enriching it given the new advancements in the science of ecology.
TemperatureTemperature is an important condition for organisms and their survival. Temperature is arguably the most important condition in an ecological niche of an organism. It is interesting to note that temperature is a very important condition for, not only the survival, but the optimal comfort of humans.
|Wooden bench amidst vegetation.|
A lot of energy is exerted to artificially regulate the temperature for humans in their manmade built environments. Tackling this single condition, which greatly affects humans, can be a central point if we want to live more sustainable. Natural housing and green architecture may provide methods for providing an optimal temperature condition for humans without so much energy expenditure. This is my ultimate dream.
Egypt Rapid GrowthIt is interesting to note the rate of growth and how it increases with temperature. This provides Egypt with a great advantage given its relatively high temperature. Plants can grown much faster in Egypt and thus lead to much higher rates of productivity in agriculture. On another note, using solar energy, particularly thermal solar energy, can be a great source of renewable energy for Egypt.
Rate of DevelopmentThe concept of development responding to temperature faster than growth is very interesting. The more temperature increases the faster the development rate and growth rate of an organism, yet the rate of development responds even more rapidly to temperature than the rate of growth. This is interesting because at higher temperatures organisms might have less growth (less size) yet be more developed than other similar organisms that were provided with lower temperatures! I wonder what applications and insights this could have when thinking of humans living at varying temperatures.
Microclimates Give HopeThe concept of microclimates gives hope. Humans can create their own microclimates in which they live regardless of the destruction present around them. Yes everything is ultimately connected and pollution at one place may affect another far away from it yet at the same time we must take microclimates into account and use it to our advantage while working on the bigger problem in parallel.
Temperature TwinsIt would be interesting to think of temperature twins, organisms that have the same temperature requirements and thrive in similar temperatures. Would be interesting to examine those and see what they may have in common. Of course this should be done on organisms living in different geographic locations and preferably widely separated across large distances.
AwarenessAwareness is the way forward for reducing the harmful manmade effects on the environment. Without such awareness it would be difficult to hold back the growing destruction to our ecosystems. Education and awareness programs are a central part to any ecological survival we would be seeking. Science and the findings of science should be a core component of such awareness and educational programs.
Note: It looks like in the early morning I get a lot more inspiration to write than when attempting to do so at night.