Nature services itself. All the living organism have evolved in concert with each other to accommodate their needs from each other and the abiotic resources around them. That humans (as part of the ecosystem) have found many of their needs attended to by nature (the ecosystem) is no surprise. However, as humans evolved their technologies and numbers, their appetite for resources increased rapidly, and in some cases outpaced the ability of the natural system to provide for humans. Part of the new technology involved restructuring nature to increase output to humans. As part of that changing relationship, we may have forgotten about some of the “services” that nature provided all along. The concept of “ecosystem services” re-emphasizes these services so that we can again come to value them more dearly. In order to do this, we need to understand what ecosystems do, and then think about how that impacts us. The exercise below is to help with that understanding.
Think of yourself as an ecosystem. What inputs do you need? Diagram your water budget (inputs, outputs, intrasystem cycling (if any). Send me your diagram and I’ll post it on the blog page. Are we in some way analogous to a forested ecosystem in its use of water? How is the forest’s use of water not a cycle? Why do we talk about a water cycle? Now think about calcium. Assuming that you do not have osteoporosis, compare your use of calcium to that of the forested ecosystem described above. Would a diagram help you think about this?
Monika’s water system:
Ian’s water system:
Matt’s water system: