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The study of species and organisms and their interaction with the environment surrounding them is known as Ecology. An ecologist studies the connection between organisms and their environment, from the moss that grows to the lion population in Gir National Park. To study ecology, researchers often question the life growing around them. To obtain results, it is crucial to observe and research different aspects of biodiversity and the environment. Ecology is a way ahead that tries to understand the function of various ecosystems; it also studies threatened and vulnerable ecosystems.
Ecosystems can change drastically depending on the factor impacting them. The rise in temperatures, the outbreak of plant or organism diseases, and excessive and exploitative human activities are some factors that can alter the functions of ecosystems. Ecologists can predict future ecological challenges by studying and understanding these changes. They also inform other authorities and scientists about the environmental challenges expected in the coming years; authorities can then take action.
The term ‘ecology’ first started to gain popularity in the 1960s. During that time, environmental problems were increasing on a global level, and people all around the world became aware of these issues. In the modern sense, the term ‘ecology’ has only been around since the 19th century, even though experts have been observing and studying the environment for generations. During the 1960s, scientists from America and Europe began to study the functions of plants and their impact on the environment around them. Gradually, the study started to include the roles of animals and their effects on the environment and plants, the functions of the entire ecosystem, and more. In contemporary times, ecologists continue to use information and facts from their predecessors while sharing details about ecosystems and ecologies across the world. The information and research they gather drastically affect the future of the world.
Humans, no doubt, play a crucial role in the health of the environment. Environmental issues created by humans, such as pollution, deforestation, plastic pollution, etc., can pollute the resources needed by other species for their survival, possibly changing an entire food chain. Loss of species has led humans to introduce new species from different parts of the world to an unfamiliar habitats, causing adverse effects on local habitats and lifeforms. These species are known as invasive species.
Today, the world continues to struggle with several ecological challenges- degradation of forests, increase in sea level and natural calamities, bleaching of coral reefs, loss in species population, forest wildfires, and more. In September 2021, the United States Wildlife and Fish Services declared around 23 species extinct- they were taken off the endangered species list. A United Nations report announced that climate change caused by human activities is excessively impacting ecosystems. The Florida manatees lost about 10 percent of their population due to starvation in the year 2021, as sufficient seagrass was not available. Around one million species in the world are at risk of extinction if global action is not taken.
Natural calamities and their intensity are increasing all around the world. Summer heatwaves kill hundreds of people, while cyclones damage entire towns. Australia and the United States are experiencing the highest recorded catastrophic bushfire seasons, and parts of Africa are swarming with locusts. The brutal and unusual force of these weather events suggests the effects of a heating planet and the increase in the intensity of these events in the years to come. For the first time, microplastic has been reported from Antarctic ice, and a heatwave saw temperatures reach above 20 degrees. Greenland’s ice sheets are melting at a phenomenal rate. Various forms of pollution have caused about 13 percent of deaths in Europe. Wildlife populations have decreased by 68 percent from 1970 to 2022.
Even if all greenhouse gas emissions stopped in the year 2020, climate change and global warming would only stop by the year 2033. However, according to the United Nations, the year 2022 could still prove to be a motivating year for our ecology, with high-level events and seminars planned. These conferences and events are hoped to re-motivate and encourage global cooperation and action. 2022 is set to witness some of the world’s highest renewable and sustainable energy projects.
Protecting and improving our surrounding environment is one method to improve ecology. Human beings are the domineering species in the ecological system. Using our dominance, we can conserve and preserve our ecology by improving the water quality in rivers and lakes, reducing air and water pollution, protecting ecosystems, and decreasing exploitative activities related to the environment. Humans have the ability and supplies needed to take action to preserve ecological systems so as to revive nature and encourage environmental stability. Conservative measures such as the above can significantly improve the world’s ecology.
We can utilize numerous sustainable and natural replacement, recovery, and control measures to avoid damage to the environment. This includes afforestation, pollution control policies, using sustainable and renewable energy sources, permitting natural breeding among species, and restoration of exploited natural resources and habitats. Perfect examples of recovery and control measures are the restoration of wetlands and the control of invasive species. Using marshes and wetlands to filter impure water and toxins instead of using waste treatment plants is an excellent example of replacement measures.
Natural resources can be managed efficiently by the practice of organic farming and agroforestry, control of the usage of resources, etc. Proper forest management enables forests to grow healthier and aids in the preservation of tree species. Management of aquatic habitats can ensure that nursery grounds for marine species are protected.
Public awareness and education can help people understand the importance of ecology in the world. It is an easy and straightforward method of working on a solution for the protection and conservation of the environment. Awareness/environmental campaigns and discussions can motivate people to make conscious efforts so that humanity can use natural resources sustainably while simultaneously preserving them for the future.