This video is from the Khan Academy subject of Partner content on the topic of Crash Course and it covers 5 Human Impacts on the Environment.
Applied ecology is a framework for the application of knowledge about ecosystems so that actions can be taken to create a better balance and harmony between people and nature in order to reduce human impact on other beings and their habitats.
The study of biomimicry and sustainable design promises great benefits in design applications, offering cost-effective, resourceful, non-polluting avenues for new enterprise. An important final caveat for students to understand is that once copied, species are not expendable. Biomimicry is intended to help people by identifying natural functions from which to pattern human-driven services. Biomimicry was never intended to replace species. Ecosystems remain in critical need of ongoing protection and biodiversity must be preserved for the overall health of the planet. This activity addresses the negative ramifications of species decline. For example, pollinators such as bees are a vital work force in agriculture. They perform an irreplaceable task in ensuring the harvest of most fruit and vegetable crops. In the face of the unexplained colony collapse disorder, we are only now beginning to understand how invaluable these insects are in keeping food costs down and even making the existence of these foods possible for humans.
With a continued focus on the Sonoran Desert, students are introduced to the concepts of biomes, limiting factors (resources), carrying capacity and growth curves through a PowerPoint® presentation. Abiotic factors (temperature, annual precipitation, seasons, etc.) determine the biome landscape. The vegetative component, as producers, determines the types of consumers that form its various communities. Students learn how the type and quantity of available resources defines how many organisms can be supported within the community, as well as its particular resident species. Students use mathematical models of natural relationships (in this case, sigmoid and exponential growth curves) to analyze population information and build upon it. With this understanding, students are able to explain how carrying capacity is determined by the limiting factors within the community and feeding relationships. By studying these ecological relationships, students see the connection between ecological relationships of organisms and the fundamentals of engineering design, adding to their base of knowledge towards solving the grand challenge posed in this unit.
Students are introduced to the concepts of biomimicry and sustainable design. Countless examples illustrate the wisdom of nature in how organisms are adapted for survival, such as in body style, physiological processes, water conservation, thermal radiation and mutualistic relationships, to assure species perpetuation. Students learn from articles and videos, building a framework of evidence substantiating the indisputable fact that organisms operate "smarter" and thus provide humans with inspiration in how to improve products, systems and cities. As students focus on applying the ecological principles of the previous lessons to the future design of our human-centered world, they also learn that often our practices are incapable of replicating the precision in which nature completes certain functions, as evidenced by our dependence on bees as pollinators of the human food supply. The message of biomimicry is one of respect: study to improve human practices and ultimately protect natural systems. This heightened appreciation helps students to grasp the value of industry and urban mimetic designs to assure protection of global resources, minimize human impact and conserve nonrenewable resources. All of these issues aid students in creating a viable guest resort in the Sonoran Desert.
Students are challenged to design a method for separating steel from aluminum based on magnetic properties as is frequently done in recycling operations. To complicate the challenge, the magnet used to separate the steel must be able to be switched off to allow for the recollection of the steel. Students must ultimately design, test, and present an effective electromagnet.
After a butterfly species disappeared from a location where it had been found for many years, conservation professionals accessed climate projections to identify potential habitat for its recovery.
Science communicators have parroted fake climate “solutions” straight from the mouths of corporate public relation firms, even those that are clearly unjust and against the will of the people. They’ve ignored messages from communities who are suffering most from pollution. Although often inadvertently, scientists, with their disproportionately large megaphones, have helped to uphold existing power structures. This free textbook is an attempt to remedy this hole in science communication, providing a framework for learning about the science of the climate crisis for those who don’t accept the status quo. Climate, Justice and Energy Solutions is for visionaries, dreamers, utopian thinkers, and social justice advocates. It’s for those who can imagine not just surviving in a world without fossil fuels, but truly flourishing. The hope is that activists in a wide range of fields can use this text to help bolster their knowledge of science-based climate action when they’re building the next wave of social movements, renewable power networks, and regenerative communities.
The computer program's simulation of a Sonoran desert community should ultimately strengthen the student's comprehension of what is required for a natural ecosystem to sustain itself (remain in balance). This computer simulation program has great flexibility. It allows the student to manipulate the population numbers of five Sonoran Desert species. A species natural history attachment provides vital information for the students to familiarize themselves with each species' behaviors, its niche and food resource needs. The program includes two producers, the Saguaro cactus and the Ironwood Tree. It also includes 3 consumers, but their interactions both toward the producers and each other differ. The community's ability to remain in balance and sustain all five species so that none die out rests on the student's assessment skills enabling him to correctly identify these dependencies. The student learns by trial and error as he continues to fine tune the ecosystem that he maintains stewardship of.
Incorporating elders wisdom in the process of systematically analyzing climate impacts and vulnerabilities in nine categories of tribal life prioritizes actions to take to enhance the evolution of an ancient culture, while protecting tribal traditions.
Is the food chain shown above accurate? Does the first link depict a producer, the second link a herbivore, and the third link an omnivore / carnivore? Students must correctly determine whether a species is a producer or consumer, and what type of consumer; herbivore, omnivore, or carnivore. Students are provided with a list of Sonoran Desert species and asked to construct, within their groups, several food chains. These food chains are then be used to construct a food web. In order to complete this activity, students must first research the individual species to understand their feeding habits.
In 2015 the bees are still dying in masses. Which at first seems not very important until you realize that one third of all food humans consume would disappear with them. Millions could starve. The foes bees face are truly horrifying - some are a direct consequence of human greed. We need to help our small buzzing friends or we will face extremely unpleasant consequences. The video "The Death Of Bees Explained - Parasites, Poison and Humans" is a resource included in the Ecology topic made available from the Kurzgesagt open educational resource series.
Students are challenged to design a permanent guest village within the Saguaro National Park in Arizona. The design must provide a true desert experience to visitors while emphasizing sustainable design, protection of the natural environment, and energy and resource conservation. To successfully address and respond to this challenge, students must acquire an understanding of desert ecology, environmental limiting factors, species adaptations and resource utilization. Following theintroduction, students generate ideas and consider the knowledge required to complete the challenge. The lectures and activities that follow serve to develop this level of comprehension. To introduce the concepts of healthy ecosystems, biomimetics and the importance of sustainable environmental design, students watch three video clips of experts. These clips provide direction for student research and challenge design solutions.
This video is from the Khan Academy subject of Partner content on the topic of Crash Course and it covers Ecological Succession: Change is Good.
This first-year undergraduate open textbook covers the most salient environmental issues from both biological and social science perspectives.
The causes and consequences of global biodiversity loss and species extinctions are complex and rapidly changing across spatial and temporal scales. They have both local and global manifestations and are entangled with biological, socio-cultural, economic, and political processes. Many of these challenges demand novel approaches, including innovative research and interdisciplinary analysis. They need new skills and methods from various disciplines and expert communities, including the humanities, social sciences, and biophysical sciences. They also require rethinking who conducts research and communicates findings and how knowledge is produced at the intersection of research and higher education institutions and social change.
This book aims to respond to these challenges. Extinction Stories was co-authored by undergraduate students at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, a private research university in Worcester, Massachusetts (USA), while exploring issues of extinction, environmental conservation, and biodiversity loss. The following twenty chapters combine the final projects conducted by students in the Great Problem Seminar (GPS) Extinctions course during the Fall of 2020 and the Biodiversity course in the Spring of 2021. Both courses took place while the world was still facing the impacts of the COVID-19 Pandemic—a global crisis that, as our current sixth mass extinction, is also profoundly rooted in long-lasting processes of habitat destruction and human-induced environmental change.
This text may also be accessed at extinctionstories.pressbooks.com/.