Humans have always shown remarkable skill, innovation and ingenuity when faced by environmental hurdles. Instead of competing with or opposing the environment, they cooperate with it by resorting to 'ecological engineering', Ecos, co-evolution and the ecological paradigm. This article briefly discusses these key issues that can reshape this world.
The term "ecological engineering", was first coined by Howard T. Odum in 1962. He is now Professor Emeritus at the University of Florida, where his work in systems ecology has flourished.
Ecological engineering, he wrote, is "those cases where the energy supplied by man is small relative to the natural sources but sufficient to produce large effects in the resulting patterns and processes". (H.T. Odum, 1962, "Man and Ecosystem" Proceedings, Lockwood conference on the Suburban Forest and Ecology. Bulletin Connecticut Agric. Station)
Another definition that relates to ecosystem management by human society (Centre for Wetlands, University of Florida) is: "Ecological engineering is the design of sustainable ecosystems that integrate human society with its natural environment for the benefit of both.
It involves the design, construction and management of ecosystems that have value to both humans and the environment. Ecological engineering combines basic and applied science from engineering, ecology, economics and natural sciences for the restoration and construction of aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems. The field is increasing in breadth and depth as more opportunities to design and use ecosystems as interfaces between technology and environment are explored."
Another definition seeks to use the ecological paradigm to construct ecologies to solve vexatious global problems, such as pollution.
It is predicated on the belief that the self-organising order found in the stable ecosystems is so universal that it can be applied as an engineering discipline to solve the pressing problems of global pollution, food production and efficient resource-utilisation, while providing a high...