Two Famous Sages Speak About Interdependence In Nature

 

Interdependence is a defining feature of all life on our Earth.

 

I have written about the vital importance of interdependence to all living things on our planet. But, long before I wrote about interdependence, the subject was discussed in the essays of two famous people — Charles Darwin and the Buddhist  sage Thich Nhat Hanh. The purpose of this essay is to offer the writings of these two sages about the interdependence of all things in Nature.

 

Thich Nhat Hanh offers the following in his book “The Heart of Understanding”:

 

If you are a poet, you will see clearly that there is a cloud floating in this sheet of paper. Without a cloud, there will be no rain; without rain, the trees cannot grow; and without trees, we cannot make paper. The cloud is essential for the paper to exist. If the cloud is not here, the sheet of paper cannot be here either. So we can say that the cloud and the paper inter-are. “Interbeing” is a word that is not in the dictionary yet, but if we combine the prefix “inter-” with the verb “to be,” we have a new verb, inter-be.

 

If we look into this sheet of paper even more deeply, we can see the sunshine in it. If the sunshine is not there, the forest cannot grow. In fact, nothing can grow. Even we cannot grow without sunshine. And so, we know that the sunshine is also in this sheet of paper. The paper and the sunshine inter-are. And if we continue to look, we can see the logger who cut the tree and brought it to the mill to be transformed into paper. And we see the wheat. We know the logger cannot exist without his daily bread, and therefore the wheat that became his bread is also in this sheet of paper. And the logger’s father and mother are in it too. When we look in this way, we see that without all of these things, this sheet of paper cannot exist.

 

Looking even more deeply, we can see we are in it too. This is not difficult to see, because when we look at a sheet of paper, the sheet of paper is part of our perception. Your mind is in here and mine is also. So we can say that everything is in here with this sheet of paper. You cannot point out one thing that is not here-time, space, the earth, the rain, the minerals in the soil, the sunshine, the cloud, the river, the heat. Everything co-exists with this sheet of paper. That is why I think the word inter-be should be in the dictionary. “To be” is to inter-be. You cannot just be by yourself alone. You have to inter-be with every other thing. This sheet of paper is, because everything else is.

 

Suppose we try to return one of the elements to its source. Suppose we return the sunshine to the sun. Do you think that this sheet of paper will be possible? No, without sunshine nothing can be. And if we return the logger to his mother, then we have no sheet of paper either. The fact is that this sheet of paper is made up only of “non-paper elements.” And if we return these non-paper elements to their sources, then there can be no paper at all. Without “non-paper elements,” like mind, logger, sunshine and so on, there will be no paper. As thin as this sheet of paper is, it contains everything in the universe in it.

 

Charles Darwin, in speaking about Nature’s Tangled Bank says:

It is interesting to contemplate an entangled bank, clothed with many plants of many kinds, with birds singing on the bushes, with various insects flitting about, and with worms crawling through the damp earth, and to reflect that these elaborately constructed forms, so different from each other, and dependent on each other in so complex a manner, have all been produced by laws acting around us. These laws, taken in the largest sense, being Growth with Reproduction; inheritance which is almost implied by reproduction; Variability from the indirect and direct action of the external conditions of life, and from use and disuse; a Ratio of Increase so high as to lead to a Struggle for Life, and as a consequence to Natural Selection, entailing Divergence of Character and the Extinction of less-improved forms. Thus, from the war of nature, from famine and death, the most exalted object which we are capable of conceiving, namely, the production of the higher animals, directly follows. There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.

For Your Further Consideration

 

This essay, and other essays in this web site, present ideas to environmental educators and all stewards of Nature about ecoliteracy and legacy.   The emphasis is on two key ideas:

  • Our earth is a living system that transports and transforms energy. The key to an active ecoliteracy that results in a healthy environment for all life on earth is the building of a systems view of life into the minds and hearts of humanity, This worldview includes the fact that all of Nature is interconnected and interdependent.
  • Environmental education is not simply offering facts. Environmental education must be hands-on and place-based if ideas, facts, and effective conservation strategies are to become a consciousness in the minds and hearts of our youth. Environmental education must include the the passing of this consciousness to future generation.

 

 

Please Comment

 

The purpose of this web site is to build a dialog between myself and my readers. I invite you to offer your comments, your critique, and to share your ideas with all of my readers in the comment space provided below.

 

You are strongly encouraged to become one of my 11,000+ followers on Twitter. My Twitter ID is @ballenamar .  With Twitter, in addition to receiving regular Tweets that announce my essays, you will see when I retweet something that I have read and that I think is important.

Mankind’s Worldview of Nature – A Resource List:

Online Resource List – Humanity’s Inaccurate Worldview Of Nature

 

Environmental Educators Have The Power to Change Humanity’s Inaccurate Worldview About Nature

http://www.freshvista.com/2018/environmental-educators-have-the-power-to-change-humanitys-inaccurate-worldview-about-nature/

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Is There A More Important Education? Solutions to our environmental dilemma rest in environmental education and behaviors that manifest our environmental understanding

http://trib.com/opinion/columns/keown-is-there-a-more-important-education/article_e28f3659-2a7b-5ef8-b889-b2fec4a6ddfd.html

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Stepping Back From The Brink – An astonishing new field of enquiry explores the deep changes that could avert a planetary disaster

http://www.monbiot.com/2018/01/31/stepping-back-from-the-brink/

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What Will It Take To Avoid Collapse? Fifteen thousand scientists have issued a dire warning to humanity about impending collapse but virtually no-one takes notice.

https://patternsofmeaning.com/2017/12/19/what-will-it-really-take-to-avoid-collapse/

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A new history of cultural big ideas looks to the East for solace. Our planetary predicament demands the broadest and deepest perspective to guide our actions in the middle of what would otherwise be an enervating horror show.

https://www.newscientist.com/article/2131994-a-new-history-of-cultural-big-ideas-looks-to-the-east-for-solace/

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Our values will decide our destiny. Each unique culture shapes its values, and those values shape history. By the same token, the predominant values of our civilization are what will shape the future.

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/our-values-will-decide-our-destiny_us_595fea6be4b085e766b5129e

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A House on Shaky Ground: Eight Structural Flaws of the Western Worldview

http://www.tikkun.org/nextgen/a-house-on-shaky-ground-eight-structural-flaws-of-the-western-worldview

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What Does China’s Ecological Civilization Mean For Humanity’s Future?

https://www.commondreams.org/views/2018/02/10/what-does-chinas-ecological-civilization-mean-humanitys-future

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Why Do I Write These Essays?

Nothing in Nature exists in isolation. The movement of life’s energy, which originates in the sun, takes place because everything is interconnected and interdependent. Your consciousness of interdependence in Nature means that, every time you engage Nature, you ask yourself how a creature, a plant, yourself, or a natural object is connected to another and to Nature’s greater scheme of things. With this awareness you are prepared to protect Nature’s environment that sustains you. And, you create your legacy by encouraging others to do likewise.

 

If, after reading my essays, you find yourself embracing these ideas, I am thrilled in knowing that I’ve played some small part in setting this world view in motion in your mind.

 

Please Comment and Subscribe

I invite you to subscribe to my newsletter using the sign-up form provided at the upper right corner of this web page. As a subscriber you will receive regular email announcements of new essays that I publish or popular essays that i have previously published. In these essays you will have the opportunity to share comments and ideas about a topic. Your security is important to me. Please know that your email address is never distributed to anyone.

 

You are strongly encouraged to become one of my 11,000+ followers on Twitter. My Twitter ID is @ballenamar . With Twitter, in addition to receiving daily Tweets that announce my essays, you will see when I retweet something that I read and that I think is important.

 

My Musings – Ecological Succession

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Wikipedia. Ecological succession is the process of change in the species structure of an ecological community over time. The time scale can be decades (for example, after a wildfire), or even millions of years after a mass extinction.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ecological_succession

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Ecological Succession notes from Penn State University. Within any community some species may become less abundant over some time interval, or they may even vanish from the ecosystem altogether. Similarly, over some time interval, other species within the community may become more abundant, or new species may even invade into the community from adjacent ecosystems. This observed change over time in what is living in a particular ecosystem is “ecological succession”.

http://www.psu.edu/dept/nkbiology/naturetrail/succession.htm

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Succession: A Closer Look:  What do volcanoes, glaciers, sand dunes, storms, agriculture, and fire have in common? They all initiate the process of succession in communities.

https://www.nature.com/scitable/knowledge/library/succession-a-closer-look-13256638

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From Khan Academy : Communities are dynamic and change over time, and we can observe this process with particular clarity after a disturbance or on new land. Learn about  primary and secondary succession, as well as pioneer species. Created by Sal Khan.

https://www.khanacademy.org/science/biology/ecology/community-structure-and-diversity/v/ecological-succession

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The Difference Between Primary and Secondary Succession

http://www.differencebetween.net/science/difference-between-primary-and-secondary-succession/

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Ecological Succession In The Desert

http://education.seattlepi.com/ecological-succession-desert-5078.html

In deserts, primary succession could occur on a sand dune or a fresh lava flow. Bacteria or seeds of colonizing species find a foothold where a microclimate offers a pocket of increased moisture and protection. These original colonizers form biofilms and put down roots that stabilize the upper layer of soil and break down rocks. The improved soil can hold more moisture and support other plants, which crowd out the original colonizers. Eventually the ecosystem may be able to support grasses and finally woody shrubs, if there is enough water.

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Prairie Ecological Succession

http://urbanecologycenter.org/blog/plant-community-highlight-prairie-ecological-succession.html

A secondary prairie succession study that was done in two different locations in Juneau and Dunn Counties with the same sandy habitat located near the contact zone of prairie and northern pine-hardwood forest.

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How Can Ecological Succession Change A Population ?

https://socratic.org/questions/how-can-ecological-succession-change-a-population

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Human Ecology – Basic Concepts for Sustainable Development

http://www.gerrymarten.com/human-ecology/chapter06.html#p1

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Ecological Succession : A Teaching Resource

https://www.texasgateway.org/resource/ecological-succession

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My Musings On 24 November 2017

Here are my recent musings on Nature’s Web of Life. They are a combination of new material and some of my favorite resources.

If you find any of the articles interesting, I hope that you will offer your comments at the end of the list.

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Moose moms abandon research calves, threatening Minnesota study

http://www.twincities.com/localnews/ci_25908863/moose-moms-abandon-research-calves-threatening-minnesota-study?source=email

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Despite persistent outrage from the public, the U.S. government killed 2.7 million wild animals in 2016 – and almost 1.6 million were native wildlife, according to data released this week. That’s roughly five animals every minute.

https://www.thedodo.com/wildlife-services-animals-killed-2016-2314386141.html

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How Environmentalists and Skeptics Misrepresent the Science on Polar Bears

http://bit.ly/Sw6lmH

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Five ways that industrial agriculture is killing the environment

http://www.onegreenplanet.org/animalsandnature/factory-farming-is-killing-the-environment/?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter

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Do hunters know best?

It has become the mantra of the hunting industry:  hunter, presumably because they spend time in the field hunting something to kill, know more about how nature and wildlife work than non-hunters.  They chide non-hunters, city slickers, tree huggers, who they say have an unrealistic, “Bambi” understanding of nature, one where bunnies cavort with foxes, in a Disneyland atmosphere.  It is because of this “vast” knowledge that hunters smugly contend that they have the inside track on what is best for wildlife, conveniently this means hunting them!  And so, what they say goes.

http://coyotes-wolves-cougars.blogspot.mx/2014/03/our-friend-john-laundre-giving-further.html

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An excellent video on complex systems

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g5evD6AQeCQ

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Awesome Abandoned Places Around the World Occupied by Animals

http://www.onegreenplanet.org/news/awesome-abandoned-places-around-the-world-occupied-by-animals/

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Confirming What We Already Know: Human Health Is Linked To Nature

http://www.ecosystemmarketplace.com/pages/dynamic/article.page.php?page_id=10682&section=news_articles&eod=1

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We are all made from stardust. Toward a new periodic table of elements.

http://www.thegreatstory.org/Stardustbackground.html

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Scaling: The surprising mathematics of life and civilization

https://medium.com/sfi-30-foundations-frontiers/scaling-the-surprising-mathematics-of-life-and-civilization-49ee18640a8

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The Carnivore Way: All Who Wander Are Not Lost

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/cristina-eisenberg/the-carnivore-way-all-who_b_6285376.html

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Man’s conscious communication with the natural world – and the incredible response.

https://mapmakermike.wordpress.com/2014/12/12/mans-conscious-communication-with-the-natural-world-and-the-incredible-response/

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My Musings As Of 10 November 2017

Here are my recent musings on Nature’s Web of Life. They are a combination of new material and some of my favorite resources.

If you find any of the articles interesting, I hope that you will offer your comments at the end of the list.

 

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Whether you believe that climate change is caused by mankind or by other means, this EPA web page is a wonderfully concise description of the impact that climate change has on ecosystems.

http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/impacts-adaptation/ecosystems.html

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Which method of raising cows is the most climate-friendly?

http://grist.org/news/which-method-of-raising-cows-is-the-most-climate-friendly/

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Do Killer Grizzlies Deserve Death?

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/08/22/do-killer-grizzlies-deserve-to-die.html

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What It Takes to Kill a Grizzly Bear

Yellowstone grizzly bears face the two greatest threats to their survival in our lifetime: global warming and the U.S. government. Between them they could wipe the bears out. A great article by Doug Peacock.

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/11/23/what-it-takes-to-kill-a-grizzly-bear.html

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Why we should eat crickets instead of cows

http://www.mnn.com/food/healthy-eating/blogs/why-we-should-eat-crickets-instead-cows#ixzz3kzM4IWN6

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Research from the National Science Foundation reveals that the Yellowstone ecosystem needs beavers as well as wolves and elk. Restoring the wolf population isn’t enough to reverse the extensive changes caused by their long absence. Everything is interconnected and all of the connections need to be restored. An understanding of how species interactions cascade through food webs is essential if we are to restore ecosystem resilience. Take a look at these two URLs

http://nsf.gov/discoveries/disc_summ.jsp?cntn_id=126853&org=NSF

Images at:  http://nsf.gov/discoveries/disc_images.jsp?cntn_id=126853&org=NSF

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Poachers kill more game animals than wolves

http://magicvalley.com/news/local/poachers-kill-more-game-animals-than-wolves-north-idaho-officials/article_fe659de6-c71a-11e3-bbde-001a4bcf887a.html

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Wolves will kill for more space.  A new study involving Logan’s Utah State University and University of Oxford found wolves will fight to the death to protect their turf if they lack adequate space to raise their pups. This study produced a generally novel result because the conventional thinking is that large carnivores are limited by the abundance of prey in a given area. But what these wolves are ultimately limited by is the amount of space they have to raise their pups in safety.

–Dan MacNulty, USU ecologist

Wolves killing wolves is their No. 1 cause of death in Yellowstone and MacNulty said the research showed that adult survival rates dropped below 70 percent if there were greater than 65 wolves per 1,000 square kilometers. These key observations in wolf infanticide may provide helpful lessons for management of wolf populations because of the insights they deliver, he said.

“For those concerned about wolf populations, even when you have super abundant prey like in Yellowstone, there are limits to wolf population growth. There is an intrinsic limit to the number of wolves that occupy a given space,” MacNulty said, adding that because rival packs will attack and kill rival wolf pups, their numbers are self-limiting.

http://www.ksl.com/?nid=148&sid=29873051#IqYOmE2qOFDxQjsQ.03

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How to protect an American wildlife legacy. A new paper shows that while science plays a critical role in informing conservation action, scientists must move beyond the realm of their expertise into less familiar areas like public relations, education, and even politics, to ultimately meet America’s conservation goals.

Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2014-06-american-wildlife-legacy.html#jCp

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My Musings For October 27, 2017

 

Here are my recent musings on Nature’s Web of Life. They are a combination of new material and some of my favorite resources.

If you find any of the articles interesting, I hope that you will offer your comments at the end of the list.

 

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Visual explorations of the relationship of patterns in flowers and their relationship to other forms seen in the physical and natural world.

Patterns In Nature video #1

Patterns In Nature video #2

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Steven Strogatz’s great TED.COM talk on Synchrony

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Symmetry in nature.

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Wildlife is thriving around Chernobyl since the people left

http://bit.ly/1WKxjn1

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Whale Song Patterns Explained. Humpbacks synchronize their music across oceans. A fascinating look at a famous pattern in Nature.

http://bit.ly/1WKyxyG

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Ten Words That Technology Borrowed from Nature. By examining these words, we look at Nature with greater depth

http://bit.ly/1LvxbGl

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How to log a forest without hurting the birds

http://bit.ly/1FS1EMv

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Honeybees Face Global Threat: If They Die, So Do We

http://bit.ly/1LhZQfP

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Is Nature Random? There Are Secret Patterns Everywhere.

http://bit.ly/1OmAv5n

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What cyclists can learn from fish schools.

http://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/what-cyclists-can-learn-schools-fish-180956826/?utm_source=facebook.com&no-ist

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Evidence that Earth’s first mass extinction was caused by critters not catastrophe

http://esciencenews.com/articles/2015/09/02/evidence.earths.first.mass.extinction.was.caused.critters.not.catastrophe?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+eScienceNews%2Fpopular+%28e%21+Science+News+-+Popular%29

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My Musings On 13 October 2017

Here are my recent musings on Nature’s Web of Life. They are a combination of new material and some of my favorite resources.

If you find any of the articles interesting, I hope that you will offer your comments at the end of the list.

 

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What kind of person trophy hunts??? An interesting article about the kind of person who kills animals for their own pleasure and ego satisfaction.

https://www.thedodo.com/which-people-trophy-hunt-1305964755.html

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DIRT! The Movie takes you inside the wonders of the soil. It tells the story of Earth’s most valuable and underappreciated source of fertility–from its miraculous beginning to its crippling degradation.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lvrww8iMl-A

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Mesmerizing examples of animal and human collective behavior.

http://bit.ly/1R5CJW8

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Scientist Elizabeth Hadly has been studying biodiversity in Yellowstone National Park for 30 years. Accompanied by biologist Sean Carroll, she demonstrates different ways in which climate change is impacting the park’s ecosystems. Bark beetles are surviving the winter at higher elevations and killing a large number of white-bark pine trees, disrupting the food web that includes squirrels and grizzly bears. Climate change is also causing ponds to dry up, reducing the pond habitat and decimating the local amphibian population. Although the park provides protected environments for animals, it is not immune from global threats like climate change.

http://www.hhmi.org/biointeractive/liz-hadly-tracks-impact-climate-change-yellowstone

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How Humans Save Nature. A different perspective. What do you think?

http://bit.ly/1GcnJFf

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Seagrass: unsung ecological hero, potential economic powerhouse

http://ab.co/1MvFcvi

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Earth is less fertile without the poo of large predators

Whales alone once moved 750 million pounds of phosphorus from the ocean depths to the surface.

http://bit.ly/1NOO1xD

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Here is a story of how wolves can change rivers. It illustrates beautifully how one input into a living ecosystem can alter all other elements involved. This is very similar to how systemic constellations work, where a fresh input into a human system can create a renewed balance for all members who belong.

http://www.thecsc.net/the-intricate-connections-in-nature/

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An idea from Neo-Confucian spirituality that could help us define Nature. A great blog on the “Li”  —  organizing principles in Nature .

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A great video on complexity in Nature

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1biuNl90380

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My Musings for 23 April 2017

Here are my recent musings on Nature’s Web of Life.

This series of blog posts contains sources for my musings, my research, and my preparation for my student seminars. I am happy to share with you.  If you find any of the articles interesting, I hope that you will offer your comments at the end of the list.

I am focusing this list of musings on trophic cascades and food webs which form the basis for energy flow within Nature. These references are being used to produce an essay on Nature’s energy flow.

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What are some good examples of trophic cascades like the wolves of Yellowstone?

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Trophic cascade basics

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A Wolf’s Role in the Ecosystem – The Trophic Cascade

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Killer Whales Are Causing A Trophic Cascade

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How Sea Otters Help Save The Planet

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Ecosystem Effects by Removing Sharks & Trophic Cascades

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Trophic Cascades In A Formerly Cod-Dominated Ecosystem

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Trophic levels of food chains

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What Are the Trophic Levels in Our Ecosystem?

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Food chains and food webs

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My Latest Musings on 31 March 2017

Here are my recent musings on Nature’s Web of Life.

 

This series of blog posts contains sources for my musings, my research, and my preparation for my student seminars. I am happy to share with you.  If you find any of the articles interesting, I hope that you will offer your comments at the end of the list.

 

I am focusing this list of musings on human morality and its impact on the environment. This is also known also as Ecological Morality.

 

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Principles of an Ecological Morality: Integrating Values and Ethics for Natural and Human Systems

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Understanding Aldo Leopold’s Land Ethic

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Why Edward Abbey Still Matters

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A Dilema in Moral Ecology: The Monster Border Wall – What Would Edward Abbey Do ?

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Donald Trump and the decline of America’s moral character

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Moral ecology and climate change

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Pope Francis’s Vision of a Moral Ecology Will Challenge Both Republicans and Democrats

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Environmental Ethics from Wikipedia

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Shepherds of Creation: Moral Ecology in a Technocratic Age

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Deep Ecology & Virtue Ethics

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Environmental Ethics

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The Ecological Crisis: A Moral Problem

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My musings – The ecological impact of Trump’s border wall

Here are my recent musings on Nature’s Web of Life.

This series of blog posts contains sources for my musings, my research, and my preparation for my student seminars. I am happy to share with you.  If you find any of the articles interesting, I hope that you will offer your comments at the end of the list.

This list of musings concerns the ecological impact of the border wall between Mexico and the United States

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Highly recommended!!! A new collaborative virtual story map that that helps communicate the nuances and realities of the borderlands.

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Wild Versus Wall. A video produced for the Sierra Club. The video concerns the ecological effects of new enforcement infrastructure on the U.S./Mexico border.

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What would Trump’s wall mean for wildlife?

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Scientific American report. Building a border wall is an act of self-sabotage,

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NPR report – The Environmental Consequences Of A Wall On The U.S.-Mexico Border

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Newsweek – THE ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT OF THE U.S.-MEXICO BORDER WALL

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Splitting the Land in Two: Ecological Effects of Border Militarization

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Washington Post –  Border walls are bad for wildlife

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KCET – Trump’s border wall would be a disaster for wildlife

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University of Texas law school briefing document on the impact of a border wall. Excellent analysis

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