Assessing Human Ecology
Human populations, like all animal and plant populations, require and consume resources while also producing waste. Despite how closely attuned many of us are with our local communities, few of us truly understand where our resources come from and where our waste goes. In other words, we do not have a good understanding of human ecology.
Understanding our ecology is important so that we realize the capacity of the natural environment in our bioregion and design ways of living that maximize a region’s natural gifts and respect of its limits. The consequences of not understanding the impact that our human communities have on the surrounding biological community cause pollution, biodiversity loss and depletion of natural resources. To assess your own ecological awareness as it relates to your life, see if you can answer the following questions.
1. What body of water serves as your source of tap water?
2. What are the main agricultural crops that are produced in your area?
3. How is your electricity generated?
4. Where does your garbage go after you take out the trash?
5. What happens to the waste in your toilet once it’s flushed?
Could you answer one or more of these important questions? For the ones that remain a mystery, seek out the answers using local resources to help you learn more. Most often, workers at local utility companies and water treatment companies are more than happy to explain how their operations work.