Reflective writing records the development of your insights and ideas. It focuses on a specific new understanding and its application to future practice.
For this assessment, you are required to complete your ecological footprint and reflect on the impact of your ecological footprint. You will find the ecological footprint calculator at:
In this assessment task, you must demonstrate your understanding of the chosen themes, and that you have considered the implications of these at a personal level. Providing examples and linking to the literature on sustainability will highlight critical thinking while planning to improve your footprint and highlighting that through actions demonstrates innovation and creativity.
History and Development of Ecology
The history of ecological knowledge has many centuries. Already primitive people needed to have a certain knowledge about plants and animals, their way of life, relationships with each other and with the environment. Within the general development of natural sciences, the accumulation of knowledge now belonging to the field of environmental science took place.
As an independent disciplined discipline, ecology emerged in the 19th century (Borland, et al,2016).. the formation of a systematic approach and the development of the biosphere theory, which is a vast field of knowledge, including a multitude of scientific directions of both the natural and humanitarian cycles, including the general ecology, have caused the spread of ecosystem views in the environment. The main object for studying in ecology is the ecosystem. An ecosystem is a collection of living organisms interacting with each other and with their environment through the exchange of matter, energy and information in such a way that this unified system remains stable for a long time.
The ever-increasing human impact on the environment required again to expand the boundaries of environmental knowledge (Fath, 2015). Scientific and technological progress has entailed a number of problems that have received the status of global, thus, in the field of ecology, the issues of comparative analysis of natural and man-made systems and the search for ways of their harmonious coexistence and development have clearly emerged.
Any organism in nature is affected by the most diverse components of the environment. Any properties or components of the environment that affect organisms are called environmental factors (Fritz & Koch, 2014)..
Classification of environmental factors. Factors of the environment (environmental factors) are diverse, have a different nature and specificity of the action. The following groups of environmental factors stand out (Gast, et al,2017).:
- Abiotic (factors of inanimate nature):
- a) climatic conditions - conditions of illumination, temperature regime, etc .;
- b) edaphic (local) - water supply, soil type, terrain;
- c) orographic - air (wind) and water currents.
Types of environmental factors affecting organisms. Environmental factors have different kinds of impact on living organisms. They can be:
Due to the extreme variety of environmental factors, different kinds of organisms, experiencing their influence, respond to it in different ways, nevertheless, it is possible to identify a number of general laws (regularities) of the action of environmental factors. The regularities of the action of environmental factors on living organisms.
All organisms are potentially capable of unlimited reproduction and dispersal: even species that lead an attached way of life have at least one phase of development, on which they are capable of active or passive spreading. But at the same time the species composition of organisms living in different climatic zones is not mixed: for each of them, a certain set of species of animals, plants, and fungi is inherent (García-Llorente, et al, 2016). This is due to the limitation of excessive reproduction and dispersal of organisms by certain geographical barriers (seas, mountain ranges, deserts, etc.), climatic factors (temperature, humidity, etc.), and also by interrelations between individual species. Depending on the nature and characteristics of the action, environmental factors are divided into abiotic, biotic and anthropogenic (anthropic) factors. Most of them have a variable intensity (temperature, humidity, etc.).
Types of Environmental Factors
The degree of variability of each of the environmental factors depends on the characteristics of the habitat of organisms. For example, the temperature on the surface of the soil can vary significantly depending on the season or day, weather, etc., whereas in water bodies at depths of more than several meters, there are almost no temperature differences (Leslie,et al,(2015). The changes in environmental factors can be: - Periodic, in depending on the time of the day, the time of the year, the position of the moon relative to the Earth, etc. - non-periodic, for example, volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, hurricanes, etc. - directed over significant historical time intervals, living organisms are constantly adapting to the full range of environmental factors, that is, to the environment, regulating the life processes in accordance with the changes in these factors. The habitat is a set of conditions in which certain individuals, populations, groups of organisms live.
The regularities of the influence of environmental factors on living organisms. Despite the fact that environmental factors are very diverse and different in nature, they note some patterns of their influence on living organisms, as well as the reactions of organisms to the action of these factors.
The value of the intensity of the environmental factor, by which the existence of organisms becomes impossible, is called the upper and lower endurance limits (critical points of maximum and minimum). The distance between the limits of endurance determines the ecological valence of a certain species with respect to a particular factor (Selomane, et al,2015). Therefore, ecological valence is a range of intensity of the environmental factor impact in which a certain species can exist. For example, in dry, windless weather, it is easier to withstand low temperatures.
So, the optimum and the limits of endurance of organisms in relation to any factor of the environment can shift in a certain direction depending on the strength and combination of other factors (the phenomenon of interaction of environmental factors). But the compensation of vital environmental factors has definite limits and neither one can not be replaced by another: if the intensity of action of at least one factor goes beyond the limits of endurance, the existence of the species becomes impossible, despite the optimal intensity the action of others.
Internal factors affecting stability: the number of employees, the level of their competence and discipline; size and nature of the object, products; characteristics of buildings and structures; features of production, applied technologies and materials, substances; the need for basic types of energy carriers and water, the availability of their thermal power plants (boilers); number and total capacity of transformers, gas distribution stations (points) and sewerage system (Leslie,et al,2015)..
Impact of Environmental Factors on Living Organisms
Based on the analysis of all factors affecting the stability of the functioning, a conclusion is made about the possibility of an emergency situation and its impact on the vital activity of the facility.
The basis for assessing the impact on life is the assessment of the stability of the object, i.e. its ability to function in an emergency.
The assessment of sustainability is, as a rule, carried out in the following main areas:
- the probability of occurrence of an emergency situation at or near the facility and how this will affect its livelihoods;
In determining the probability of occurrence of emergencies at the facility and near it, many factors, their nature and duration, the forecast of possible damage to production, buildings, structures, equipment, impact on people, possible losses, the general impact of an emergency on the functioning of the facility are taken into account (Málovics, et al, 2008).
The number of structures that can be used for shelter and their protective properties. Their total capacity is subject to possible re-consolidation. The maximum number of employees that need to be hidden. The ability to quickly get people out of shops and other workplaces in the event of an accident at the facility or a neighboring enterprise, and also at the signal. Coefficients of attenuation of radiation by various buildings and structures in which workers will be located (Mononen,et al,2016).
The problems of environmental safety and sustainability in modern conditions are global, due to the lack of long-term attention to the ecological foundations of human life and the lives of other biological creatures. To solve this problem, economists seek to formulate their environmental policies, ensure planned regulatory use natural resources and adjust this financial security for the reproduction of the consumed biological mass.
Environmental sustainability is a rather complicated category, but a significant part of scientists under environmental sustainability is suggested to understand the ability of the ecological system to maintain its properties and parameters of regimes under conditions of internal and external disturbances. Often, environmental sustainability is seen as synonymous with stability. Environmental sustainability is a system of activities and plans related to the interaction of society and nature. The tasks of preserving the quality of the environment, the nature and degree of anthropogenic pressure, as well as local resources, opportunities and limitations are different for almost all organizations (Mohrman, et al,2017). .
Organizational environmental policy is a set of basic principles, intentions and commitments of the organization, creating the basis for environmentally sound socio-economic development of the territory, improving management decisions in the field of nature management and ensuring the fulfillment of Russia's international obligations in preserving trans boundary and other ecologically significant natural complexes.
The basis for the formation of organizational environmental policy is the understanding of the environmental situation that has been objectively formed at the moment in a particular organization, and the inertial tendencies of its development. For such an understanding, an analysis of the structure of the organizational economy is needed in the course of which the main causes of environmental insecurity in the organization, degree, prevalence are identified and ranked. On the basis of the results obtained, it becomes more obvious how to eliminate or neutralize these causes.
It is extremely important to develop a concept, a system of strategic goals, objectives, principles and mechanisms for environmental management in the organization.
The formation of an organizational environmental policy is based on the following main provisions:
- The existence of a strategy for social and economic development of the organization;
- Assessment of the current state of the environment;
- taking into account the results of the integrated environmental assessment in the development of the anthropogenic infrastructure of the territory;
- rationing of anthropogenic impact on the environment taking into account its stability;
- Introduction of methods for economic analysis of the consequences of anthropogenic impact on the environment;
- Regular monitoring of parameters of impact of techno sphere objects on environmental components and quality parameters of environmental components;
- Creation of a favorable social and ecological habitat for the population;
- ensuring the sustainability of the biosphere through the conservation and restoration of biodiversity, the surrounding animal and plant worlds;
The main tasks of the organizational policy in the field of environmental safety (sustainability) are to consider the following:
- The subordination of activities on rational nature management and environmental protection to social and environmental priorities that contribute to the balanced development of organizational systems "nature-economy-population";
- Reduction of resource, water and energy intensity of enterprises due to their technological re-equipment and territorial organization of the economy on the basis of the design of energy production cycles;
Improving the environmental education and culture of the administrative apparatus and the population of all organizations. In developing, substantiating and implementing the conceptual framework for organizational industrial environmental policy, it is proposed to adhere to the following principles. This is a negative-from the co-ordination of actions of all nature-polluted at the level of pollution in the organization on a compromise basis; and public health (Shackleton, et al, 2015). Thus, prevention of negative naturalness and decision-making in the field of man-made phenomena and their impact on organizational industrial environmental health and well-being of the population; It is logical to assign policy to the organizational - permanent monitoring for the natural authorities. However, at the present time there are substantial and economic processes. The adaptations of organisms to environmental conditions are called adaptations. Any environmental factor has only certain limits of positive influence on organisms (law optimum). The limits of the intensity of the action of the factor, according to which the existence of organisms becomes impossible, are called the upper and lower endurance limits (Shackleton,et al,2015). The optimum and limits of endurance of organisms in relation to any factor of the environment may vary in a certain direction, depending on the intensity and combination other environmental factors (the phenomenon of interaction of environmental factors). But their mutual compensation is limited: no vital factor can be replaced by others. An environmental factor that goes beyond endurance is called restrictive, it determines the range of a certain species.
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