Ecoliteracy and Sustainable Life

Presently our life is in peril because the majority of people do not know what is important when it comes to life and nature. We think that we exist independently from the natural world and its ecosystems. We need ecological literacy. Ecological literacy should be compulsory to the learning institutions, from primary schools to secondary schools, and higher learning institutions. Ecoliteracy.

Ecological literacy 

Ecological Literacy is an ability to understand the basic principles of ecology and to live accordingly.

Earth's ecosystems have evolved certain principles of organization to sustain the web of life. Knowledge of these principles of organization, or principles of ecology, is what we mean by "ecological literacy."

Our life depends on two major forms of ecosystems:
  • Terrestrial ecosystems are found on land masses and cover roughly 28% of Earth's surface. Examples of terrestrial ecosystems include desert, tundra, rainforest, and alpine regions.
  • Aquatic ecosystems are found within a watery environment (aquatic environment) and cover more than 70% of the Earth's surface. Examples of aquatic ecosystems comprise lakes, ponds, bogs, rivers, estuaries, and the open ocean.

Think of life in the ecosystems. The systems in which their existence is life interdependence. Knowing the way ecosystems work is nowadays of great importance.

A community of living organisms such as animals, plants, and microorganisms, including their living environment is called an ecosystem.

For example, a pond as a habitat of living individuals in the ecosystem may consist of aquatic plants, microorganisms in the mud at the bottom, fish in the water, and a kingfisher or a fish eagle on the bank.

One Principle should be maintained not to affect the entire system; Not to change the ecosystem. When a disease for example, suddenly erupts and kills out the plants in a pond it might affect the fish and the kingfisher because they have less food to eat.

Components of an ecosystem:

The biotope (abiotic): a particular physical environment with specific physical aspects such as the climate, temperature, humidity, concentration of nutrients, or pH.

The biocenosis (biotic): a set of living organisms such as animals, plants, or micro-organisms, that are in constant interchange and are, therefore, in a situation of interdependence.

The fundamental facts about the ecosystems are: 

From traditional knowledge to modern knowledge and awareness, there are overlapping ideas between traditionalists and modernists ideas which are bitter facts to deal with. Because they unveil a factual sense of irresponsibility to our actions on the environment regarding the use of natural resources in most of the world's rainforests, famously known as lungs of the Earth.

Traditional communities in Asia, America, and Africa have been the true keepers of the natural environment in the rainforests for thousands of years. From the hill tribes (Thailand), Aboriginals in Indonesia, Malaysia, and Australia as well as natives in Borneo and Tasmania forests and so on. Also, indigenous communities in the Amazon forests such as the Yanomami and Kayapo have been living in the Amazon for thousands of years, slowly gathered detailed knowledge of the rainforest, and were able to sustain from it.

However natives have to share the forests with a fast-growing number of settlers and investors who search to knock into the Congo, Borneo, Tasmania, and Amazon's considerable natural resources, indigenous communities are not victims of climatic change, but they're a solution to sustainability if only the world listens to learn from them.

Traditional ideas can be of great help to obtain sustainable development. The ideas are highly linked to cultural and biological diversity. Therefore creating a crucial foundation for saving and sustainably using the global biodiversity, should include indigenous cultures and their methods of which enable them to mutually coexist with nature.

The traditional and indigenous practices are well known and they are being practiced among the local communities. This helps to better cope with current global challenges. Using indigenous people's environmental knowledge can shape global knowledge, hence abiding by the local conditions. 

The activities practiced by the ethnic people are designed to serve community needs. The knowledge is farmer-friendly, socially accepted, and environmentally sound suited to local conditions. For example, Maasai people in East Africa are well known for their ability to co-exist with the wildlife for thousands of years. However, climatic change has a huge negative impact on indigenous communities.

Moreover, indigenous people have been doing better when compared to modern management of land and the natural environment. Planting local species of plants, native and specific to particular environmental conditions is of great success. The traditional practices such as terracing, crop rotation, soil fertility management, and so on.

Nevertheless, an ecosystem can maintain its overall stability by three major processes: 
  1. Running the rate of energy flow through the system by controlling the rate of element cycling within the system.
  2. Keeping up a diversity of species and food webs.
  3. The ecosystem is capable of self-restoration and self-adjusting. 

Principles of organization of ecological communities and supporting biodiversity.

  • Keeping species safe and species subdivisions can save and improve biodiversity.
  • Continuing conserving habitat helps to fundamentally save species.
  • Major areas normally contain more species than minor areas with the same habitat.
  • There is a connectedness in everything, yet the nature and power of the connection vary.
  • Disruptions shape the features and behavior of populations, communities, and ecosystems.
  • Climate crisis will sway all forms of ecosystems highly. 

Creating sustainable human communities. 

In the 1980s, the idea of sustainable development appeared to be a solution with favor to the itchy trouble of meeting the material needs of the nowadays civilization, at the same time trying to conserve the quality of the environment. This is recommended to avoid overstraining economic growth against environmental protection.

  • Sticking with the development that meets the needs of the present without affecting the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.
  • Proponents of sustainable development agree that the use of resources in the present should not result in a decreasing standard of living for future generations. Continued growth, even if planned with ecological considerations in mind, dismisses the increasing proof indicating that the economic demands we have placed on the environment now surpass what the ecosystem can sustain.
  • Promoting the sustenance of existing and future resources rather than continued growth. Here, efforts are focused on reducing our impact on the environment and use of natural resources while simultaneously meeting the material needs of people.
  • The Resource Maintenance Approach requires the major rethinking of our relationship to the environment, consumption patterns, and standards of living.
  • An acknowledgment of the true value of the natural environment and all life forms; satisfaction of essential needs rather than desires; stopping overconsumption and reducing of personal property; and, the use of simple and friendly technology whenever possible.
  •  Adopting more visionary eco-tourism as progressive-educational travel, which keeps the environment natural and safe, therefore benefiting the locals.

In conclusion, sustainable development should be inclusive in the sense it incorporates all the stakeholders. With eco-literacy and indigenous knowledge of the natural environment, we can make a big change in every aspect of the global crisis related to environmental problems.


Lester R. Brown, Plan B—Rescuing a Planet under Stress and a Civilization in Trouble
January 2008

Rees, E. W. (1995). Achieving Sustainability: Reform or Transformation?

Etchart, L. The role of indigenous peoples in combating climate change. Palgrave Commun 3, 17085 (2017).

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Thank you for reading!

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