modelEcological Problems

"The sensible way to do that is by taking relatively low cost steps to reduce the risk of highly unpleasant outcomes--in the same spirit we buy insurance."

Jessica Tuchman Mathews, (¶ 8, p. 12, in Walker)

All problem solving involves a disparity.

Because human beings are ecological actors and embedded in an ecosystem we are influenced by and influence ecological problems. The disparity arises from the fact that we often want more than a natural ecosystem is capable of providing for our communities.

But there is also an inherent complexity in any ecological problem because it involves social animals interacting with one another in a dynamic environmental context.


An environmental context means that an ecosystem is the unit we examine to understand the scope, size, frequency and intensity of an ecological problem.

Three facets

three aspects of any ecological problem

All ecological problems, according to experts have three facets or aspects

            1. social, involving animals and people,
            2. biological, involving animate biotic community &,
            3. physical, the inorganic conditions of existence.


The ecosystem is characterized by predictable rules or laws.

What is or characterizes an environmental problem ?

From class responses, the qualities of any ecological problem are its:

From an expert knowledge perspective:

      1. complex, case study
      2. amount
      3. timing
      4. distribution
      5. accounting for the affects

Some sources on ecological problems

Accounting for natural or ecological assets

Measure, the veracity of statements is tested by these criteria

Criteria, defining

Critical thinking described

Bio dynamic aspects of ecology.

Ehrlich, The Dominant Animal

From Miller Text:

Is our present course sustainable? No, not unless we shift society, economics and policies to cherish and nourish the planet.

From Melissa Walker:National Academy of the Sciences 1990s report …from (Wm. Booth, ¶ 21, p. 15, in Walker) to "the prospects of humanity immeasurably diminished."(H. Sayen: ¶ 24, p. 33 in Walker)

End of Nature, Bill McKibben

Game theory, here is the place to consider the bio-game

Mercury and ecological accounting in natural systems

matrix is a site that explains what a table or matrix is by demonstrating the use of a categorical framework within which to express your ideas comprehensively.

Carolyn Merchant's idea of ecological revolutions as they impact and are influenced by a set of biological, economic, social, political and institutional relationships.



A problem, is the perceived difference between an existing and a desired state or condition

purveyor, one who offers a service or merchandise in exchange for a fee.