Models & Schemas

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WEAL acronym



LEARNING about how nature and people alter one another involves a model and a schema.

WEAL schematic | dynamic environs

Models are a means to organize numerous details.

The model's details are derived from the primary documents that represent many ways that people, throughout history adjusted to and adapted the ecological conditions of any past place's conditions to meet their social, economic and spiritual needs.

Merchant uses this model to convey the central dependence of economic relations and reproductive success on the ecological core.

Above is an example of author Carolyn Merchant's conceptual diagram of ecological relations that best enable us to understand the reciprocal influence of an environment and its inhabitants.

page 25,

Major Problems in American Environmental History,1994, Houghton-Mifflin Company


For the purposes of class discussion, the
ecological core can be simplified to include the inorganic, or non-living habitat and the organic or biological community of bacteria, fungus, plants and animals.
WEAL meaning
Water: necessary for settlement.
Energy: essential fuels to survive, cook and make tools.
Atmosphere: air free from contaminants or disease.
Land: including the soil, contours, slope and nutrients of a place.
My view is that an ecological core means that society is tied to inorganic relations allowing life to develop, adapt spread and diversify. The concept of habitat --as part of the essential ecological core-- may also be understood by use of the old English word: weal. The word is the root of our idea of wealth and is associated with the schematic table below. The word was originally used to depict a forested area, weald in Old English from the German wald.


Basic information relating to the habitat.


More information on Weal:


Three aspects of every scientific problem in ecology and society.


Environmental influences on humans require a two-way, dynamic description

Model Plan

Intended Outcomes:

For you to write about how nature was viewed differently by both distinct ethnic groups and competing users of resources, with ample references from each and every one of the texts.  


Read Merchant and distinguish one writer from another in terms of their ideas, when they wrote and their evidence.

Determine what Merchant means by: conciousness, the social and economic sphere and the ecological core

Read Siry to comprehend the definitions of ecology, conservation, preservation, progress, and scientific understanding od natural areas. Marshes of the Ocean Shore

Read Carson to formulate an idea of nature based on ecology, the functional role of plants and animals in an ecosystem and the disruptive potential and capacity of technological changes.

Model defined

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Last Updated on 12/25/06.

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