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Ecology Article Project, Article Review Example

Pages: 1

Words: 1082

Article Review

Global Warming’s Ecosystem Double Whammy”  http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/09/080917145131.htm

Keywords: Global Warming, Ecosystem, Climate Change

Statement of relevance to ecology

The article provides an account of the ecological problems posed by global warming to ecosystems.

Summary

The article “Global Warming’s Ecosystem Double Whammy” analyzes changes in how plants and soil absorb carbon dioxide. Particularly, changes in the earth’s atmosphere have been identified as the reason for less carbon dioxide being absorbed. These conclusions are the result of a four-year study on grassland plots. Scientists determined that ecosystems are negatively affected in warmer years, according to the lack of absorption that the increased temperatures generate. This means that a global warming trend would result in less carbon dioxide being absorbed by both soil and plants. Such a development would be problematic, according to the article, for two main reasons. Firstly, plants need carbon dioxide to survive. Accordingly, their inability to absorb carbon dioxide would threaten their survival. Secondly, plants and soil contribute to the regulation of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. This development would create deviations in the overall equilibrium of carbon dioxide regulation. Such a study therefore demonstrates that this regulation can be directly affected by global warming. Accordingly, the researchers concluded that there is a more intricate relationship between ecosystems and climate change than previously thought.

 “People, environment, language and meaning: values in nature and the nature of ‘values’”

Source: Language and Ecology Vol. 3 No. 2 accessed at: http://www.ecoling.net/values.pdf

Key words: language, ecology

Statement of relevance to ecology: The article examines how humans use language to think ecology.

Summary

Denise Dillon examines how human beings think about ecology. The author notes two primary approaches. The first key approach is the scientific approach. Scientists use various empirical methods to study ecological systems, such as the observation of biotic processes and energy transferal. The second approach is the human language or social approach. This approach may be understood as an everyday or mundane approach, which associates values to ecological phenomenon. According to the author, there is a fundamental dissonance between the two discourses. The everyday language approach is largely psychological, and thus, non-scientific. This discourse can be overdetermined by various societal prejudices, norms, personal values and ideologies. Accordingly, one should not project social values into a phenomenon such as the environment if one wishes to advance a rational discourse concerning ecology. In contrast, approaches to the environment must remain scientific, which is to say that they must maintain a value-free language. According to the objectivity of the scientific discourse, the author concludes that the latter is the ideal language with which to approach environmental problems.

 “Environmentalist Ate Native Crayfish” http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/earthnews/7586374/Environmentalist-ate-native-crayfish.html

Keywords: conservation law, endangered species

Statement of relevance to ecology

The article discusses how environmental law is used to protect ecology, and some of the more absurd side effects of this process.

Summary

The story describes how an English man captured 40 white-clawed crayfish while on an outdoor excursion. Unbeknownst to the individual, a passer-by witnessing the scene contacted the Environment Agency, which in turn contacted the police. The reason for contacting the authorities was that the white-clawed crayfish were on the International Union of Conservation of Nature Red List for endangered species. The man was fined £4000, despite being unaware of the protected status of the crayfish. The article thus demonstrates the importance given to current environmental conservation laws within the legal system, as contemporary British jurisprudence places a pronounced emphasis on environmental protection laws. Insofar as the man did not know he was killing endangered species, but was nevertheless fined, this demonstrates that the ignorance of environmental and ecological law is not a valid excuse for killing endangered species. The story presented in the article can be understood as a symptom of a greater overall shift in how society approaches ecological issues, as any threat to an ecosystem, however apparently minimal, is taken seriously. Nevertheless, the article leaves open subsequent questions about why such minor infractions are so carefully punished by the law, whereas punishments for larger, more significant ecological destruction, for example by corporations, remains unpunished.

“Effect of Heavy Metals on Self-Purification Processes in Rivers” http://www.ecology.kee.hu/indvol07_4.htm

Statement of relevance to ecology

The article examines specific negative effects of metals on ecological phenomenon such as rivers.

Summary

The article is a scientific journal publication, in which the authors examined the effects of metals in water. Particularly, they concentrated on the relation between the toxicity of the metals and river systems. The relation is deemed to be significant, insofar as such metals threaten the existence of microorganisms in the water. The necessity of the microorganisms to the river ecosystem lies in the role they play in breaking down organic compounds. The scientists noted that when microorganisms are absent from a river system, the water is unable purify itself. They investigated the precise effects of heavy metals on what is termed Biochemical Oxygen Demand (BOD) in water. When incubating the metals, the scientists noticed that their toxicity naturally decreased. This suggests that it is only when combined with pollution that such metals become toxic to the water and kill the microorganisms, thus halting river self-purification. In other words, the toxicity of the heavy metals would dissipate naturally, unless combined with other forms of pollution. However, the scientists note that the toxicity of heavy metals in water is still dangerous to ecosystems, as such toxicity can negatively affect various organisms within the food web.

Tar Sands: The World’s Most Destructive Project http://www.earthfirstjournal.org/article.php?id=476

Keywords: industrial pollution, conservationism, environmental activism

Statement

The article discusses the Tar Sands oil project and the ecological dangers it presents.

Summary

The author discusses the decision by oil companies to tap the untapped oil reserves located in the Alberta tar sands. These Canadian reserves are considered by experts to be the world’s largest untapped oil reserves. The project to tap these reserves will mark the largest industrial project ever undertaken. There is, however, great concern about the environmental consequences of the project. Massive deforestation will have to take place for the tapping project to being. In addition, numerous waterways will be destroyed to allow for the project. High levels of toxicity will also be introduced into the local ecosystems, with inevitable tragic effects for countless number of organisms. Despite such dangers, the project is nonetheless scheduled to proceed as planned. This indicates a hierarchical order of priorities in government, as environmental conservation is considered to be less important than the acquisition of oil, the growth of industry and capitalist expansion. Nonetheless, the article notes that many groups, such as First Nation peoples, are already protesting the planned project, in conjunction with courses of action being taken by various environmental organizations.

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