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Environment: 1-the scientific approach

Monday 17 January 2022, by La graine

All the versions of this article: [English] [Français]

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Audience

Associations - Companies - Individuals - Establishments - Schools

Type

Videos on environmental themes

Introduction to the scientific approach to the environment. What is the finding of science on the state of our environment? Explanation in video.

Presentation

Here is a video recap. The script and sources are provided below.

Video presentation

What is the ascertainment of science on the state of our environment?

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Script

The script of the video in English.

Sources

Technical notes

SVG documents are made with Inkscape.
The video is edited with Kdenlive, available on Linux (“Random Swish Wipe” has been added for transitions:https://store.kde.org/p/1675129/ ).

Some definitions

The following terms are not in alphabetical order, but in logical order. A term introducing the following one. They are part of the research that led to the script.

Environmental science

Environmental science aims to a better understanding of the environment through the use of various disciplines such as natural sciences, history, geography, geology...
If some disciplines are better known (physics, chemistry, biology, ecology, geography, climatology, toxicology...) others are less known (pedology, geomorphology, retrospective ecology, environmental history...) [1]. The combination of all these fields allows a better understanding of how our environment evolves and, among other things, what is the responsibility of human activity in this evolution.

Ecology

Sometimes there is some confusion when we talk about ecology.
Indeed, the term ecology can have a political connotation. However, here we will speak only of scientific ecology (the work of ecologists) and not of political ecology (the project of “the greens”, “movement of ecologists” or other names depending on the country).

Ecology is a science that studies the interactions of living beings with each other and with their environment. We call all the living beings, the environment and the interactions an ecosystem.
The term “ecology” is composed of “eco” and “logy” either in Greek “οἶκος” (habitat, house) and λόγος / lógos (speech) [2]. Speech in this sense means “reason”, “argumentation”, “relation”. Thus ecology describes, following observations, the relationships of living beings in their habitat.
Ecology is an integrated part of environmental science [3].

Ecology is a descriptive science. It studies to understand through observation, data collection or data processing how all or part of an ecosystem works. The descriptive term is opposed to the prescriptive term, which implies to act. In this regard, the intervention of human beings on nature by importing non-endemic species (which come from elsewhere), has repeatedly caused significant damage. It is therefore important to understand as much as possible through descriptive science, rather than going straight into action without observing and thus risking disrupting an ecosystem.

Ecosystem

An ecosystem is a set formed by a community of living beings in interaction (biocenosis) with its environment (biotope) [4].
The term biocenosis comes from βίος, bios (“life”), and κοινός koinós (“community”) [5].
Biocenosis and biotic community should not be confused. The biotic community is all the living organisms in a habitat, but the biocenosis also defines their interactions, their organizations...
The term biotope comes from βίος/bíos, (“life”), and τόπος/tópos (“place”) [6]. Topos found in the term “toponymy” (the study of the name of a place).

Biome

A biome (from the Greek βίος, bios, bio = life) [7] is a large geographical unit with predominant similar living species (flora and fauna).


[2In rhetoric logos is linked to the logic, the argumentation. Pathos is linked to feelings, to emotions. Ethos is linked to the credibility of the interlocutor. These three elements are used to persuade its audience

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