January 19, 2013

The Four Laws of Ecology

Although nature is complex, the basic rules that keep everything running are simple. Here is a set formulated by physicist and ecologist, Barry Commoner, in The Closing Circle, 1971.

The Four Laws of Ecology   
1) Everything Is Connected to Everything Else.  
Humans and other species are connected/dependant on a number of other species. There is one eco-sphere for all living organisms and what affects one, affects all.
2) Everything Must Go Somewhere. 
There is no "waste" in nature and there is no "away" to which things can be thrown. No matter what you do, and no matter what you use, it has to go somewhere. For example, when you burn wood, it doesn't disappear, it turns into smoke which rises into the air, and ash, which falls back down to the earth. 
3) Nature Knows Best. 
Humankind has fashioned technology to improve upon nature, but such change in a natural system is likely to be detrimental to that system.
4) There Is No Such Thing as a Free Lunch. 
Exploitation of nature will inevitably involve the conversion of resources from useful to useless forms.

Never mind the laws that flawed humans dream up. You know the ones - they allow the rich and privileged unchecked access to exploit their fellow humans, and the environment. They are the ones that allow big banks to commit fraud without penalty.

Those laws were dreamed, and will one day soon be undreamed.

The laws of ecology however, are immutable. No amount of denial, lies, or ignorance will change them, or the impact they will have on us if we ignore them further.

The laws of ecology are the laws we should be following.

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