“Cycles happen at all scales of systems, from the metabolism of a bacterium to the pumping of carbon around the planet to recycling of fundamental matter in the great start factories of interstellar space,” (Robertson, 2017).
If you really think about this, it is a little mind boggling. Every living thing has their own life system and their own problems in a way to worry about. Human beings now a days are so wrapped up in our own lives that we really don’t take the time to think about what we are doing and how it impacts everything around us. Everything in the ground we walk on (soil, water, bugs, plants) everything has its own cycle. All those bugs have to eat, and plants have to get their energy from somewhere. The image below depicts a water cycle which is just one of the millions of cycles that take place. Snow on mountains runoff and eventually end up in a larger body of water, it evaporates, and is stored in the atmosphere. Then condensation occurs it rains and the cycle starts over again.
“All life is made of networks, but not all networks are living systems,” (Robertson, 2017).
Margaret Robertson asks in this chapter ‘what is life?’ This is not really an easy question to answer. Everyone has a different answer to this. Robertson refers to life as networks. Networking can mean a few different things. It can mean trying to make connections between friends. It can mean trying to make connections between professionals when trying to get a job or an internship. Networking in this case is described as the way that networks of energy flow. Everything uses energy at some point in their lives. We use energy every day. Our cells have to use energy to keep our systems running. The image below shows how energy flows through an ecosystem. It is the flow of energy that is networked throughout a living system is how we, and everything else, is able to live.
“If all humans on the planet lived with the same standard of living enjoyed by people in the United States and Canada, we would need 4.5 more planet Earths even if the population did not grow at all,” (Robertson, 2017).
This is really powerful if you think about it. This does not even count all of the millions of people that live in Europe and other countries. When I was in middle school I remember every yea we would have to try and find our carbon footprint and see how many earths it would take to support the entire population if they all lived like you. It is crazy to think about how we live in the United States and how we use so many resources. Attached below is a picture of my carbon footprint. This one does not show how many earths it would take to support a whole planet of people who lived like me, but it is still important to understand its components. The component of this that always gets me is the electricity. I remember to turn things off when I leave or when I’m finished using them, but I do have a bad habit of sleeping with the TV on. I understand that this increases my carbon footprint by a significant amount. I think everyone should understand how many earths it would take if everyone lived like them, and maybe alter their lifestyle so the Earth doesn’t suffer.
Photo (screenshot) by A. Radaszewski
Robertson, M. (2017). Sustainability principles and practice. London: Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group.