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Raising consciousness in ecosystem health

Abstract

New knowledge and theory developed by physicists in the first half of the 20th century radically changed our concepts of the nature of reality and the place of the human species in it. This information has not yet penetrated the other natural sciences nor day-to-day life. This paper argues that it is essential that we leave behind the ‘World as Machine’ world view, or paradigm, which has led us to global crisis. Instead we must more rapidly incorporate the information from the 20th century ‘new physics’, and shift the dominant social paradigm to a ‘Systems’ view of the world, in our efforts towards defining and implementing ecosystem health and the closely-related sustainable development. Some of the key implications of new physics to ecosystem health are that the biosphere and the surrounding universe is an indivisible whole; that the human species, especially our consciousness, is integral to the biosphere; that nothing is static; and that dynamism and function are primary, whereas structure is secondary. It is suggested that the understanding of the connectedness of humans to the rest of the biosphere will alter the behaviour of the human species towards more ecologically sustainable actions.

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Malley, D.F. Raising consciousness in ecosystem health. Journal of Aquatic Ecosystem Health 2, 317–327 (1993). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00044033

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Keywords

  • new physics
  • ecosystem integrity
  • ecosystems approach
  • human population
  • sustainable development
  • human consciousness