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FSU FAD 3271 - Chapter 1 – Human Ecology

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Chapter 1 – Human EcologyIntroduction- Human Ecology – field of study that considers individuals and families withintheir environments and the relationships between themo Focuses on the system of people within their environments and the relationships or mutual interactions that occur between them- Important to view issues from a holistic perspective o Seeing a system as a set of interacting and interrelated parts- Must view situations and issues within a total context and consider all of the influences that may impact them - An ecosystems has individuals interacting in the environment that they are dependent on- Ecosystems assume tat things must be examined as wholeso Specifically includes the interactions and interdependencies within the environment- Understanding an ecosystem requires discovering components of a system, recognizing the parts, learning how to interpret the interactions, and becoming aware of the influences on the system Ecological Systems Approach- Incorporates concepts and assumptions from general systems theory- Emphasizes the study of the interrelations of organisms and environments- Takes into account the interrelatedness of biological and physical aspects of the family and its members- Studies aspects of the physical, social behavior, and human constructed environments- Holistic Perspective – things must be examined as wholes o Interactions become an actual process of exchanges that bring about an overall actions o Holistic – theory that the universe, especially living nature should be see in terms of interacting wholes General Systems Theory - Biologist Ludwig von Bertalanffy and mathematician/engineer Norbert Wiener were the critical creators of the theory- Focuses on the totality of process of interactions or patterns of interactions among elements of the system, not just individual part o When the totality of an actual process is carried out properly it brings about an orderly overall reaction which makes an analysis of its part have little meaning - The whole can be understood by considering all of the parts in dynamic interactions working together as a whole- Basis of a systems approach is the assumption that matter in all its forms creates a system Elements of a System- System – a set of different things and partso Parts must be directly or indirectly related in a network with reciprocal causal effects o Each part must be related to one or more parts with some stability over time - Four Elements of a Systemo Objects – parts of the system  Pieces that can be put together to make up a system Basic elements of the system Ex. A water pump is an object in the system of a car engine; an individual member is an object in the system of the familyo Attributes – qualities or properties of the system and its members Can be more than just physical characteristics Reveal important characteristics about the system and the interactions that take place Give the system its individual style to distinguish it from other systems Ex. An attribute of a Chinese family is their ethnic heritage o Relationship – the connection that occurs between system elements Takes into account the relational connections between objects or organisms and their environments Key concept to thinking “systematically” Requires learning to think relationally and observe what happens in the identified system and the surrounding systems as an interaction occurs  Help build cohesiono Environment – anything that surrounds  All systems are affected by their surroundings  Difficult to observe organisms separate from the context that they live in  Everything in the environment must be considered when studying the organism  People and environments are interdependent and influenced by one another  People reflect the environments that they are dependent on - Become integral to their being Ecosystems - A particular type of system - The family, the environment and community that is part of and surrounds the family system- Ecology – a branch of science that attempts to investigate and describe the reciprocal relationships between organisms and their environments - Made up of living organisms with their environments - A survival unit never consists of an individual organism or species in a static environmento All organisms are reciprocal relationships with each other and with the environment that they are in- Ecoenergetics is about the analysis of the energy flow of matter in, through, and out of the ecosystem o Emphasis was on the workings of dynamic systems where all elements, organisms, and aspects of the environment are highly interrelated and interdependent - Ecosystems concept was inadequate until thermodynamics and general systems theory were added- Ecosystems are self regulating systems that take in resources and adjust by combining the inputs from feedback loops - The sun in the energy source for all ecosystems - Homeostasis – a system trying to maintain itself in a steady, balanced stateo A dynamic equilibrium in which diverse forces are balancedo Ecosystems seek homeostasis - Ecosystems have feedback mechanisms to ensure that there is a continued firwith the environmento Inputs are given from the environment, processed, and become an output of some kind- No matter the size, all ecosystems have the same key patterns of survival andgrowth Human Ecology- Combines concepts from the systems theory and the ecosystem model- A way of looking at humans in relationship to their environments- Ecology refers to the O-E relationship o O is the organism o E is the environmento Dash means interaction in between- Ecology focuses on the interaction and interdependence of humans with the environment- Individuals are linked to one another by relationships in physical and social environments- Adaptation – process of adjusting oneself to fit with the conditions of the environment - Survival and conservation of resources depend on the ability of humans to achieve adaptation o Over time an organism is able to adjust to environmental changes and will be able to survive despite the changes - Focus of human ecology is on the individual as an integrated part of the whole- People effect changes in their environments through decisions and actions Ecological Concepts - Theory – a set of interrelated concepts and propositions which represent a view of a phenomenon by specifying relationships among variables- Concepts – abstractions that stand for


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