Ecology vs Environmentalism
If one looks at the definitions of ecology and environmentalism, one finds that they are closely relayed to each other as both talk about the nature of our environment. This makes people think that ecology and environmentalism are similar, if not synonyms for each other. However, they are not same, but because of the growing concern of all of us save our environment, it is natural for the two concepts to get mixed up. This article will try to highlight the differences between ecology and environmentalism to remove doubts from the minds of the readers.
Ecology is a study of the relationship of living organisms with their surroundings and the sustenance that comes from the atmosphere. This naturally includes study of energy (sun), gases, light and heat which is the subject matter of physics. It also includes study of influences of living organisms on each other, which demands, study of biology as well. There are other fields that are required to be studied while studying ecology. These include geology, chemistry, oceanography, environmental science and so on.
It was German scientist Earnst Heinrich who first coined the term ecology that in original terms literally means the economy of nature. Since then, the academic discipline of ecology has gone on to encompass more and more aspects and today it has become so vast that it is divided into 4 categories of physiological ecology, population ecology, community ecology, and ecosystem ecology. There are many more subdivisions in these categories as well, and we keep hearing newer terms coined such as cultural ecology, agricultural ecology, and so on.
Environmentalism is a term that has gained currency because of our concern for the environment. The rate at which we are depleting natural resources, and losing vegetation through deforestation, is so fast that it has started to show up in the form of ecological disasters. Environmentalism is basically a social movement of people coming together in an endeavor to do something to save our environment. The main focus of environmentalists is on different ecosystems and how our interactions affect these ecosystems and ultimately the ecology. These people work to save our environment from the harmful effects of human interactions with ecosystems.
Environmentalism is therefore, confined to humans as environmentalists feel that all degradation of ecology is taking place because of mankind’s greed and eagerness to make use of natural resources of the world.
Difference Between Ecology and Environmentalism
• Ecology is concerned with how organisms interact with each other and their surroundings. On the other hand, environmentalism is concerned with the harmful effects of human activities on the environment.
• Environmentalism is basically a social movement whereas ecology is an academic discipline
• Ecology is a vast subject matter that requires study of various disciplines like physics, chemistry, geology, biology, and so on whereas environmentalism mainly studies the effects of human interaction with ecology and how to minimize that harmful effect.