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Cultural ecology of the North Sea
First warning (1895)
A Frenchman's view (1912)
A scientist's view (1957)
The catcher's view
Domesday to doomsday
Ecology was originally defined scientifically to cover all information dealing with the flow of materials and energy in food chains within the categories of environment described as habitats (eg woodland ecology, stream ecology, sand dune ecology). This was ‘nature. The technological interactions of humankind with habitats with the aim of utilising them for human settlement and production was treated as if Homo sapiens was not part of nature. This attitude was based on the idea that somehow, non-human living things can operate themselves, i.e. be born and die in a self-contained system. They are autopoietic. On the other hand, humans bringing technologies to bear on habitats were seen as being dependent on processes from outside themselves to survive. They are allopoietic. Now, people are viewed as being part of nature in everything they do from felling a tree to painting a house. The entire planet is an allopoietic system. Everything is interactive. If we take a human viewpoint, the managerial impact of people on the environment, the combination of man and technology, is defined as cultural ecology.
Cultural ecology is a combination of three ecologies interacting with each other on a day to day basis;
· nature (the natural environment);
· human society;
· and the human self (expressed as individuals and families)
Accordingly, this implies that conservation is a dynamic system comprising habitats and their species interacting with humankind as a producer of communities, ideas and technical solutions to problems of obtaining food, and shelter .
The three ecologies are exemplified by large scale sea fisheries of the North Sea as they once existed with particular reference to the United Kingdom.
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