Thursday, December 30, 2010

Created the Biological Footprint article on wikipedia

This was quite interesting, first of all I though that it would be easier to simply write what it was about, however being able to define exactly what it is and then give an overview was a bit more complicated.

I also find it notable that notable that no one had made a specific entry for this article yet, though it should not really be a surprise, the same thing is true for the Stormwater Harvesting article.

The reason I thought it was opportune is because in one of the presentations I do  mention the Bio Footprint as part of the environmental equation.
See slide 9.

The idea is to encompass, in detail, all of the factors that participate in the concept of Environmentally Neutral Design. There is quite a bit of information on Carbon footprints, Water footprints, even the larger subject of Ecological footprint, however not much in the detail of a biological footprint.

One might argue that this is simply the Ecological Footprint, I would however argue that Ecology is much more than "just" biology, though some define Ecology as a subdiscipline of Biology (

The theory behind the Ecological Footprint is an interesting one and what it proposes in analytical terms is also quite significant, though one could argue it is a bit reductionist in that it puts the whole world in terms of one number or ratio. The further breakdown in categories such as carbon, grazing, fishing, forestry, etc. and even built-up land, though this last category is in itself an unrenewable asset or resource, though impact mitigation methods can be implemented, it is very difficult, if not impossible, to sustain that this area can ever be feasibly or practically regenerated or renewed. Delving further into the model, analysing for example Figure 3 of the 2010 report the "States of Global Biodiversity" are expressed as 3: Terrestial, Freshwater and Marine, though these are obviously of relevance, however one should ask in relation to not only happens to air, not only it's biodiversity, but also the quality of the same, as it affects it's biodiversity.

The easiest way to justify and explain the Biological Footprint is saying that "Ecosystems create a biophysical feedback between living (biotic) and nonliving (abiotic) components of an environment that generates and regulates the biogeochemical cycles of the planet." ( The Biological Footprint concerns itself with living or biotic component. To further explain this contrast as Ecology, and hence the Ecological Footprint concerns itself with ecosystems, this also considers the nonliving or abiotic component which are not of the domain of the Biological Footprint.

One of the interesting things that I came across was how to define "life",this is not as simple as it may seem. Further Biological classification one would think is something that was fairly well established for quite a few years, the last iteration of the classification system occurred in 2004. This does not not consider forms of "synthetic life" ( yet, it will be interesting to see how these will be classified, though undoubtedly they should receive some differentiation, we may find that they will be assimilated into their "host" kingdoms.

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