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Assignment 2 - Cradle to Cradle

Assignment 2 - Cradle to Cradle - MIE380 Ecological Systems...

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MIE380: Ecological Systems Spring 2010 Assignment 2 – Cradle to Cradle Due: April 8 As we learned in the first part of the course, every ecosystem has a carrying capacity, which refers to the number of individuals who can be supported by the resources that ecosystem provides. As an ecosystem is degraded, its carrying capacity declines, reducing its capacity to support the organisms that live there. No population can live beyond an ecosystem’s carrying capacity for very long. However, the carrying capacity for an ecosystem can be increased by improved technology. This allows for larger populations, namely humans, to subside in an ecosystem with limited resources but what impact does this have on other organisms that also rely on those resources? To prevent detrimental competition and the decline in vulnerable populations due to human development, the concept of sustainability was formed. Sustainability requires that the growth in the consumption of goods and services be accompanied by a proportional decline in the energy and material intensity of that consumption. One specific technique used to promote sustainability is Industrial ecology (IE). An Industrial ecosystem is a community or network of companies and other organizations in a region who exchange products, byproducts and/or resources in a way that provides one or more of the following benefits over traditional, non-linked operations: reduction in the use of nonrenewable materials as resource inputs; reduction in pollution; increased systemic energy efficiency leading to reduced systemic energy use; reduction in the volume of waste products requiring disposal; and increase in the amount and types of process outputs that have market value.
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