Knowing how parts of nature interact in time and space is critical to our understanding of sustainability. Ecologist Tim Ehlinger looks at our interaction with the land from our first arrival on the continent: trapping, logging, farming, industrialization, urbanization, and suburbia. Through demonstrations he traces human behavior and how it has, and continues, to modify our environment. He builds a “beaver dam” and has “rain” fall on a farmyard and an urban development to show the enormous difference in rainwater retention. Meeting our needs without jeopardizing those of future generations is the theme throughout this look at sustainability.
Biologist Arthur Brooks in this lecture highlights the interplay of human activity and its impact on the Great Lakes ecosystem over a 200-year period. Utilizing diagrams and high-speed photography, Professor Brooks also discusses the food web of the Great Lakes and gives numerous examples of how exotic species alter the balance within an ecosystem.