Life Sciences

Michael Parsons, Hudson Valley Center, SUNY Empire State College writes:

“Life Sciences and the foundational field of biology may be the broadest of all disciplines, the derivation of the name bios + logos literally means ‘the study of life’. There are more than 100 sub-disciplines from Agriculture to Zoology intimately linked to this field. The primary tenant of all sub disciplines build on cell theory, genetics, evolution through natural selection, regulation (homeostasis) and energy flow.

“The context of biology and the life sciences will better inform those practicing sustainable habits. When we speak of sustainability, we think of ‘life’ being preserved in its current state for future generations. This includes consideration of aesthetics, biodiversity, nonrenewable resources and the preservation of genetic material through seedbanks, cryostorage or conservation measures. For this reason, some green economists see biodiversity and carbon-based accounting as means to promote plan ‘long-term’ economics. Similarly, wildlife managers are valuing each species of life according to the utility of its ecological niche, whether the species aids in seed dispersal, pollinates flowers, contributes to waste removal or eats herbivores that threaten native plants.

“Life science mentors at Empire State College have unique and varied skills. However, our faculty have related their special interests and skills to themes in Sustainability. In some studies such as forestry, agricultre and animal behavior, the connections are obvious. In other instances such as with microbial ecology and behavior-based studies, the connections may not be immediately apparent.”

Below is a list of resources on this topic. Find a more complete list of resources with links for learning and teaching about this topic on our Pinterest site:
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The Diversity of Life (Questions of Science), Edward O. Wilson

A Sand County Almanac, Aldo Leopold

Bringing Nature Home: How You Can Sustain Wildlife with Native Plants, Douglas W. Tallamy