ARTICLE: AN ECOLOGICALLY LITERATE READING OF THE CANADIAN CHARTER OF RIGHTS AND FREEDOMS Skip over navigation
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Copyright (c) 2009 Windsor Review of Legal and Social Issues
Windsor Review of Legal and Social Issues

ARTICLE: AN ECOLOGICALLY LITERATE READING OF THE CANADIAN CHARTER OF RIGHTS AND FREEDOMS

February, 2009

Windsor Review of Legal and Social Issues

26 W.R.L.S.I. 7

Author

Lynda M. Collins*

Excerpt

1. Introduction and Summary

For much of the twentieth century, industrial society has conducted itself as if there were no limits to the ecosphere in which we live. 1 Imagining ourselves outside the bounds of the natural world, we have extracted resources and discharged contaminants without regard to the internal constraints of the ecosystems upon which human life depends. 2 We have built economic and legal systems that reflect this collective denial and fail to account for the non-derogable laws of nature. 3 In the reconstruction of human societies that do comply with the ground-rules of life on Earth, ecological literacy will need to be an organizing principle across all fields of human activity.

Ecological literacy can be defined as a basic understanding of the functioning of ecosystems, including the role that human beings play in the natural world. Klemow suggests that ecological literacy includes at least eleven basic concepts, including (inter alia) the following:
All of the organisms on a site, along with its physical environment, comprise an ecosystem ....All ecosystem functions depend upon energy ....The bodies of all organisms are built from chemical elements called nutrients...Ecosystems are constantly changing, either rapidly or slowly. Those changes can be due to changes in physical factors, to the arrival or local extinction of the component species, to the organisms progressing through their life cycles, to altered relationships between the species, and to the species changing by evolution ... More than any other species, humans have changed the earth's ecosystems. At ...
 
 
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