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Geological and botanical tour

mtran's picture

It has been a week since my botanical tour with Barbara, Claire and two others from 313. For me it was a good chance to revise what I have learned from our geological tour and also get to explore the campus from another viewpoint. From a geological point of view, we tend to examine the way people make use of nature to fulfill our needs. We use different types of rocks for different purposes; we look at how natural setting affects human construction… As we look from a botanical point of view, we also study about how elements of nature interact or relate to each other. What impressed me the most was the competition among plants. As I think of competition, I used to think of omnivores and the food chain. I rarely took notice of the competition for survival among plants. During our botanical tour, I learned that plants that live in the same area actually mimic each other’s appearance in order compete. Without tearing the leaves and smell the difference I would never think that two trees that look exactly the same could belong to totally different species. Competition also exists in the form of parasite: ivy climbs on a tree, depending on its nutrition to thrive and grow. The beautiful ivies turn out to be harmful to the growth of another plant.

As I think about parasitism, I wondered if human beings are parasitic of nature. But I convinced myself that we are not, since in one way or another, people are taking care of natural world, and that the relationship is more similar to a symbiotic connection. However, perhaps it is reasonable to say that industrial economy is parasitic of ecological system, since it uses natural resources such as oil, land or water and even pollutes or uses them up. Even in natural world, parasites would not want to kill their hosts because then they would not be able to exploit these sources of nutrition any more (correct me if I’m wrong). So industrial activities should also be controlled before they kill the precious host.