DUCHENNE MUSCULAR DYSTROPHY: A genetic disorder. (See MUSCULAR DYSTROPHY)
DUE PROCESS: Legal procedures for the protection of individual rights in accordance with established standards of fairness and justice.
DUPLICATION. Gene or DNA segment that is found twice on the same chromosome. Multigenic families have evolved by duplication of an ancestral gene. Duplications can also be aberrant, in that they arise through chromosomal rearrangements during meiosis at particular breakpoint regions. (See also DELETION). (GK)
DURABLE POWER OF ATTORNEY:See ADVANCE DIRECTIVES.
DUSTSTORMS: Are an unwelcome feature of the weather over arid areas, particularly at times of draught. Due to the destruction of much of the vegetation and the drying out the land, duststorms in Australia have become more severe since European settlement illustrating the importance of land management in the fight against soil erosion and climate change. Overstocking and intensive agriculture can turn areas into dustbowls (See SOUTHERLY BUSTER). (IP)
DUTY TO WARN: A health professional's obligation to breach patient confidentiality to warn third parties of the danger of their being assaulted or of contracting a serious infection. (See CONFIDENTIALITY ).
DWORKIN, ANDREA: (1946- ). American feminist writer who portrays a deeply pessimistic view of modern society in which men are presented as constructing images of women that lead to hatred and violence such as rape, battering and psychological assault. These scenarios are described in her works 'Woman Hating' 1974; 'Our Blood: Prophesies & Discourses on Sexual Politics' 1976; 'The New Woman's Broken Heart' 1980. Dworkin actively campaigns against pornography which, since it violates equal human rights, she regards as a foremost form of sexism. These social issues are dealt with in 'Take Back the Night: Women on Pornography' 1980; 'Pornography: Men Possessing Women' 1980. (See BEAUVOIR, GREER, SEXISM). (IP)
DYSGENY: The decline of the quality of the species; used to describe the trend in urban industrial society where the "fast-breeding", relative to privileged families, of the urban population represents a perceived threat.
DYSTOPIA: (Greek: dys ‘bad’ + tópas ‘place’) Expressions of a fearful future of negative sociopolitical and technological outcomes; a class of utopian literature in opposition to utopian idealism and perfection. Definitive dystopian visions from film include ‘Metropolis’, ‘Alphaville’, ‘Akira’ and ‘Blade Runner’, and from literature include Dante’s ‘Inferno’ (c.1307); H.G. Wells’ ‘When the Sleeper Wakes’ (1899), Aldous Huxley’s ‘Brave New World’ (1932); George Orwell’s ‘Nineteen Eighty-Four’ (1949); and William Gibson’s ‘Neuromancer’ (1984). (See BIG BROTHER, CYBERPUNK, HUMAN EXTINCTION, INSTITUTION OF WAR, NANOTECHNOLOGY WEAPONS, UTOPIA) (MP)
EARTH: 1. Geology: The earth is the mineral component of the world; the soil, dirt, land, ground. 2. Mythology: one of the four ancient elements earth, fire, wind and water. 3. Astronomy: Deserving of a capital letter, ‘Earth’ is our planet, our globe, our world - Gaia, if you like. Earth is the third planet in our Solar System, formed some 4.7 billion years ago. The Earth is made up of a primarily nitrogen and oxygen climatic atmosphere, 70% surface area of ocean, a thin outer crust of tectonic plates on a thick mantle, molten magma sections and a solid inner core. It is the only planet with known life, which appeared some three billion years ago. (See ATMOSPHERE, EARTH FROM SPACE) (MP)
EARTH FROM SPACE: The Earth was viewed from space directly by a human for the first time with Yuri Gagarin in 1961. It has emotionally, spiritually and ethically inspired all those lucky individuals who have similarly witnesses it first-hand. Photos of the Earth as a single, limited, fragile entity floating in inhospitable space have circulated widely through the public consciousness since that time. The Earth from space has highlighted the insanity of the nuclear arms race, the fundamental limits to growth, and the possibility of human extinction, and has inspired the search for human unity and global sustainability. (See EARTH, SPACE) (MP)
EARTH SUMMIT: In 1992 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, the world's governments met in the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED). Five major agreements came of this so-called Earth Summit:
Agenda 21 - a broad, 40-chapter statement of goals and potential programs related to sustainable development
The Rio Declaration - a brief statement of principles on sustainable development
The Biodiversity Treaty - a binding international agreement aimed at strengthening national control and preservation of biological resources
The Statement of Forest Principles - a non-binding agreement on development, preservation, and management of the Earth's remaining forests
The Framework Convention on Climate Change - a binding international agreement that seeks to limit or reduce emissions of gases associated with the potential for global warming. (RW)
EASTERN PHILOSOPHY: Buddhist, Hindu, Shinto, and other philosophies from South and East Asian countries are usually thought of as Eastern Philosophy. It is debatable whether there are common points uniting all Eastern philosophies and distinguishing them from Western ones. (FL)
EASTERN RELIGIONS Religions originating in Asia, particularly those which originated in the subcontinent and eastward, and are not based upon Jewish, Christian or Muslim scriptures. Some Eastern religions have texts which are designated as sacred, others are based on oral traditions. (AG)
EBOLA:A type of flu like fever that causes hemorrhage. (JA)
ECCLESIASTICAL: of the Christian Church or its clergy. In ethics, the Church’s inclination to pay close attention to ethical problems when they are ecclesiastical problems. (IP)
ECHINODERMATA: The phylum of exclusively marine, invertebrate animals characterized by radial symmetry, spiny skin, and an internal calcareous skeleton. Most are pentameral having five-fold symmetry. Commonly know echinoderms are starfish, brittle stars, sand dollars, and sea urchins. (RW)
ECNC:European Centre for Nature Conservation.
ECO-: (Greek: oikos "house") Combining prefix indicating ecology or an ecological component (e.g. ecocentric, ecotourism, ecocide). It is informative to note that both the words ecology and economy are derived from the same Greek root oikos; eco-logy (-logy "the study of" from logos "word") being the scientific study of the house, and eco-nomy (from nemein "to manage") being the management of the house. It is therefore easy to see that the economy should be subservient to and dictated by ecology - rather than today’s apparent economic orthodoxy of the other way around. (See ECOLOGY, ECONOMY) (MP)
ECOBALANCE:Ecological balance, Interaction between the environment and the living beings to bring about a steady-state - balance is not a point but a condition. (JA)
ECOCENTRIC: Viewpoint giving importance to ecological processes, living in tune with nature, an accent on ecobalance, recycling, conservation of natural resources. (JA)
ECOCIDE: Ecological genocide; the total destruction of the natural ecology and environment to make way for humans and their desires. Typically, ecocide tends not to have legal recognition as an atrocity or crime. (MP)
ECOCUISINE: (Greek oikos 'house' + French coquere 'cook'). The preparation and cooking of wild species, perhaps even ecologically endangered species. The underlying psychology of killing endangered species stems from the acceptance that humanity is prepared to nurture and protect commercially importance species while it condones mass extinctions in the wild. The expectation is that once an ecologically unique dish has gained popularity, the species will be saved through efforts at sustained agri- aquaculture, domestication, or enhanced environmental protection. Several formerly threatened species; such as the crocodile, have been given a reprieve by enhancing their gastronomic attractiveness. (See ECOLOGICALLY SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT, SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT PRINCIPLES). (IP)
ECOFRIENDLY:A concept of living in consonance with nature, employing technology that preserves the beauty and integrity of ecosystem. (JA)
ECOLOGICAL COMMUNITY: 1. the assemblage of species that makes up the biota of a habitat. 2. a human settlement that tries to minimize its adverse environmental impacts. (RW)
ECOLOGICAL FOOTPRINT: A measure of consumption, our ecological footprint is an amount of land area which represents our resource use. Ecological footprint analysis converts our use of materials and energy into hectares of land per person required to provide these resources. It is an illustrative indicator of individual or collective human impact which highlights concepts such as natural capital, carrying capacity and ecological limits. (See CONSUMPTION, FLOWS) (MP)
ECOLOGICAL HOTSPOTS:See BIODIVERSITY HOTSPOT.
ECOLOGICAL INDICATORS: See ENVIRONMENTAL INDICATORS, INDICATOR SPECIES.
ECOLOGICAL INTEGRITY: 1. The cohesion and intactness of the web of life comprising the ecological system - unpredictable consequences may arise from human disturbance of the ecological integrity. 2. An innate awareness of the total interdependence of living things functioning as both a scientific and philosophical moderator as expressed in the phrases ‘thinking ecologically’ and an ‘ecological point of view’. (See ECOLOGICALLY SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT, GAIA HYPOTHESIS). (IP+MP)
ECOLOGICAL JUSTICE / ECOJUSTICE:A principle that links social justice with environmental quality, that which is due to the ecosystem. The right of each components of an ecosystem to be free from human exploitation and to be free from destruction, discrimination, bias and extinction. A principle that deals with solidarity of creation that ensures sufficiency and sustainability avoiding disposal of /poisonous/ toxic/hazardous wastes like nuclear wastes that threaten the fundamental right to clean air, land, water and food. (JA)
ECOLOGICAL LOCATION: A composite expression referring to the combination of ‘location’ where the human and nonhuman is situated in the web of biotic communities, contrasting with ‘social location’ which is restricted to the human realm of location and focuses on social and cultural power differentials. Thus, ecological location includes social location expanded into the ecological realm and concentrates on the location of all the biosphere’s inhabitants and how these interspecies relationships are structured in terms of sustainability. Particularly important in the present context is the ecological location of human science and technology. (See GAIA HYPOTHESIS, SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT). (IP)
ECOLOGICAL NICHE: A particular physical habitat or resource that is exploited by an organism. Niches often are defined in terms of food (e.g., carnivore or detritivore) or a functional role in an ecosystem (e.g., primary producer, consumer). (See NICHE, NICHE DIFFERENTIATION). (RW)
ECOLOGICAL PROCESSES: Ecological processes are the which Ecosystem services are They include environmental processes such as chemical transformation, phase transfer and mass transfer. Evolutionary processes include natural selection, punctuated equilibrium and speciation. Biological development processes include meiosis, mitosis, differentiation, growth and ontogeny. Human socioeconomic development introduces a whole new set of disruptive ecological processes, investigated by Environmental Impact Studies. (See ENVIRONMENTAL PROCESSES, PROCESS) (MP)
ECOLOGICAL SUCCESSION: The sequence of ecological communities that grow in a habitat. Typically, a pioneer community becomes established after a disturbance. This pioneer community will be displaced by various successors until the establishment of a climax community, which, by definition, is essentially stable until the next disturbance. (RW)
ECOLOGICALLY SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT:A variant of the term "Sustainable Development" emphasizing the underlying importance of ecological integrity to human life. The ecological component cannot however be separated from the economic and social components. Theoretically committed to the concept, the Commonwealth Government of Australia (1990) defined it as follows: "Ecologically sustainable development means using, conserving and enhancing the community’s resources so that the ecological processes on which life depends, are maintained, and the total quality of life, now and in the future, can be increased." (See SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT). (MP)
ECOLOGISM: A green philosophy which emphasizes the need for deep social, economic, political and environmental reform in preparation for a post-industrial sustainable future - in comparison to environmentalism, which involves reform within the boundaries of the current sociopolitical system. Ecologism has similar viewpoints to deep ecology, including recognitions of an ecocentric perspective, biophilia, limits to growth, and the radical restructuring of existing institutions and ideologies. (See ACTIVISM, ALTERNATIVE PARADIGM, BIOPHILIA, DEEP DESIGN VALUE SYSTEMS, DEEP ECOLOGY, DEMATERIALIZATION, ECOCENTRIC, GREEN, ENVIRONMENTALISM) (MP)
ECOLOGY: (German: Ökologie from Greek oikos "house") The branch of biology dealing with living organisms" distribution, behavior, mode of life and relations to their surroundings. The word was coined by the German biologist Ernst Haeckel in 1869, derived from the Greek root "oikos" which means "dwelling place, place to live, house" (i.e. environment). Defined as the study of the structure and function of nature in which human beings are a part. Ecology includes all the patterns of relationship between all organisms and their environments. (See ECO-, ECOCIDE, ECOLOGICAL ECONOMICS, ECOSPHERE, ECOSYSTEM, ENVIRONMENT, HABITAT, HUMAN ECOLOGY) (JA)
ECONOMETRICS: Application of mathematics and statistical principles in economics so as to test economic theories and their relationship and to make quantitative predictions. (JA)
ECONOMIC EFFICIENCY: See EFFICIENCY.
ECONOMIC GROWTH: See GROWTH.
ECONOMIC SANCTIONS: Economic sanctions have been questioned on grounds of effectiveness, equity and ethics. They impose budgetary losses to neighboring third-party states, or may involve unilateral political gain or manipulation. But most importantly, economic sanctions usually have a devastating effect on community health and wellbeing in the affected country. Limited resources may be disproportionately allocated to elites and the military, leaving innocent citizens to bear the brunt of the impacts of the sanctions. For example, the ‘Oil for Food Programme’ during United Nations sanctions on Iraq was inadequate to prevent an estimated 5,200 preventable deaths in under 5-year olds per month between 1991 and 1998 (UNICEF 1999) due to lack of access to basic facilities. (See SANCTIONS) (MP)
ECOPHYSIOLOGY: The branch of biology investigating the physiological structures, functions and adaptations which enable organisms to survive in interaction with their ecosystem and physical environment. (MP)
ECOPSYCHOLOGY: Psychological study of the human mind in relationship, interaction and affinity with nature. It has been a long-held theme that divorce from nature (or the natural order of things, e.g. Macbeth) may precipitate mental instability. This may be of relevance in this modern world of invented physical and virtual environments. (MP)
ECOSPHERE: Biosphere is an ecosphere, meaning the existence of various types of habitats and biomes. Indicates the living relationship between all of earths' living beings with the physical environment. Ecosphere = Biosphere(JA)
ECOSYSTEM: First proposed by the British ecologist A.G. Tansley in 1935.It is derived from two words, ecology and systems to mean ecological systems, shorted to ecosystem. A functional unit and a dynamic system. It signifies the interaction between community and abiotic components such as matter and energy. (See MICROECOSYSTEM) (JA)
ECOSYSTEM FRAGMENTATION: Biodiversity impacts of ecosystem fragmentation include disruption of migration and foraging routes, reduced genetic exchange, isolation of ecological communities and exposure to edge effects, weed invasions etc. Experimental studies reviewed by E.O. Wilson suggest that a tenfold decrease in land area will approximately halve the number of species present, although the specific area-species curve is dependent on the ease of dispersal of given organisms. As with conservation of endangered species, focus has been on the effects of small size on population persistence, and must address the causes of such reductions in size and connectivity. These causes include expansion of human-dominated ecosystems, creation of edges (e.g. roads), creation of barriers (e.g. dams), land clearing, monoculture, hunting/harvesting, removal of food-web species, separation of mutualistic organisms, habitat competition from introduced species, introduced predators, and other ecosystem disruption and destruction. (See BUFFER ZONES, EDGE EFFECTS, HABITAT DESTRUCTION, HABITAT FRAGMENTATION, RESTORATION ECOLOGY, WILDLIFE CORRIDORS) (MP)
ECOSYSTEM SERVICES: Humans are ultimately dependent upon the functions and services of ecological systems. Ecosystem services are the supply and restoration processes essential to the functioning of the life. They may break down wastes (e.g. biogeochemical cycles), provide shelter, energy and oxygen (e.g. forests) or protect us in other ways (e.g. the ozone layer). Although usually taken for granted, these services are provided free by ecosystems, but end up costing heavily if damaged or destroyed. Essential ecosystem services are ‘critical natural capital’ which must be conserved to provide our global life-support system. (See CRITICAL NATURAL CAPITAL) (MP)
ECO-TERRORISM: The use of fear and violence in the cause of environmentalism or to save ecology facing destruction. Or more broadly, use of violence in eitherthe activist protection or the commercial extraction of ecological resources. So-called eco-terrorist groups such as the Earth Liberation Front (ELF) may conduct illegal activities, usually against property, but lives are also confronted and lost as a result of ecocide, inappropriate technologies, habitat destruction, threats to biodiversity, justifications for war, and ironically some officially sanctioned fighting against illegal loggers and big-game wildlife poachers. (See DIRECT ACTION, ECOCIDE, HACKTIVISM, NONVIOLENT RESISTANCE, POACHING) (MP)
ECTOMORPH: A person with an extreme body type typified by thin frame, long limbs and narrow features. People with a high degree of ectomorphy may suffer from physical fragility, sunken features and difficulty gaining fat or muscle. (See ANOREXIA NERVOSA, ENDOMORPH, MESOMORPH) (MP)
ECTOPIC PREGNANCY: A pregnancy that occurs outside the uterus, usually in a fallopian tube. (DM)
ECOTOURISM: There are a range of definitions. One definition is from Honey, M. Ecotourism and Sustainable Development: Who Owns Paradise? (Island Press: Washington, D.C., 1999), "Ecotourism is travel to fragile, pristine, and usually protected areas that strives to be low impact and (usually) small scale. It helps educate the traveler; provides funds for conservation; directly benefits the economic development and political empowerment of local communities, and fosters respect for different cultures and for human rights." (MN)
ECUMENE: (Greek: oikoumenikos ‘of the inhabited world’) The world environment habitable to humans, or populated/inhabited regions thereof. (See ANTHROPOSPHERE, ECUMENOPOLIS) (MP)
ECUMENICAL: 1. Universal humankind. (See ECUMENE) 2. Relating to or representing the world of the Christian Church. The ecumenical movement aims at the reunion of the Christian churches, e.g. in the World Council of Churches. (See RELIGIONS) (MP & IP)
ECUMENOPOLIS: Term coined by C.A. Doxiadis referring to a futuristic world-city or extended human settlement bounded only by climatic and topographical limits. (See ECUMENE, EKISTICS, MEGALOPOLIS) (MP)
EDGE EFFECTS: Ecological impacts typically initiated along edges or by the boundaries between natural and interrupted systems. For example, a road through a rainforest will create an edge which introduces light, pests, weeds, pollution, erosion, danger to wildlife, human access, and ultimately habitat fragmentation due to the altered ecosystem along that strip. (See BUFFER ZONES, HABITAT FRAGMENTATION, WILDLIFE CORRIDORS) (MP)
EDUCATION: (Latin: educatio "rearing" or "bringing up") Systematic instruction, usually of the young, which provides people with the knowledge, skills and wisdom necessary for them to become active members of society. In its widest sense education includes the life-long process of development and maturation, but is more officially restricted to those influences brought to bear on children, adolescents and young adults preparing for the workforce. In ancient times the Greeks were one of the first civilizations to provide schooling and organized instruction (education). Jewish education also developed early, following along the lines of Old Testament injunctions regarding the training of children, and the Arab world too was very scholarly. The 12th century saw the rapid development of learning in Europe during the Renaissance, heavily indebted to both Arabic and Hebrew scholarship. With the rise of Christianity, schools were instructing this religious doctrine as well as subjects such as the liberal arts, grammar, logic, arithmetic and music. The most famous university was in Paris, the chief center of philosophy and theology, while the prototype universities were England’s Oxford and Cambridge. In Catholic countries the church maintained control of education until more recently. By the 19th century new approaches were coming to the fore, heralding, in the 20th century, a wide variety of secular institutions such as Montessori schools and Progressive Education Movements which allow practical, self-paced development. It is now generally recognized that the state has a duty to provide education for all its citizens, for example the United Nations Development Programme’s Human Development Index uses adult literacy and education enrolment as two of its four measures. Most of the developed world has good literacy and compulsory schooling for children. However, current trends are for increased up-front fees for attendance at the tertiary (university) level. Australia, for example, which in the 1980s had free government-funded university education, at least still has a non-discriminatory scheme in which payment of fees can be deferred until later entry into the workforce. Pressures from international finance institutions to instigate fees for secondary schooling in poor countries like Vietnam, seem reprehensible. Another trend is industry funding for university research. Such collaboration helps with the costs and applications of research, but the introduction of corporate confidentiality and intellectual property agreements may hinder autonomy and impartiality. Today most tertiary courses are very specialized, with limited breadth of choice within a career stream. This may not be preparing us for the integrated and adaptive thinking required to identify and address global environmental and bioethical problems at a trans-disciplinary level. Some small, resource-poor nations such as Singapore have realized that one of their few competitive advantages in the global marketplace is intellect. They have slightly readjusted their education systems to focus on context and meta-knowledge; that is, in an information age where any required facts are at your fingertips, teaching the facts cannot be as important as how to easily find and creatively apply them. There has also been a commendable recent trend in the developed world to include current bioscience and bioethics issues in the education syllabus. Such inclusion is vital to prevent prejudice from overriding justice in tomorrow’s increasingly complex and potentially dangerous environmental and ethical decision-making. (See ADAPTIVE THINKING, EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE, ENLIGHTENMENT THINKING, ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION, EXPERTISE, INTELLIGENCE, MEDICAL EDUCATION, MEMORY ENHANCEMENT, META-KNOWLEDGE, PROPAGANDA, RELIGIOUS EDUCATION) (IP & MP)