Ecosystems function through connected system of cycles. We rely on many systems for the natural resources we use. In human history we have created problems by forming linear systems as opposed to a cyclic system. Here we compare the life cycle of a butterfly which is a circular cycle to the life cycle of an aluminum can.
Depending on human actions, the life cycle of an aluminum can may be linear or circular.
If we throw away our aluminum can in the garbage, that can has reached the end of its life. Instead if we recycle, that aluminum is used again creating a completely closed loop cycle.
Compare the closed loop of the recycled aluminum can to the closed loop of the butterfly life cycle.
Consider other natural cycles impacted by our daily lives. Learn more about these systems to find ways you help to make cycles circular instead of linear.
The Water Cycle
The Everglades ecosystem has been impacted by changes to the water quality, quantity, timing and distribution throughout the region. The South Florida Water Management District is responsible for protecting the water cycle of the Everglades.
The Phosphorus Cycle
The Everglades are naturally a nutrient poor ecosystem. Humans have added excess amounts of phosphorus to the ecosystem indirectly. The use of large amounts of phosphorus for farming and landscaping has had serious consequences in this fragile ecosystem. Learn more at Friends of the Everglades. This foundation was created by Marjory Stoneman Douglas, the mother of the Everglades.
Making aluminum cans from recycled aluminum takes 95% less energy than making cans from virgin ore.
Aluminum is the most valuable thing in your blue bin and can be recycled an infinite number of times.
How the Solid Waste Authority Sorts Your Recyclables
Inspirational Leader: Jacques Cousteau
Captain Jacques-Yves Cousteau dedicated his life to learning about the oceans and sharing that with the world. In 1943, Cousteau worked with engineer Emile Gagnan to develop the first scuba diving technology, the breakthrough allowing humans to explore the marine world. Travelling the globe aboard Calypso, Coutseau shared his discoveries through films of their adventures. The missions documented pollution, over-exploitation of resources and coastal development.
Learn more about the legacy of this scientific explorer and what the Cousteau Society is doing to help aquatic ecosystems.