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Why is emergy so difficult to explain to my ecology and environmental science friends?
Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Science, Technology and Media, Department of Ecotechnology and Sustainable Building Engineering.
2018 (English)Report (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Communication problems concerning the emergy concept, in an ecology/environmental science context are described. Problematic areas to communicate are identified, as 1) the different use of the energy concept, where adding up energies of different kinds are not accepted, 2) the size of tidal and deep heat emergy compared to solar energy, 3) the solar energy being represented by rainfall or land cycle, and 4) the view on value and connection to economics. Pedagogic experiences are shared regarding 1) how to communicate the energy hierarchy concept, 2) the communication benefits of decoupling the hypothesis' of energy hierarchy, maximum empower and pulsing, and 3) communication to economists regarding the emergy concepts relation to economics. Some larger contextual reasons influencing the communication are also identified as 1) the important paradigm shift in ecology during the 1970s, from a holistic ecosystem ecology to a reductionistic population and community ecology, and 2) the dualistic view of quantity and quality regarding the four main types of flows existing in systems (energy, mass, money and information), where useful qualitative measures seem to be missing as a complement to the quantitative measure of information in bits. The main recommendation from this paper is that even more carefulness is spent on explaining that the emergy concept relies on the theory of the energy hierarchy, with the implication that the energy concept is used in a slightly, but very important, different way than by most scientists.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Östersund: Mid Sweden University , 2018. , p. 11
Series
Ecotechnology working paper ; 2018-2a
Keyword [en]
ecosystem ecology, emergy, tidal energy, deep heat energy, pedagogy, energy hierarchy, maximum empower, pulsing, paradigm shift
National Category
Environmental Sciences Pedagogy
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:miun:diva-33513DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.2.36439.98725OAI: oai:DiVA.org:miun-33513DiVA, id: diva2:1199670
Available from: 2018-04-21 Created: 2018-04-21 Last updated: 2018-04-23Bibliographically approved

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Grönlund, Erik

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
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