Connected "Ecosystem"

STEAM

To learn more about this topic: you can watch the video or read the information below.

 

The four topic pages illustrate just how truly connected all systems are that we rely on every day.

CONSIDER A SLICE OF PIZZA AT FIRST GLANCE, it seems pretty basic — dough, tomato sauce and cheese. But if you consider where they came from, those three ingredients have a rich story to tell. Think of the water and energy that go into these three everyday items. You need water to grow the wheat that’s milled into flour, you add water to the flour and yeast to make the dough, you need water to produce the gooey mozzarella and it takes water to grow the tomatoes that make up the sauce. You don’t see this “hidden water” in your slice of pizza, but it’s there. There’s the energy that goes directly into baking the pie, but there’s also the hidden energy that goes into farming the crops (think tractors, and fossil fuels required to produce fertilizers and pesticides), processing and distributing the ingredients, and even the energy that was required to manufacture the pizza oven. You may not have realized it, but even a simple slice of pizza involves a global distribution network, industrial agriculture, fossil fuels and a lot of water. That’s the food, water and energy nexus in a slice.

Food, water, energy and waste systems are all interconnected. As you have read on the prior topic pages: when these systems come into conflict with each other there are consequences for public health, the economy and the natural world. Events like drought, oil spills and rising food prices all underscore their relationships. The more you dig into these interconnections the more of a riddle they seem, but don’t be overwhelmed. What we do every day affects the “ecosystem” and in turn, affects our everyday life. By thinking more broadly about these interconnections, we can build a more sustainable future.

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