Ontological view of the natural environment

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Knowledge is the information concerning the environment that individuals acquire in order to not only interacts with each other, but also with their surroundings. Knowledge can be acquired through a diverse number of ways and these include observation, formal, and informal learning. The acquisition of knowledge is one of the most fundamental ways through which human beings are able to learn about how they should interact with different aspects of the natural environment (Hofer and Pintrich, 1997). This process is continuous, beginning at infancy, and might last until such a time as the individual dies. In addition, knowledge has become an essential aspect of the way that individuals all over the world are able to interact and this is to such an extent that it has become a fundamental means of making sure that information from one generation to another is transmitted (Berney and Blane, 1997). It also allows individuals to ensure that individuals have a basis through which further information concerning the human experience can be developed, and applied in a useful way. A consequence is that knowledge is an important aspect of human life because it is what sets them apart from other animal life, and makes them the most dominant species in the world.

Obtaining knowledge is an essential aspect of human life, especially in the contemporary world. This is because having knowledge allows individuals to achieve a higher level of economic and social independence and mobility that is not available for those individuals with little knowledge. Knowledge can be obtained formally by going through an academic institution so that one is able to acquire knowledge that is considered a necessity when it comes to being competitive in the contemporary world (Olssen* and Peters, 2005). This is the most common form of knowledge because it has been recognized by all government s in the world as being essential for their economic development. However, there are forms of knowledge that cannot be acquired formally, and these have to be taught informally. Prior to the acquisition of the contemporary education system, knowledge was transmitted in informal settings. Aboriginal communities transmitted knowledge concerning their culture and environment informally through interactions between the older and younger generations (Brosius, 1997). A consequence was that the practices that were undertaken by aboriginal communities were transmitted informally from generation to generation; ensuring that there was a sense of continuity when undertaking diverse aspects of life (Sillitoe, 1998). However, despite the manner of obtaining it, knowledge is an essential part of human life that cannot be divorced from both communal and individual experiences.

The natural environment is extremely important when it comes to the survival of human beings and all other organisms in the world. This is because its existence allows for the acquisition of basic needs that are required for the survival of all species. A consequence is that the natural environment needs to be conserved and used sustainably in order to ensure that the world is saved from the dire consequences that might come about if there are no conservation efforts. The conservation of the natural environment is one of the most debated issues all over the globe, with international institutions and forums taking the lead. A consequence is that a majority agree that it is essential for the natural environment to be conserved because it is what determines whether the human species will continue to survive. One of the main concerns about the natural environment is the effects of human activity on it. This concern comes about because studies have shown that human activities are mainly responsible for the degradation of the natural environment (Rondinelli and Berry, 2000). A large number of plant and animal species have consequently ended up either becoming extinct or are essentially approaching extinction. The conservation of the natural environment can only be achieved through collaboration between businesses and individuals in order to make sure that there is the achievement of responsible practices that will prevent environmental degradation (Dauvergne and Lister, 2012).

Traditional methods of gathering knowledge involve the interaction between the individuals involved with their environment. Traditional methods tend to involve a long process that can sometimes take generations. This is especially considering that knowledge is not only transmitted informally from one generation to another, but also through the experiences of individuals (Stubbs, 1996). A consequence is that traditional methods include both generational and personal experiences that are essential for the advancement of knowledge. Western scientific methods, on the other hand, rely heavily on the evidence that has been collected during specific studies, meaning that while the knowledge collected might be precise, it is still quite limited when compared to the traditional methods. The scientific method seek to make sure that there is the advancement of knowledge in specific areas, and the time for accomplishing these tasks tend to be quite limited (Sardar, 1994). While there might be a reliance on previous studies when using scientific methods, it is not as extensive as in traditional methods, which relies heavily on knowledge gathered over generations. However, western scientific methods have an advantage over traditional methods because they are completely objective in the gathering of knowledge so that they encourage evidence-based knowledge.

The management of natural resources is an essential aspect of making sure that there is the establishment of sustainable practices. In the management of natural resources in Australia, knowledge gathered using scientific method is often used because it is considered the most objective. The objectivity of scientific methods is trusted in making sure that there is the advancement of greater efficiency in the process. Despite the use of knowledge from scientific methods, knowledge from traditional methods do not seem to be used as extensively in managing natural resources. The reduced input of traditional knowledge is of considerable concern because it shows that the management effort might end up not being able to cover all the aspects needed to become successful. It is essential for knowledge gathered using both traditional and scientific methods to be applied in order to bring about a higher level of efficiency.

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  1. Berney, L. R. & Blane, D. B., 1997. Collecting retrospective data: accuracy of recall after 50 years judged against historical records. Social science & medicine, 45, 1519-1525.
  2. Brosius, J. P., 1997. Endangered forest, endangered people: environmentalist representations of indigenous knowledge. Human Ecology, 25, 47-69.
  3. Dauvergne, P. & Lister, J., 2012. Big brand sustainability: Governance prospects and environmental limits. Global Environmental Change, 22, 36-45.
  4. Hofer, B. K. & Pintrich, P. R., 1997. The development of epistemological theories: Beliefs about knowledge and knowing and their relation to learning. Review of educational research, 67, 88-140.
  5. Olssen*, M. & Peters, M. A., 2005. Neoliberalism, higher education and the knowledge economy: From the free market to knowledge capitalism. Journal of education policy, 20, 313-345.
  6. Rondinelli, D. A. & Berry, M. A., 2000. Environmental citizenship in multinational corporations: social responsibility and sustainable development. European Management Journal, 18, 70-84.
  7. Sardar, Z., 1994. Conquests, chaos and complexity: The Other in modern and postmodern science. Futures, 26, 665-682.
  8. Sillitoe, P., 1998. The development of indigenous knowledge: a new applied anthropology 1. Current anthropology, 39, 223-252.
  9. Stubbs, M., 1996. Text and corpus analysis: Computer-assisted studies of language and culture, Blackwell Oxford.
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