Understanding the Environment – Human’s life can not be separated from their environment. Both the natural environment and the social environment. We need air to breathe from the environment around us. Eating, drinking, keeping healthy, everything involves the environment.
The environment is a combination of physical conditions that include the state of natural resources such as land, water, solar energy, minerals, and flora and fauna that grow on land and in the ocean, with institutions that include human creations such as decisions on how to use the physical environment. The environment can also be interpreted as everything that is outside or around humans and affects the development of human life.
Environmental experts define that the environment (environment or habitat) is a complex system in which various factors influence each other reciprocally.
The following is the definition of the environment according to experts:
1. Emil Salim
According to Emil Salim, the environment is defined as objects, conditions, circumstances and influences contained in the space we occupy and affect living things, including human life. The definition of the environment according to Emil Salim can be said to be quite broad. If these limits are simplified, the environmental space is limited by factors that can be reached by humans, such as natural, political, economic and social factors.
Soedjono defines the environment as the physical or physical environment found in nature. This understanding explains that humans, animals and plants are seen and considered as physical manifestations of the body. According to Soedjono’s definition, the environment includes the living environment of humans, animals and plants in it.
3. Munadjat Danusaputro
The environment is all objects and forces and conditions including humans and their actions that are contained in the space where humans are located and affect the survival of others. Thus, the living environment includes two environments, namely the physical environment and the cultural environment.
4. Otto Soemarwoto
Otto Soemarwoto argues that the environment is all objects and conditions that exist in the space we occupy and affect our lives. According to these limitations, theoretically the space in question is not limited in number. As for practically the space in question is always limited according to the needs that can be determined.
5. Sambas Wirakusumah
The environment is all aspects of biological external conditions, where living organisms and environmental sciences become the study of environmental aspects of that organism.
The definition of the environment does not only come from experts, but the definition is also included in the law, namely Law Number 32 of 2009 concerning Environmental Protection and Management. In this law, the environment is defined as a unity, and living things include humans and the welfare of humans and other living creatures.
According to Law Number 32 of 2009 it is implied that it is the environment that affects living things, including humans. Humans should realize that it is nature that gives life and livelihood, either directly or indirectly, with others and with the plant community.
- The environment is divided into 2, namely: Biotic components are everything that is animate, such as animals, plants, microbes, humans and micro-organisms (viruses and bacteria).
- Abiotic components are inanimate things such as soil, air, water, climate, humidity, light, sound, and energy.
The science that studies the environment is environmental science or ecology. Environmental science is a branch of biology.
Based on trophic or nutritional terms, the biotic components in the ecosystem consist of two types as follows.
- Component autotrophic (autotrophic). The word autotrophic comes from the Greek words autos meaning self, and trophikos meaning providing food. Autotrophic components, namely organisms that are able to provide or synthesize their own food in the form of organic materials derived from inorganic materials with the help of chlorophyll and the main energy in the form of solar radiation. Therefore, organisms that contain chlorophyll are included in the autotroph group and in general are plants. In the nutrophic component, there is binding of solar radiation energy and the synthesis of inorganic materials into complex organic materials.
- Heterotrophic component (heterotrophic). The word heterotroph comes from the word hetero which means different or different, and trophikos which means providing food. Heterotrophic components, namely organisms whose life always uses organic materials as food ingredients, while the organic materials used are provided by other organisms. So, heterotrophic components obtain food from autotrophic components, then some members of these components decompose complex organic materials into simple inorganic materials. Thus, animals, fungi, microorganisms are included in the heterotrophic component group.
Odum (1993) suggests that all ecosystems in terms of their basic structure consist of four components. A similar statement was also made by Resosoedarmo et al. (1986) that the ecosystem in terms of its composition consists of four components, namely abiotic components, biotic components which include producers, consumers, and decomposers. Each of these components is described as follows:
- Abiotic components (inanimate or non-biological objects), namely physical and chemical components consisting of soil, water, air, sunlight, and so on in the form of a medium or substrate for the continuation of life. According to Setiadi (1983), the biotic components of an ecosystem can include compounds from inorganic elements such as soil, water, calcium, oxygen, carbonates, phosphates, and various bonds of organic compounds. In addition, there are also physical factors involved such as water vapor, wind, and solar radiation.
- Producer components, namely autotrophic organisms which are generally green plants. Producers use solar radiation energy in the photosynthesis process, so they are able to assimilate CO and H20 to produce chemical energy stored in carbohydrates. This chemical energy is actually a rich source of carbon compounds. In the process of photosynthesis, oxygen is released by green plants and then utilized by all living things in the respiration process.
- Consumer components, namely heterotrophic organisms such as animals and humans that eat other organisms. So, what are referred to as consumers are all organisms in an ecosystem that use synthetic products (organic materials) from producers or from other organisms. Based on these categories, consumers include all types of animals and humans contained in an ecosystem. Consumers can be classified into: first consumers, second consumers, third consumers, and micro-consumers (Resosoedarmo et al., 1986; Setiadi, 1983).
- The first consumers are herbivores, which are animals that eat green plants. Examples of organisms that include herbivores are insects, rodents, rabbits, antelope, cattle, buffalo, goats, zooplankton, crustaceans, and molluscs.
- The second consumers are small carnivores and omnivores. Small carnivores, which are animals that are smaller in body size than large carnivores and eat other living animals, such as dogs, cats, granny, coyotes, prenjak, starlings, and crows. Omnivores, namely organisms that eat herbivores and plants, such as humans and sparrows.
- The third consumer is the large carnivores (higher carnivores). Large carnivores, namely animals that eat or prey on small carnivores, herbivores, or omnivores, such as lions, tigers, wolves, and eagles.
- Microconsumers are plants or animals that live as parasites, scavengers, and saprobes. Both plant and animal parasites depend on food sources from their hosts. While scavengers and saproba live by eating the carcasses of animals and plants that have died.
- Decomposers components, namely microorganisms whose lives depend on organic matter from dead organisms (animals, plants, and humans that have died). Decomposing microorganisms generally consist of bacteria and fungi. Based on the stages in the process of decomposing organic matter from dead organisms, decomposing organisms are divided into decomposers and transformers (Setiadi, 1983). Decomposers, namely microorganisms that attack animal carcasses and dead plant remains, then break down complex organic matter into simpler bonds, and the decomposition process is called humification which produces humus. Transformers, namely microorganisms that continue the decomposition process by converting simple organic bonds into inorganic materials that are ready to be reused by producers (plants), and the decomposition process is called mineralization which produces nutrients.
The environment, in Indonesia is often also called “the environment”. For example in Law no. 23 of 1997 concerning Environmental Management, the definition of the Environment is the unity of space with all objects, forces, conditions, and living things, including humans, and their behavior, which affect the survival and welfare of humans and other living creatures. as everything that is around humans or living things that have reciprocal and complex relationships and influence each other between one component and another.
- Law no. 23 of 1997 concerning Environmental Management