Mathematics Will Save Planet Earth


Although we study mathematics from kindergarten to high school or college, many do not feel it is of much importance in our everyday life, if important at all. They are definitely not aware that mathematics is much more than a set of problems we need to solve in order to obtain high marks. It is one of the pillars on which the universe and all sciences are based; environmental balance is also based on some mathematical grounds. The role of mathematics in maintaining environmental balance is worthy of our attention, especially in light of the growing climate change crisis.

Environmental Chaos is the Basis of Its Order

An ecosystem might seem chaotic at first glance; living and non-living organisms interact and predate one another. Humans are exploiting everything so heavily that one might assume these organisms and resources will inevitably perish from overuse. Well, this assumption might turn true if the environmental balance is upset. However, the ecosystem is not chaotic at all; on the contrary, it is balanced by nature, and so are all its species and resources. For example, the percentage of oxygen is always 21% regardless of the continuing photosynthesis and breathing processes; here comes mathematics.

Have you heard of mathematical applications in ecology or mathematical ecology?

In ecology, mathematicians set models and laws that express how ecosystems work and the percentages within them. They aim to solve the problems of ecosystems, predict their development and growth, understand their behavior, and decipher the relations between different food chains. Hence, we can predict what should be done to preserve the environment.

For example, we all consume fish and might worry they may shrink in number, or even go extinct. Therefore, governments define marine protected areas where fishing is banned to conserve marine life. Moreover, a mathematician from Oregon State University has developed an equation that determines which marine protectorates can tolerate fishing. His work establishes a balance between the conservation of fish and supplying our demands. The mathematician hopes all the world governments use his equation to maintain environmental balance.

Our Attempts to Own Planet Earth Endangers Us

The conservation of all species around us is at the heart of maintaining environmental balance. Humans need biodiversity on Earth to go on. Since we do not own the Planet but share it with many other species, any disorder we cause would harm these species. Similarly, any wrong exploitation of non-living resources upsets the environmental balance. Problems associated with environmental imbalance puts human life at risk; the most prominent example is climate change.

In weather forecasts, we see colored maps that express the weather, mostly in red and yellow. These meteorological maps and models are based on mathematical statistics used in daily weather forecasts. Computer-assisted mathematical equations are used to make long-term predictions of climate changes. This allows time for governments to take the decisions needed to mitigate catastrophic climate events. As such, research in mathematics is essential for nations to face climate change. Scientific research develops mathematical tools and technologies, which help find rapid solutions to climate change and other environmental problems.

Mathematics helps us conserve species and the climate, and thus conserve environmental balance and Planet Earth as a whole. Therefore, we should seriously encourage students to study mathematics, instead of avoiding it. Mathematics should be related to our everyday life and problems, and research in the field must be developed.


The article was first published in print in SCIplanetWinter/Spring 2022 issue.

Cover image by Freepik.

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