Lesson: Vital Signs and Ecologies

Lesson: Vital Signs and Ecologies
An ecology and a happy vital sign

In this lesson: vital signs and ecologies we explore the ways that ecosystems express health and vitality. It’s actually very close to the way people express health and happiness. We need to just reframe a smile in terms of time and colorful life!

The Four Elements

In the ancient world, the prominent idea of life was encapsulated in the four elements: Air, Fire, Earth, Water. This is true in many cultures around the world. It’s true because it’s useful.

A quick introduction to the organic way in which all of these elements blend into each other. They are unique, but they also factor into each other. They are like us, more than the sum of their whole.


Does the ecosystem have access to enough fresh air and sunlight? Too much? Is the life burning, or in too much shade? Are the animals and plants thriving in their environment?

Air is the atmosphere, the sunlight, the moisture, and heat in that atmosphere. It is a part of all of the elements, but it is unique in that it is the medium life grows UP and into. Think of it as the space above.


Is there a proper amount of energy in this ecology? Is there life in the ground? Are the other animals living in harmony with this ecology?

People think fire means burning, but it actually references the amount of energy going into and out of a system. The fire is the sign of life. Growing plants with strong color, flowers, and roots and a variety of animals living in and amongst the ecology.


Is there enough water in this ecology? Are the leaves of the trees and the plants green? Is the soil moist, is the air dry?

Water is EVERYWHERE. It is the universal solvent. But as a solvent, just like when there is not enough water, there can be too much!

The microbes, and arthropods that live in the ecology can wither and dry and drown in the presence of water. Water will also pull the air into the soil so the roots can breathe. It can also jumpstart the chemical processes of life that converts wastes to nitrogen and allows roots to breathe and make sugars.


Just as the air has all the elements within it, so does earth. Earth is the matrix that is the life below the air and infused with fire and water. The Earth element has active fire/chemistry and water elements as well as air!

The air belongs in the soil of a healthy ecology of the Earth. It’s also true that there is Earth in the air! That’s what causes rain, and then the particulates can also cause lightening.

Dust, dirt, life, water, chemistry all unite to create soil. The Earth that provides the base sustenance for all of the other elements of the healthy ecology is the key indicator. It starts with the earth and then grows up and through the other elements.

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