This word appeared in the French language for the first time around 1874, following the German usage proposed by Haeckel in 1866; however it seems that the American philosopher Thoreau, had already invented the word in 1852. Since then ecology has acquired two meanings:
It refers to a scientific discipline, dedicated to the study of more or less numerous sets of living beings interacting with their environment. The discipline of ecology started with a comprehensive study of the Mont Ventoux, in France, and about the same time with the development of limnology or the science of lakes, with studies in the vicinity of Madison, Wisconsin. In studying the interlinked totality of living beings and inert objects, ecology relies on the combination of both traditional and recent disciplines, mathematics (differential equations), thermodynamics, biochemistry etc.
Ecology also refers to the controversial ideological and political doctrine varying from author to author or group to group that aims at the protection of the environment through diverse means.