June 5–World Environment Day! Lots of environmental awakening two weeks prior to it, lots of events organized to celebrate this day. But do we really care to think and do our bit for environment post these celebrations of June 5?
Well, being an enlightened citizen of India and a post-graduate in Environmental Science from one of the most esteemed & premier institutions of the nation, I think it’s my duty to pull your attention to this burgeoning issue.
We keep reciting ‘environment’, ‘environmental degradation’ & other related jargons. Do all of us clearly know what these are? Or, we simply love being a part of the procession and raise the slogans?
As an environmentalist, I’m here to help some of us or rather most of us who don’t understand what environmental degradation is. In today’s time, the entire world is struggling against:
- The population boom
- Unsustainable resource utilization
- Non-inclusion of the environmental costs of economic goods and services in their market prices
- Less research and development in the field of environment as compared to other fields of science
This list can be supplemented by a gamut of other serious environmental issues but to be candid, the file size limit will be exceeded and still there would be no end to it. However, let us touch upon each one of the above listed environmental problems.
Curbing population boom is a big challenge for the entire world. In spite of the increased literacy rate around the globe, children are still seen as a ‘Gifts of God’ in a large number of developing countries such as India. In my opinion, the root cause of every environmental problem is the population explosion only. Since the carrying capacity of the living planet, our own Earth, is limited ( approximately 12 billion estimated by ecological footprint technique), an unnecessary strain is being put on the natural resources due to this strikingly serious environmental problem. Population–Environment balance has to be struck if we wish to gift our future generations a good and worth living life.
Population explosion is followed by poverty that leads to unsustainable resource utilization. To address the growing needs of the ever increasing population, inevitable unsustainable resource utilization takes place thereby leading to some grave environmental problems such as pollution of air, water, soil, radiation and noise, depletion of forest cover and wildlife, decreasing water table, global warming, climate changes etc. Finite resources if continued to be used at the current pace will soon be depleted and the human race and development of the civilization will be adversely affected to a remarkable extent.
The third primary environmental problem is to be tackled with a lot of prudence. Defining environmental goods and services seeks immediate attention. Then, their economic costs should be included in their market prices and further utilization should take place accordingly.
Mankind has progressed at an unimaginable pace. Social, economical, industrial, technological, medical developments have created waves and have eased the existence and survival of the human race. What lags behind then? It’s undoubtedly the environmental progress and development. When compared to the degree of advancement and research and development in other fields of science, negligible work has been done in the environmental field. More and more institutions should be equipped to educate the students and conduct research work to come up with some substantial advancements and progressive concepts, which can topple the platter of serious environmental issues.
Several secondary environmental problems have also cropped up due to urbanization and industrialization such as floods, draughts, epidemics, poverty, malnutrition, diseases, earthquakes, volcanoes, Tsunamis, erosion, extinction of wild animals and several species of plants.
But as the saying goes “There is no use crying over the spilt milk”, we should not waste any more time lamenting over the serious environmental concerns. In fact, it’s the time for us, every single citizen of the world, to pull up our socks and put our best possible endeavosr to fight the battle against such problems.
The environmental education I have acquired over these years equips me to come up with some ideas useful for a better and greener tomorrow.
Sustainable development can prove to be the greatest remedy for all the environmental problems that have cropped up. But understanding the meaning of this term in its truest sense is more important than just simply reciting it like a parrot in public.
Sustainable development actually means meeting the needs of the present generation without compromising with the needs of the future generation. This can only be achieved if we use our intellect in using the natural resources. This prevents the natural resources from being overstrained and overutilized.
Further if we wish to conserve our finite resources such as fossil fuels, scientific approach can give us the desired weapon to win the war. Solar energy can be harnessed to meet all the energy demands and also the wind energy can play a crucial role in this. Electricity, used for countless purposes, can efficiently be harnessed using the wind energy. Replacement of light bulbs with incandescent lamps saves a lot of energy that can be used for a number of other purposes. Unnecessary usage and waste of water and electricity should be avoided. People should walk more and use means of transport less to check the pollution trends.
For those of us who feel blessed to work in corporate environment must use video-conferencing over traveling for work, use double-sided printing and recycled paper, energy-efficient lightbulbs at our offices.
Putting a check on population explosion can prove to be quite instrumental since it is the root cause of every environmental problem. A balance has to be gained for effective sustainable development.
Factories vomiting poisonous particulates into the atmosphere should not be permitted to be set up in or near residential areas. Also, the wastage disposing technology used by them should be approved by the State and Central Pollution Control Boards.
Afforestation can redeem the problems of reducing forest cover and depletion of wildlife habitat and extinction of several endangered and vulnerable animal and plant species. This natural heritage is priceless. If it gets lost due to unchecked human intervention, cannot be recovered by any human effort. Further, problems of soil erosion and siltation of rivers leading to severe floods can also be avoided by planting of new trees every year.
Community participation is a must for such a cause. Multipurpose trees and plants should be planted every year using the unutilized tracts of land. Also, scientific research and development should be carried out to come up with biodiesel plants to meet the growing fuel demands of the society.
Last but not the least, more and more environmental awareness and sensitization should be made in the society. A serious check should be put on the verbal promises and arguments made by the politicians from time to time. It’s the time to translate our vision into action.
The Government of a developing nation such as India should provide ample environmental job opportunities to the environmental graduates and post graduates, who are environmentally alert and can make a difference to the environment by virtue of their environmental consciousness. Simply opening the professional environmental courses for the budding generation does not suffice for the cause. Utilizing that potential effectively is the need of the hour.
I hope this post throws some light on the major environmental problems, which seek immediate attention of mankind if we want to present our future generation with a greener and promising tomorrow.
Remember, Eco-anti situation has no gains
For coming generation, only invitation of pains!!!