Read this essay to learn about the human being, a rational and social partner in environmental action!
Man and environment are inter-related. The environment influences the life of human beings and also human beings modify their environment as a result of their growth, dispersal, activities, death and decay etc. Thus all living beings including man and their environment are mutually reactive affecting each other in a number of ways and a dynamic equilibrium is possible in between the two, i.e. human beings (society) and environment are interdependent.
The different social structures like industrial, agricultural, religious, aesthetic etc. have developed during various stages of human civilization and these structures represent human being’s accumulated cultural resources based on natural environment.
If the natural environment helped in the development of different structures of the society on the one hand, the existence and quality of environment now rests on the responses of these social structures to the environment on the other hand.
The burning issues like quality of environment, disruption of earth’s natural ecosystem, environmental degradation and pollution, ecological imbalances, depletion of resources etc. can be approached and solved only after considering the value judgments which may be determined by taking into account the consequences of ‘environmental improvement programme’ on the entire society and society’s response towards the improvement programme. Actually all these depend on the interest and desire of the society in improving the quality of environment.
The interaction between environment and society depends largely on the social and political system. Even the capitalistic and socialistic systems perceptions and reactions to the environment are quite different. The differential interactions are due to uneven distribution of natural resources, uneven economic and social development, dissimilarity of demographic factors, varying view points of the governments and individuals towards environment etc.
Continuous and exceedingly increasing rate of rapacious exploitation of natural resources, industrialisation, technological growth, unplanned urbanisation and profit oriented capitalism by the developed western world are responsible for grave environmental crisis and ecological imbalance not confined to their own countries but to the whole world.
The socialistic system of government gives more emphasis on the social importance of natural resources and environmental problems and the urgent need to tackle, these problems. Marxism preaches to organise society’s control over the rapacious exploitation of natural resources and to develop harmony between man and nature. The emphasis on rational exploitation of natural resources and ecological balance was in the constitution of USSR.
The changes in the relationship between man and environment depend upon the change in organisation and attitude of society. To improve environmental standard and to maintain ecological balance, the followings are some issues before the present civilized society.
1. Rapid population explosion:
Puts tremendous pressure on the natural resources and environmental quality. This is due to the fact that population growth leads to poverty which directly or indirectly declines the environmental standard.
2. Rational use of non polluted water resources:
The restoration of water quality of our water bodies and their optimum uses are the challenges before the present society.
3. To sustain and increase agricultural growth:
Without damaging environment. The over cultivation of soil, results in nutrient deficiency, lack of organic matter, soil salinity and damage to physical structure of the soil.
4. To check soil erosion:
The soil erosion can be prevented by the restoration of land or soil resources which are directly or indirectly related to strategies for the management of land, water and forest.
5. Restoration of forest resources:
The forest resources are depleting at a very faster rate in order to meet growing need of timber and farmland for the increased population. Vast forest areas have been converted into barren waste lands. So it is the need of the present society to restore our forest resources possibly through social forestry and afforestation programmes.
6. To check pollution:
The overexploitation of natural resources, intervention of bio-geochemical cycles and trace element cycle, extraneous release of matter and energy etc. cause serious environmental hazards.
In addition, continuous green house gas emission, hazardous chemicals of industry and agriculture, nuclear arsenals; radioactive wastes and biotechnological misuse lead to global catastrophism. So the prevention of pollution is of prime importance for the present society. Considering the above issues, it is clear that the fate of human being depends on how he is managing and overcoming the above problems.
Some possible ways of tackling the problems and maintaining environmental standard are:
(a) Taking effective measures for population control.
(b) Optimum use of natural resources.
(c) Conserving and protecting biodiversity.
(d) Creating public awareness about the benefits and implications of environment.
(e) Giving top priority for environmental protection.
(f) Developing ecofriendly technological processes.
(g) Promoting sustainable agriculture which will not harm the environment.
(h) Using bio-fertiliser or ecofriendly fertilisers.
(i) Using minimum amount of pesticides and insecticides.
(j) Developing waste land by adopting afforestation programmes.
(k) Developing suitable biotechnology to clean up hazardous wastes in the environment.
(l) Choosing suitable technique to treat the pollutants before their discharge into environment.