“One of the first conditions of happiness is that the link between man and nature shall not be broken.” –Leo Tolstoy
Every human being has a natural impulse to develop, nurture, or step forward. “Development” is an expression belonging to the area of economics and has at the present time acquired a central and unique importance. In 21st century terms like development, modernization, growth, progress have become paramount concepts whose usefulness is outside the purview of any challenge and therefore anything that questions these miraculous concepts are not accepted rather it is shunned. With the passage of time the question of development and its impact on the environment became more dominant. It was realized that our environment is being effected adversely and causing damage to life and property on the earth.
DEVELOPMENT v. DEGRADATION
A debate regarding protecting and preserving our environment has been prevalent since a long time, along with a high level of legislative activity in India in the sphere of environmental development. In 1984, because of Bhopal gas disaster Environment Protection Act 1986, came into force. Though there are lot many agreements like conventions or treaties which are the results of various reforms and regulations but that have been disappointing. Moreover, mechanism with regard to the implementation of rules and regulations have also been futile which
reflects the degrading treatment of our environment only.
Keeping in mind the ecological balance and progress, the recent developmental works must not be put under a scanner, so that the whole idea of environmental up-gradation get threatened. There are concrete schemes and strategies with regard to afforestation, there are many legislation’s related to the control of water and air pollution and for preservation of forests. India has taken many attempts to preserve tigers and because of that India has been praised worldwide for its attempt but there is a huge problem with the entire range of activities which does not seem to reflect a comprehensive understanding of the relationship between development and environment. In this regard much less has been done and little efforts towards it has taken place so as to harmonize human want with that of the process of development and maintenance of environmental balance.
The political debate in India, concentrates on two issues which are growth and maintaining sustainability. In today’s world there is a challenge to find out the process of development that will lead to equity, growth and sustainability. The nature or environment is not just about the trees, forests or wildlife. It is such an important entity upon which the entire world subsist and on which development of agriculture and industry depends.
At the cost of environment, development can take place but up to a certain limit otherwise it will be like a foolish person who was trying to cut the very branch of a tree on which he was sitting. Development in today’s word is very crucial but at the same time there has to be a concern for the protection of environment at large otherwise in the long run there can be only anti development and can go only at the cost of enormous human sufferings.
Many actions have taken place in the name of protection of environment like, Mitti Bachao Abhiyan, Chipko Movement, etc; but in true sense environmental protection perse is of least concern because those movements were only about how to use the environment and who will get the benefit. Therefore, we can find out the growing understanding of the relationship between the people and their environment, born out of a concern for a more equitable and sustainable use of the environment and probably that would be a most fascinating development in India.
If India fails to recreate nature on a massive scale in a manner that generates employment, not only to its rural areas, but also its cities will become uninhabited. Many people prefer to call the urban migrants economic refugees from the countryside. But in my opinion many of them are really ecological refugees, displaced by dams, by mines, by deforestation, by destruction of grazing lands, by floods, by droughts, by urban expansion and so on and so forth. India has today the world’s fourth largest urban population, but before the end of
the century it will be the largest. Managing this huge urban population will call for extraordinary political and managerial sagacity and altogether new approaches, something we cannot learn from the rest of the world. But one thing is definite — if the process of urbanization continues to create the same demands on our rural environment, it will only accelerate the destruction of that environment and in turn make the urban environment impossible to manage and a whole mankind would be at stake. India could not survive without efficient energy, adequate resources and equally balanced urbanization.
Thus, in conclusion we can aptly remark that despite various legislation’s passed by our parliament as well as several international obligations, a more holistic approach should be implemented for its enforcement on the part of the government, common mass and scientists as a whole. Now the time has come where the scientists also shall have to play a very important and dynamic role through their inventions for environmental protection with an environment friendly approach which is need of the hour, so that various stakeholder associated with the mammoth task of preserving and protecting our environment would be able to adopt more proactive measures to make our society a better place to live in .
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