Say “Green”! – Zujanbeni Lotha, Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology

Nagas have been blessed with a flourishing natural environment, and our love for it has often been coupled with our love to capture it on camera. But of late, even finding a decent clean and green place for a beautiful shot seems grim. The environment around us plays a major role in our continued existence. However, when we look at what’s happening today, the way we seem to exploit it is far greater than the protection it gets. We need to help our environment exist and we need to learn how to save our beautiful mother earth.

Say “Green”! 

Society and environment are two different things but related concepts. Every society has its own environment on which it survives. Society is related to environment through adaptation and exploitation- adaptation to some elements on which one has no control over and exploitation of natural resources for one’s survival. Environment here is inclusive of all the elements found on earth in any form. Both biotic and abiotic components of the environment need society to care and protect them. Environment provides all that the society needs but they are exploited mercilessly for human unlimited wants. The relationship between society and environment can be clearly seen from the hunting and food-gathering societies till the present urban-industrial societies. Every society is blessed with rich natural resources which have been replaced by exploiting it in a way of building dams, cities, roads and industries which pollute the environment. It is also a matter of distinguishing between the poor and the rich, developed and developing countries. Nature’s benefit is not accessed equally by all sections of society. The rich enjoying all the modern facilities while the poor struggle to make fire with dung and so on. Rich people are becoming richer at the cost of environment. Population explosion is another serious problem which affects the environment to a great extent, where human beings render less attention in using the gift of nature judiciously.

Setting up of industries would not only bring more jobs in the developing countries but would also pump money into the economy. This is what the developed countries like the U.S, U.K etc did in the 20thcentury which in turn increased their income and improved the standard of living of the people. However, experts are of the view that taking care of a million people who are starving is more important than saving the natural resources, most of which are renewable. The developing countries cannot share the green concerns of the developed countries which will put a gap on the emissions as it is fighting a constant battle with an enemy (poverty) that can be defeated only by industrialization.
 The most important issues facing our environment right now are the depletion of ozone layer, global warming and the subsequent rising sea levels caused by the rapid melting of glaciers in the Antarctica, pollution, land degradation, extinction of species etc. Industrialization is directly responsible for pollution and increase in the global warming. Factories worldwide are responsible for releasing pollutants like carbon monoxide, sulphurdioxide, nitrogen oxides etc. into the atmosphere which is the prime reason why the ozone layer is depleting. With the rise in the income levels across the world, more and more people are buying vehicles which are adding up to the pollution in the atmosphere. The soil is getting degraded by chemicals like chlorinated hydrocarbons and metals like cadmium, lead and benzene. Large scale use of fertilizers are also making the land unfit for agriculture. Trees are being cut either for wood or for making roads and buildings. The rate of cutting of trees is more in the developing countries.

Environmentalists are of the view that in order to preserve the earth for our future children and grandchildren, the developing world will have to start practicing sustainable development which will put a gap on their emission on a yearly basis. The earth cannot support the kind of unrestricted growth which is being seen in the developing world today. The cordial relationship between society and environment starts to degrade as man learns to exploit nature for his selfish gain to have a comfortable life. Most human beings only know how to feed on environment and can do little or nothing to improve our environment. The more environment omnivores rise the more degradation it will be done to environment if they have less knowledge of replenishing the damage done on it. It is obvious that there will not be any development without damaging the environment but consequences should be thought of first before damaging it. Although, it may be impossible to completely stop environmental damage, but it is important to counter the negative influence of development on the environment. For instance, the loss due to deforestation activity must be resurrected with an equal afforestation and by providing a similar habitat to the affected humans as well as animals at another location to maintain the ecological balance. The Chipko Movement or the hugging of trees by the women in the Himalayan region to protect the trees from the hands of the contractors is significant in saving the earth. More of such movements are needed in every region as deforestation is apparent in our present day. Destroying forest is also risking the lives of wild plants and animals. All men live on the same planet hence any destruction on environment anywhere affects the whole earth, so let us think of any alternative measures to recover any loss to our earth before harming it. I am sure even the nature cries when they are destroyed by humans. It is therefore the knowledge of and respect for the intricacy of the web of life which will guide man to his highest destiny.

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