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Environmental Education: Need of the Hour
4/1/2020 8:32:09 PM
Dr. Banarsi Lal
Dr. Pawan Sharma

In the present era the world is under threat. Whole world is suffering because of environmental degradation. Many new diseases and insects-pest are emerging causing difficulties for the living organisms to survive. Many species are on the verge of extinction. The food, water and air are contaminated or polluted. By having more knowledge on environmental education we can sensitize our future generations and encourage them to find out the innovative solutions to protect our nature. In order to protect our environment we need to create more and more awareness. If we use the natural resources in a sustainable manner only then our future generations will be safe. At the current rate of consumption of natural resources, natural resources will be depleted shortly. Environmental education helps us understand the repercussions caused by over exploitation and act accordingly. Our irresponsible use of the natural resources will leave our future generations to bear with the consequences of this exploitation. Environmental education helps us understand the importance of renewable energy. Non-renewable sources of energy like petrol, diesel etc. are the sources of pollution. Using renewable sources like solar energy, wind energy etc. encourages environmental education and is imperative in our fight against global warming. Governments have launched various projects to enhance the environmental education across the globe. Print and electronic media also play a significant role in creating awareness on environment education.
Education forms of basis of everything including environment. Environmental education is the most crucial concern for the human well being. Environmental education imparts knowledge about the current situation and future prospects of nature. We have 7 continents on planet earth. Every human being has only one dream which is to live better, to eat better and to consume better. But majority of them never care for the environment and planet Earth. Now we are more than 7 billion but we have only one planet to live and survive. We have limited food, limited place and limited shelters. If we keep on using natural resources as we are doing every day, a day will come when our own grand children shall be forced to live homeless with full of hunger. So it's better to consume the natural resources with care and responsibility. So, we should stop the wastage and use the natural resources according to our need not on our greed. Each of us knows the importance of nature. It consists of all the living beings on the earth, which are mutually interdependent on each other. But due to the excessive pollution caused by human beings, many species are becoming extinct and the global climate is also changing at a very rapid rate. The changing climate is inversely affecting our health and also going to give a long term effect on our future generations. We know that millions of people on the Earth depend on forest for their livelihood. Every living being is dependent on plants and trees. Only the plants and trees can make our food. But, we people are degrading the forests in a rapid rate.
Environment is one of the most important pillars of sustainable development. Environment protection is an essential part of development. Without adequate environment protection, development is useless. It has been estimated that by 2030 food production will need to double and industrial output and energy use will increase three times in the world and five times in the developing nations. This growth can bring the risk of appalling environmental damage. It can also bring with it better environment protection, clean air, water and eradication of poverty. Environmental damage affects the present and future human welfare. It affects human health and reduces agricultural productivity. Some problems are associated with the lack of economic development, inadequate sanitation, clean water and air pollution from biomass burning. Illegal cutting of forests is a matter of great concern. The lack of appropriate technology for maximum utilization of the raw materials, poor silvicultural practices, low recovery, low budgetary provision for forest operations have all hampered effective management. As a result fuel wood, timber, pole wood and carving wood are being exploited at unsustainable levels. Ecological degradation of wetlands together with pollution has resulted in the loss of flora and fauna. The high amount of fertilizers and other inputs required in agriculture for increasing the productivity has led to the degradation of the environment. Despite decades of warning about pollution and efforts to control it, people are still being exposed to toxic pollutants. Pollution from agricultural land caused by leaching of nitrogen fertilizers has been detected in the ground water in many areas. In Harayana, for example, some well water is reported to have nitrate concentration ranging from 114 mg. / litre to 1800 mg. /litre far above the national standard 45 mg. /litre. Government should monitor and implement policies to reduce pollution and environment degradation and to safeguard the natural system that supports renewable resources. Action should be taken for achieving a sustainable future. There is need to establish a sustainable development process. Environmental aspect assumes great significance in growing deforestation, soil erosion, land degradation, water pollution, biodiversity loss and the like which continue to worsen economic development of India. The common property resources which are mostly natural resources must be protected for the overall growth of the nation. Such efforts for preserving the natural resources not only lead to optimum utilization of natural resources but also generate more employment for the people. This initiative requires people's participation. For instance, afforestation activities cannot be successful without the help of local communities.
Rio-Earth Summit (1992) highlights the view that socio-economic development and environment protection are interdependent and mutually reinforcing processes. Recently, the healthy rural environment has encountered divergent environmental hazards as an addition to their existing issues of social and economic hardships. Such threats badly affect the local community which is the impetus behind research for alternative sources such as cultivation in marginal lands. It constitutes a growing class of environment refugees. Sustainable development is felt as a necessary intervention to fight against poverty, unemployment and other complicated problems. Sustainable rural development can promote growth and equity simultaneously and also promote the development of democratic process at the grass root level by creating awareness on social forestry, soil conservation, population control, protection of tanks, rural energy management, biodiversity, popularization of eco-friendly activities etc. Sustainable development on the one hand benefits local people and safeguards the flora and fauna of a particular region on the other. At this stage common property resources are important but they are being neglected. They should be protected and organized through people's participation. Common property resources can generate more employment opportunities. The sustainability of development for the people should dexterously and lucratively aim at motivating the people to get involved in community action and to ensure their participation in diverse and numerous environmental protection and optimum utilization of natural resources.
People's participation plays an inevitable role in driving the fruits of development schemes. It is an important instrument to augment the empowerment of the people. It increases the worthiness of the project by means of achieving a steady and balanced growth from within the best use of natural resources. Environmental issues cannot be solved unless the local people take part in it. Their participation will help in promoting wildlife conservation, afforestation and also in employment generation. Local people skill and manpower are needed to deal with the aftermath of environmental disasters. The problems confronted in the rural areas do not involve huge amount of money but the fullest involvement of the people with a commitment to solve the problems. For instance, sanitation is a chronic problem in rural areas but it cannot be solved by the various programmes of the government alone. It can also be solved by the joint efforts of the people. Afforestation and arresting of deforestation can be carried with the help of local people. Protection of environment is mainly in the hands of the people.
Environment protection is possible through effective participation of the people. It has been observed that unless the people are put at the core of any development activity, the relationship among the environmental development ceases to exist. It has been studied that people's participation is the most determining factor of biodiversity conservation. The participatory approach to environmental protection can be strengthened through the decentralized planning which provides opportunity for the different communities to effectively participate in the environmental activities. It has been observed that the rural people's level of environmental awareness and participation is important with respect to environmental endeavors. All the stakeholders should understand the present environmental crisis and find out suitable solutions to tackle this awful situation. The dictum, prevention is better than cure is more related o the present day's environmental issues as it is directly proportional to man's survival problems. Sustainable rural development hints at the rational use of scarce resources with the support of people. A multifarious strategy needs to be formulated to solve the environmental. A renowned environmentalist Sh. Anil Agarwal proposed a seven point environment agenda for India. The holistic approach towards the development needs to be followed through appropriate exploitation of natural resources.
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