Environmental studies are a multi-disciplinary approach that tries to appreciate the integrity of our natural world and also focuses the human impacts on nature. It is a practical study for creating sustainable civilization on the earth. It is essential for human beings to realize that all villages, towns or cities in which people live now were natural landscapes later modified by man. Human beings get food and other resources directly or indirectly from certain natural resources. Human beings are a part of the web of life and they take resources from the environment around them. It is important for human beings to keep our environment intact. Traditionally, environment is considered as “Mother Nature” and many cultural beliefs highlight the need for preserving and respecting the environment. India has always upheld the need for preserving nature. Emperor Ashoka’s edict that considers all forms of life as important for our well-being testifies to it. But for the past 200 years, there has been an understanding that technological innovations would be able to increase productivity. But these methods have led to environmental degradation. Most of the natural resources like water, minerals etc. are used for industrial developments as well as for improving agriculture. Non-renewable products like minerals and oils would get exhausted and renewable products cannot be regenerated quickly if they are used without any regulations. Thus, there is a need for sustainable development so that these resources would sustain for a long period of time. It is important for human beings to become increasingly concerned about the environment and they should try to change their ways of life. Most of us engage in open exploitation of resources. It is essential for human beings to ask these questions when they use any resources.
The questions are:
- What is the rarity of the resource and where does it originate?
- Who uses it most intensively and when?
- How is it overused or misused
- Who is responsible for its improper use the resource collector, the middleman, the end user?
- How can we help to conserve it and prevent its unsustainable use?
Environment is not a simple subject and to understand its different aspects one must gather knowledge in different fields like biology, physics, population issues, chemistry, economics, resource management and geography. The resources available are limited and the products of nature act as the life support system for humans. Misuse of resources, creation of products like plastic, extensive use of resources, garbage accumulation etc., have negative impacts on nature. Solid and liquid wastes pollute water, air and soil. These waste items can create a lot of diseases and adverse environmental effects. Respiratory and gastrointestinal diseases are caused by air and water pollution. Cancer is caused by many forms of pollution. Each person should consider it as his or her responsibility to preserve and protect the environment.