Environment at a Glance
Environment is defined as the total planetary inheritance and the totality of all resources this planet has. All the biotic and abiotic factors form our environment. The biotic factors are: birds, plants, animals, fisheries, and forests, etc. while the abiotic factors are air, water, land, etc. The main functions of this environment are:
The main functions of this environment are:
Environment supplies both renewable and non-renewable resources to us. Renewable resources are perennial and would never shrink away like trees in the forest, solar energy from the Sun, fishes in water bodies. Non-renewable resources are those which may deplete with time like petrol, coal, etc.
Environment sustains life on this planet by providing genetic and biodiversity.
The environment also provides us aesthetic services through the natural landscapes.
So, basically, we can say that everything surrounding us forms our environment and it is our duty to keep it safe and sound so that our future generation can also know the environment.
Environmental Hazards Done by Humans
The industrial revolution started in the 18th and 19th century in various pockets of the earth and our environment started getting depleted since then. We are now puppets in the hands of modernity and technology and this has led to some serious setbacks like ozone depletion and global warming.
Every year during summer you hear that “this is the record highest temperature in the past 5 or 10 years” and during winters, you hear, “It doesn’t feel like chilling winter season!” This is global warming in a layman sense. In a better way, you can put up global warming as the gradual rise in the average temperature of the lower atmosphere of the earth. Now, this rise has been noticed starkly after the Industrial Revolution which led to the emission of dangerous greenhouse gases like methane and carbon dioxide. See, everything works well in a balance and when this balance is disrupted it poses danger to the inhabitants. Nature was working in balance by absorbing carbon dioxide from human and giving oxygen in return. But with mass deforestation and large-scale pollution, there has been an imbalance which is getting worse day by day. In the past century, the rise in atmosphere temperature has been 1.1 degrees Fahrenheit. We have seen Tsunami, Tornado, and floods which are all connected to this imbalance. The rise in the sea water level due to the melting of polar ice is another danger we have to count.
Ozone depletion is another threat we have done to the environment. Ozone in the Ozonosphere works like a protective sheet for our earth by stopping the UV (ultraviolet) rays of the Sun. With increased use of air conditioners, refrigerators, or fire extinguishers the emission of CFC (Chlorofluorocarbons), chlorine, and bromine has also enhanced and it has led to some serious ozone depletion. We see more of skin diseases even skin cancers these days which is a result of this practice. There is a decrease in the phytoplankton also that is a key ingredient in maintaining the aquatic organisms.
And apart from these, there is a huge rise in diseases linked to our respiratory system. People look more aged than they are and all of these can be heaped upon this environmental degradation which me, you, or any Mr. Sharma or Miss Bansal or Mrs. Thakkar has done.
Campaigns for Saving the Environment:
People are reading about all these hazardous effects and educating each other so that we, the present generation leave some amount of green for posterity. Sustainable development is the newest approach which means that there should be an economic development that is conducted without depletion of natural resources and most government bodies support this. June 5th of each year is celebrated as World Environment Day and http://worldenvironmentday.global/ is saying “On 5 June, go outside and show us that you’re #WithNature. Breathe in the beauty and remember that by keeping our planet healthy, we keep ourselves healthy too”. The theme of this year is “CONNECTING PEOPLE TO NATURE”. So, “From your backyard to your favorite national park, nature is closer than you think. It’s time to get out and enjoy it” – this is prescribed by United Nations. Before taking a dip into the water or swinging in the lap of the mountains, we must make sure that the environment is clean and clear.
Here are a few campaigns which were taken up in various places to save the Nature.
1. Charity: Water
This is an NGO founded by Scotty Harrison whose sole aim is to provide clean and safe drinking water to people in developing nations. The organization was founded in 2006 and till now it has helped fund 19,819 projects in 24 countries, benefiting over 6.1 million people. This organization selects locations across the world which are in need around of safe water and thus they build water and sanitation services and reduce the time and effort required to collect water. The best part of this NGO is that 100% of public donations go to funding projects directly.
Food is one thing which perhaps we unintentionally waste on a daily basis. This is a global campaign to save the mass wastage of food. Because at the days end if you waste a certain amount of food it means you have wasted some energy, water, land, and also contributed in the emission of greenhouse gases. The website reports on the ways to cut down on food waste. Some of the large scale ideas was to encourage the food and beverage industry to use less packaging and consider less restrictive expiration dates. This amazing campaign was organized by the UN Environment Program, the FAO, and Messe Düsseldorf and it supports the Zero Hunger Challenge which is an initiative to stop world hunger.
3. Versova Beach Clean Campaign:
Ganesh Chaturthi is one of our big festivals and in Mumbai, this festival is an 11-day gala affair. The congregation of a large number of people who believe in a fun-filled immersion of the “Ganpati Bappa” into Arabian Sea water leaves the beaches of Mumbai in a state of dismay! So, a man named Afroz Shah took a pledge to clean that up. He started to pick up the garbage alone and later on other people, residents and NGO’s joined him. He founded this Versova Residents’ Volunteers and collected some 24,000 kg of garbage from the beach in 48th consecutive Sunday of the cleanup. Today after 85 weeks, and collecting 5000 tons of garbage, Versova Beach is clean. This has set an example in front of people who seem to be least bothered about tomorrow in a larger sense.
State of India’s Environment:
India is the home to approximately 17% the world’s human population and 20% of world’s livestock population on 2.5% world’s geographical area. The high density of population and livestock and the subsequent use of forestry, human settlements, agriculture, etc. is creating a pressure on the environmental resources. The per capita requirement of forest land is 0.47 hectare but we get only 0.08 hectare. Studies of soil erosion show that soil is being gnarled at a rate of 5.3 billion tons per year which leads to depletion of 0.8 million tons of nitrogen, 1.8 million tons of phosphorus and 26.3 million tons of potassium every year. India is one of the ten most industrially developed regions of the world and this has brought some serious hazards which must be checked now before it’s too late.
Measures at a small scale level for a large scale change:
As the law of Nature, we all move forward so one cannot expect to stop all the modern tools – right? But a sustainable developmental approach would solve these burning problems in a big way. For that, each and every one of us has to think like Mr. Afroz Shah, Mr. Sundarlal Bahuguna, or Ms. Medha Patekar. Take these small steps for a bigger change tomorrow:
– More use of non-conventional energies like solar energy, wind energy, or hydroelectricity.
– Use of LPG or Gobar Gas in rural areas and CNG in urban areas.
– Switching off your car while you are at red light traffic.
– More use of bio-degradable things like jute instead of plastic.
– Wear clothes that don’t require to be dry cleaned.
– On each birthday of every friend or family member, gift a plant instead of any other fancy things.
– Always turn off computers and not “energy saving mode” when not in use to save energy
– Use less of cloth dryer and hang clothes outside to dry them.
– Encourage rainwater harvesting.
– Don’t throw away wastes anywhere.
A small step today can become a big leap of tomorrow in keeping the environment clean and green for our future generations. Act now before it is too late!