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In modern civilization, one of the biggest challenge lies before man in protection of environment. Environment refers to the sum total of all conditions that are essentially required for the survival of life forms. The environmental processes form the basis of resource management and economic development. With economic development, comes the problem of environmental degradation. The mad-race after materialism compels man to exploit the natural resources thoughtlessly without taking into consideration of the inevitable consequences relating to the life of human species on earth. In today’s world, it is of paramount need to create environmental awareness among all the sections of society. The most relevant to the subject is a Chinese perception about education which says: “if you plan for one year, plant rice, if you plan for ten years, plant trees, but you plan for one hundred years, educate the people”. In fact, education is to be regarded as investment of the highest order which, in time to come, becomes as asset. Most people recognize the urgent need for environmental education, but only some have clear ideas about what needs to be done and the very few have either the actual experience or the knowledge about the course that need to be taught. The environmental education is necessary to create consciousness of the environment which is necessary to protect all the life forms found on Earth. Environmental consciousness should form teaching in schools and colleges. This aspect will be integrated in the entire educational process.
Historical Reference: Since time immemorial, Indian Culture has endorsed the fact that the life owes its existence and obtains its sustenance from environment. The people of ancient times lived in harmony with their ecosystem. They did not exploit natural resources recklessly and the natural produced more than enough for everybody. During ancient times, man has been continuously exploiting and struggling with nature. Also man has conserved the nature by worshiping the plants e.g., Peepal tree, Banana tree as religious ones, so is with animals, like Cow, Lion, Rat etc. water is also worshipped as ‘Jal Devta’ which protects the environment indirectly. According to an older ethics: ‘O’ mother earth! Enrich me with the wisdom so that I should not damage or degrade you, whenever I dig-out, should quickly be regenerated and covered with greenery”.
The history of environment protection may be linked with the history of civilization. The 4,000 years old Agnipuram, mentions that a man should protects trees to ensure material prosperity 2,500 years ago, Gautam Buddha preached that a man must plant trees every five years (India gave birth to Gautam Buddha in a sacred grove of ‘SAL tree’ dedicated to the goddess “Lumina”, Buddha attained salvation under creations on Earth and stated “the forests are a peculiar organism of unlimited kindness and benevolence that makes on demand for its sustenance and extends generosity through its products of life activity. It affords protection to all beings offering shade to even axe man, who destroys it. The great epics of Ramayana and Mahabharata give attractive description of forests like Dandakaranya, Mandavam and Khandvan. The supreme God of Indus Valley was supposed to live under papal (Ficus) tree. Even our ancient Vedas and Upanishads advocate the ecological and environment values e.g.
“The whole universe together with its creatures belongs to the Lord (Nature)….Let no one species encroach over the rights and privileges of other species.”
In India, people have been conscious about environmental problems ever since vedic times. It is clearly mentioned on the ancient scriptures that nature and human kind form an inseparable part of the life support system. This system has five elements-air, water, land, flora and fauna, which are interconnected, interrelated and interdependent and have co-existed. All these caused the problem of Environmental Pollution.
The first indication of forestry administration is found in 300 B.C. during Chandra Gupt Mauraya’s reign, when a superintendent of forest was appointed to protect forest and wild life. Nund Rishi, the saint of ‘Char-e-shareef’ preched that there would be enough food only when there were forests. Similarly Lam Boji the founder of ‘Vishnoi Sect’ in the desert of Rajasthan was preaching that to survive in desert, green trees should not be felled and no animals and birds are killed.
The first environmental law was enacted in 1810, when Napoleon ordered, that measures are taken by all factories to prevent damage or any kind of trouble to neighbours, crops, buildings etc. However, it was only during the past thirty to forty years, that our world has really become, “environment conscious”.
Environment: The environment consists of both physical and non-living (abiotic) and living (biotic) component. The biotic component of environment includes forces of nature (wind and gravity), conditions (time factor, temperature and light) and non-living materials (soil and water). The living or biotic components of environment includes biological surrounding, their reaction, interactions and interrelated actions. The environment can be defined as the “sum total of air, water and land and the interrelationships that exist among them and with the human beings, other living organisms and property”. Online education or awareness about the environment is necessary because it may help arouse, social consciousness and make community aware of the fact that the good of the individual and that of community lies in the protection of environment.
Design by Mohit Bhardwaj
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