Human Life and Environment

The environment is the most valuable component of human life because it has an efficacious interconnectedness of life on both the living and non-living things. What we do to our planet is what we do to ourselves. Human life is dependent on the environment for survival on earth. The environment is a vast trove of resources such as air, shelter, food, and water. The ecosystem that includes all the plants, animals, birds, reptiles, insects, water bodies, fishes, human beings, trees, microorganisms and many more altogether constitute the environment. Besides the basic three divisions such as the physical, social, and cultural environment, Today, we are surrounded by the artificial environment created for ourselves such as buildings, air-conditioned rooms, streets, shopping complexes, vehicles emitting poisonous gases, dust, etc. All these assets, on one hand, signify our luxurious life whereas on the other, baneful and human-centred nature of man. 

Over the years, innumerable environmentalists and philosophers have shifted and encouraged others to shift towards a nature centred approach. This brings the anthropocentrism and non-anthropocentrism approaches to light. Whilst anthropocentric approach sees man as the centre of the universe and all other animals and components in terms of their instrumental values, non-anthropocentrism sees the natural components, biotic as well as abiotic in terms of intrinsic values. The work of Aldo Leopold, “A Sandy County Almanac”, especially see ‘land’ as a ‘community and not as a commodity. Rachel Carson is another thinker who has extended her thoughts to the world by asserting the importance of being friendly with animals rather than killing them for their flesh and skin. 

Franklin D. Roosevelt opines that “A nation that destroys its soil destroys itself. Forests are the lungs of our land, purifying the air and giving fresh strength to our people.” However, the environment is not given the respect it deserves. Man has become a poacher of nature to satisfy his economic and physical needs. The pollution of the environment has choked all the resources required to sustain the life of living things and therefore affecting negatively.

The environment always gives us countless benefits that we can’t repay our entire life. The forest and trees filter the air and absorb harmful gases. Plants purify water, reduce the chances of a flood, and maintain natural balance and many others. Moreover, the environment regulates the vital systems that are essential for the ecosystem. Every being in the environment is so significant for human life. It is well captured in the words of Maurice Maeterlinck, a Belgian playwright, poet, and essayist who says, “If the bee disappeared off the face of the earth, man would only have four years left to live.”

The environment regulates various natural cycles that happen daily. These cycles help in maintaining the natural balance between living things and the environment. Disturbance of these things can ultimately affect the life cycle of humans and other living beings. The environment has always helped us and other living beings to flourish and grow from thousands of years. The environment provides us fertile land, water, air, livestock and many essential things for survival. Saving the environment is one of the responsibilities of all humans. It begins only by identifying the pollutants and by trying to mitigate them drastically. Human activities are the major cause of environmental degradation because most of the activities of humans do harm the environment in some way. The activities of humans that cause environmental degradation are pollution, defective environmental policies, chemicals, greenhouse gases, global warming, ozone depletion, etc. All these affect the environment badly. Besides, these the overuse of natural resources will create a situation in the future there will be no resources for consumption. And the most basic necessity of living air is getting so polluted that humans are forced to use bottled oxygen for breathing as witnessed in our capital city called Delhi.

The increasing human activity is exerting more pressure on the surface of the earth which is causing many disasters in an unnatural form. Also, we are using natural resources at a pace that within a few years they will vanish from the earth. A clean environment is very important for the health and prosperity of a society and a nation as a whole. It is one of the basic requirements for the presence of life on Earth. Living species including plants, animals, humans and aquatic life cannot survive amid waste; they all need a healthy and clean environment to live; an unclean environment gives way to diseases and an unbalanced ecosystem much more. A society that consumes polluted water or breathes in polluted air cannot be healthy and prosperous. Necessary steps must be taken to clean the environment and prevent any further damage to it. To preserve a clean environment, the Environment-friendly policies are to be in a lay man’s term. The guidelines for industrial or infrastructural development are essential to claim reduced or minimal effect on the environment. The usage of renewable energy sources like wind and water instead of conventional sources would result in the reduction of environmental pollution. Vehicles with zero emissions such as vehicles running on electricity or solar energy could be encouraged. Steps should be taken for the accumulation and conservation of rainwater to meet everyday water requirements. People must be made aware of the hazards of the population explosion and its effects on the environment and depletion of natural resources. The use of Organic pesticides which are made up of minerals or other plant materials that keep pests at bay and break down quickly in the soil would certainly help prevent pollution due to hazardous chemicals.

One of the commendable initiatives taken by the U.N to curb environmental pollution is “The World Environment Day”, celebrated on 5th June every year, to raise awareness and urge the governments, individuals, and societies of the world to come together and take steps to eradicate the use of plastics in our day to day life and other factors contributing to the environmental pollution in our daily life and taking necessary steps to prevent them. India recently hosted the World Environment Day on 5th June 2018 with the theme of “Beat Plastic Pollution”. India introduced Swachh Bharat Abhiyan (Clean India Campaign) on 2nd Oct 2014 to clean its roads and cities. We as an individual must take a pledge to keep our society clean, free from any littering waste and to inform the concerned authorities when we encounter such littering or garbage.

Eventually, we should understand that it is the environment that is keeping us alive. Without the blanket of the environment, we won’t be able to survive. It is high time we wake up and heal the natural world. It is never too late to give up our prejudices and overt dependence on technology. Let’s coexist with our environment and be human(e) in a true sense. Moreover, the environment’s contribution to life cannot be repaid. Besides, still what the environment has done for us, in return we have only damaged and degraded it.