Protect it to protect yourself
WE ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR DEGRADING OUR ECOLOGY BUT WE HAVE ALSO THE POWER TO UNDO THE DAMAGE, WRITES GOWSIA MERAJ
Recognising human misuse of nature is not unique to modern times. Plato complained in the fourth century B.C. that Greece ones was blessed with fertile soul and clothed with abundant forests of fine trees. After the trees where cut to build houses and ships, however heavy rains washed the soil into the sea, leaving only rock “skeleton of a body wasted by disease”. Many classical authors regarded the earth as a living being, vulnerable to aging, illness and even mortality. Periodic threats about the impending death of nature as a result of human misuse have proven to be premature or greatly exaggerated, but others remain relevant to our own times.
Some of the earliest scientific studies of environmental damage were carried out in the 18th century by French and British colonial administrators who often were trained scientists and who considered responsible environment stewardship as an aesthetic, and moral priority, as well as an economic necessity. These early conservationists observe and understood the connection between deforestation, soil erosion, and local climate change. The pioneering British plant physiologists. Stephen Hails, for instance suggested that conserving green plants conserving rainfall. His idea has put into practice in 1764 on the Caribbean island of Tobago, where about 20% of the land was marked as the reserved in wood for rains.
Many historians consider the publication of Man and Nature in 1864 by geographer George Perkins Marsh as wellspring of environmental, protection in North America Marsh, who also was a lawyer, politician, and diplomat, travelled widely around the Mediterranean as part of his diplomatic duties in turkey and Italy. He read widely in the classical (including Plato) and personally observed the damage caused by the excessive grazing by goats and sheep and by the deforesting of steep hillsides. Largely as a result of his book, national forest reserves were established in the United States in 1873 to protect dwelling timber suppliers and endangered watersheds.
Among those influenced by Marsh’s warning were President Theodore Roosevelt and his chief conservation advisor. Gifford Pinchot. In 1905, Roosevelt, who was the leader of populist, progressive movement, moved the Forest Service out of the corruption and-filled interior Department into the Department of Agriculture. Pinchot, who was first native-born professional forester in North America, became the original head of the new agency. He put his resource management on an honest, rational, and scientific basis for the first time in our history. In 1908, Pinchot organised and chaired the White House Conference in Natural Resources, perhaps the most prestigious and influenced environmental meetings ever held in the United States.
The basis of Roosevelt’s and Pinchot’s was pragmatic utilitarian conservation. They argued that the forests should be saved “not because they are beautiful or because they shelter wild creatures of the wildness, but only to provide homes and jobs for people.” Resources should be used “for the greatest good, for the greatest number for the longest time.” “There has been a fundamental conservation means nothing but husbanding of resources for the future generation. Nothing could be further from the truth. The first principal of conservation is development and use of the natural resources now existing on this continent for the benefits of the people who live here now. This pragmatic approach still can be seen in the multiple use of policies of the forest services.
The undesirable effects of pollution have been recognised at least as long as those of forest destruction. In 1273, King Edward 1 of England threatened to hang anyone burning coal in London because of the acrid smoke it produces. In 1661, the English diarist John Evelyn complained about the noxious air pollution caused by coal fires and factories and suggested that sweet-smelling tree be planned to purify city air. Increasingly dangerously smog attracts in Britain led, in 1880, to formation of a national Fog and Smoke Committee to combat this problem
The tremendous industrial expansion during and after the Second World War added a new set of concerns to environmental agenda. Silent Spring, written by Rachel Carson and published in 1962, awakened the public to the threats of pollution and toxic chemicals to humans as well as other species. The moment she engaged might be called environmentalism because its concerns are extended to include both environmental resources and pollution. Among the pioneers of this moment are activist David Brower and Scientist Barry Commoner. Brown, while executive director of the Sierra Club, Friends of the Earth, and, more recently, Earth Island Institute, introduced many of the techniques of modern environment, including litigation, intervention in regulatory hearing, book and calendar publishing, and using mass media for publicity campaigns.
Under the leadership of a number of other brilliant and dedicated activists and scientists, the environmental agenda was expanded in the 1960’s to include issue such as human population growth, atomic weapons testing and atomic power, fossil fuel extraction and use, recycling, air and water pollutions, wilderness protection, and a host of other pressing problems. Environmentalism has become well establishment on the public agenda since the first national Earth Day in 1970.
Increased opportunities to travel, as well as greatly expanded international communications, now enable us to know about daily events in places unknown to our parents and grandparents.. Photographers of the earth from space provide a powerful icon for the fourth wave of ecological concerns that might be called global environmentalism. These photos remind us how small, fragile, beautiful and rare our home planet is. We all share a common environment at this global scale. As our attention shifts from questions of preserving particular landscape or preventing pollution of specific watershed or air shed. We begin to worry about the life-support system of the whole planet.
Minnesota geologist Roger Hooke estimates that current human earth-moving activities now rival those of natural geological forces. In addition, we are changing planetary weather system and atmospheric chemistry, reducing the natural variety of organisms, and degrading ecosystem in ways that could have devastating effects, both on humans and on all other life forms. Protecting our environment has become an international cause and it will take international corporations to bring about many necessary changes.
Among the leaders of the worldwide environmental movement have been British economist Barbara Ward, French/American scientist Rene Doubus and Canadian diplomat Maurice Strong. All have been central in major international environmental conventions. Such as the 1972 U.N conference in the Human Environment in Stockholm it the 1992 U.N. “Earth Summit” on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro. Once again new issues have become part of the agenda as out field of vision widens. We have begun to appreciate the links between poverty, injustice oppression, and exploitation of humans and our environment..
As you know, many environmental problems face us. Before surveying, we should pause for a moment to consider the extra ordinary natural world that we inherited and that we hope to pass on to the future generation in as good- perhaps even better – a condition than we inherited it in.
Lastupdate on : Thu, 16 Jun 2011 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Thu, 16 Jun 2011 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Fri, 17 Jun 2011 00:00:00 IST
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