The Environment And Us

The word ‘environment’ comes from the French word ‘environ’ which represents the collection of all biotic and abiotic elements in Nature. Biotic elements are human beings, animals, plants and all living creatures while the water bodies, sky, earth, air and ether are abiotic. Everything is thus the environment. To be alive, to live well, therefore involves caring for the environment, of which we are a part. To protect it, to preserve it and to nurture it is the responsibility of all elements, since all are related to the environment.

Human Nature

All other elements of the environment protect it and innately understand their role in the complex web of relationships, except humans. This is because people have been given special powers to think beyond their physical needs – they have been given a psyche. This has created the separation between all other elements and humans. Separation over the years has created the need for only self-preservation. Humans are now only concerned with satisfying their own needs.

The Destruction

Abiotic elements were the first to be compromised to gratify the needs of humans. Water today is contaminated; the air is heavy with poisonous gases and the ozone layer in the sky is deteriorating. Rains are scanty or in excess. Heat has made the soil parched. The biotic elements, too, have been neglected. All the biotic forests are being cut to provide space to the rising population. Humans have denied the trees and animals their space for their own selfish motives.

The Internal Reflected In The External

How have humans lost sight of the bigger picture? Is the self so important that for one’s own security one denies the other the right to exist? This is indeed pollution of the mind. What is macrocosm is a microcosm. The corruption of the mind is visible in the deterioration of the environmental balance. The fears, the anger, the jealousies, the comparisons between one another have led to the separation of the environment and one major part of the environment: humans.

Education with 21st century skills including responsibility, resilience and empathy will enable future generations to think sustainably. Educators must meet this need in their classrooms to groom global citizens.

With Good Wishes,

Savita Venkat.