Unit1: Introduction to Environmental Studies
Environmental Studies Notes for BCOM/BA/BSC 2nd SEM CBCS Pattern CBCS Pattern
• Multidisciplinary nature of environmental studies;
• Scope and importance;
• Concept of sustainable development
Table of Contents
Meaning of Environment
The word environment is derived from the French word “environ” meaning surroundings. Hence, everything surrounding us is called environment. Every living beings is surrounded by materials and forces such as social, economical, biological, physical or chemical factors that constitute its environment. Environment is the sum of all social, economical, biological, physical or chemical factors which constitute the surroundings of man, who is both the creator and moulder of his environment.
Components of Environment
Environment consists of the following three components:
a) Abiotic component or non-living component or physical elements Space, landforms, water bodies, climate, soils, rocks and minerals are examples of abiotic components.
b) Biotic component or living component or biological elements Plants, animals, microorganisms and human beings are examples of biotic components.
c) Cultural components Economic, social and political elements are essentially manmade features, which constitute the cultural components.
Segments of Environment
There are four segments of the environment:
a) Atmosphere: A complex fluid system of gases and suspended particles.
b) Hydrosphere: Surface water and its surrounding interface.
c) Lithosphere: The outer boundary layer of solid earth in which life is to evolve and
d) Biosphere: The zone of the earth on which life is present.
Need and Importance of Environmental Education
It can be said that environmental education is education through environment, about environment and for the environment. Environmental education is the educational process dealing with man’s relationship with his natural and man-made surroundings and includes the relation of population, pollution, resource allocation and depletion, conservation, transportation technology and
urban and rural planning to the total human environment. Environmental education is the process of recognizing values and clarifying concepts in order to develop skills and attitudes necessary to understand and appreciate the interrelatedness among man, his culture and his biophysical surroundings. The objectives and the guiding principles for environmental education are:
a) Awareness and sensitivity to the environmental and environmental challenges.
b) Knowledge and understanding of the environment and environmental challenges.
c) Attitude of concern for the environment and motivation to improve or maintain environmental quality.
d) Skills to identify and help resolve environmental challenges.
e) Participation in activities that lead to the resolution of environmental challenges.
Need of Public environmental awareness
The world today is confronted with the great problem of environmental degradation and pollution.
Different types of pollution, fast depleting forest resources, rapid population explosion, expanding industrialization, unplanned urbanization, mining, soil erosion etc. have created ecological imbalances in recent years. Man’s quest for economic development has been mainly responsible for the ruthless exploitation of natural resources. Moreover, highly materialistic, greedy and luxurious life style attitude of human race indiscriminately exploited or imprudently destroyed the natural resources. All these activities have become a threat to the very existence of a number of living organisms.
So creation of public awareness is must to protect the environment from further deterioration.
Scope of Environmental studies
The scope of environmental studies includes:
1. Motivating people for active participation in environmental protection.
2. Imbibe and inculcate in others the necessity for conservation of natural resources.
3. Developing skills to find solutions to environmental problems.
4. Developing an awareness and sensitivity to the environment and its related problems.
5. Maintaining ecological balance.
6. Controlling pollution and protects earth form global warming.
It is the development, which will allow all future generations to have a potential average quality of life, which is at least as high, which is being enjoyed by the current generation. The following strategies should be adhered to, for sustainable development:
1. Use of Non-conventional source of Energy like wind and solar says are cleaner and greener technologies, which can be effectively used to replace thermal and hydropower.
2. Use of CNG as fuel in public transport system has lowered air pollution and the air has become cleaner. The use of LPG and Gobar Gas is being promoted which reduces air pollution.
3. Establishment of Mini-Hydel plants in mountain regions to generate electricity through mini Hydel plants.
Why Environment is Multidisciplinary in Nature?
Subjects like botany, zoology, biotechnology, bioengineering, microbiology, genetics, biochemistry etc. helps in understanding biotic components and their interactions.
The basic knowledge of physics, chemistry mathematics, statistics help in understanding the different phenomena in the environment. Computer science and information technology is a part and parcel of environmental education. Similarly, for control of pollution, environmental engineering is essential. Other branches of engineering e.g. chemical, civil, mechanical including new innovative technologies have been involved in protecting the environment.
Green chemistry finds its distinct and well specific role in protecting the degraded environment. Subjects like sociology, economics, education, philosophy are involved in a number of ways. Environmental laws are always enacted for the protection of the environment. So environmental education carries the multidisciplinary nature where different aspects are dealt with holistic approach.
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