Development and environment

Environmental influences are important both at the prenatal and postnatal stages of human development. At the prenatal stage, when a fetus is in the mother’s womb,  internal or external harmful agents, such as certain legal or illegal drugs, alcohol, lead and pollutants can harm the unborn baby’s development. The mother’s nutrition, diseases and emotional stress can also affect the development of the fetus.

The environment provides various resources to man-both renewable and nonrenewable. Renewable resources are those resources which are replenished easily over time, and hence can be used without the possibility of the resource becoming depleted or exhausted. Examples of renewable resources include trees in the forests, fishes in the ocean, etc. Non-renewable resources, on the other hand, are those resources which can get exhausted or depleted over time as they are used up. Examples of non-renewable resources include fossil fuels and minerals like petroleum,natural gas, coal, etc. Thus these resources need to be used carefully, while keeping in mind the requirements of the future generations.

Economic Growth and Sustainability

  • Over-consumption has led to depletion of resources
  • Main environmental threats
    • Depletion of resources
    • Global warming
    • Expansion of waste arising from production and consumption
    • Population pressure
    • Pollution
    • Loss of biodiversity and extinction of species.
  • Green National Income Account
    • Conventional national income accounting does not capture the environmental degradation due to production and consumption
    • This omission leads to misrepresentation of improvements in social welfare
    • Since there is no market for many environmental resources, it is difficult to place monetary values on them
    • Index of Sustainable Economic Welfare: adjusts the national income to make an allowance for defensive spending (i.e. that incurred in cleaning up for pollution and other forms of environmental damage)
  • Economic Sustainability
    • Calls for reforms in the manner that we conduct our economic activity
    • Removing unfair trade barriers and subsidies that harm the environment
    • Upholding the polluter pays principle
    • Tax not on labour but on consumption <already there in the form of indirect taxes>
    • Pricing products in terms of value they have deducted from the common natural base
    • Increase resource productivity
  • Sustainable agriculture
    • Use of practices and methods to maintain/enhance the economic viability of agricultural production, natural resource base, and other ecosystems which are influenced by agricultural activities
    • Minimizing the adverse impact on the natural resources base
    • Flexible farming systems to manage the risks associated with climate and markets

Ecological Sustainability

  • Sustainable forest management
    • ‘Forest Principle’ adopted at the 1992 Rio Summit
    • In 2007, GA adopted the Non Legally Binding Instrument on All Types of Forests. The instrument is the first of its kind and is committed to promote SFM by bringing all stakeholders together
    • Ministerial Conference on Protection of Forests in Europe defined SFM as the attainment of balance between society’s increasing demands for forest products and benefits, and the preservation of forest health and diversity.
    • Forest managers must assess and integrate a wide array of sometimes conflicting factors to produce sound forest plans
    • Ecosystems approachhas been adopted by the CBD. The CBD definition of Ecosystems Approach is known as the Malawi Principles.
    • Ecosystems Approach is a strategy of management of land, water and living resources in a way that promotes conservation and sustainable use in an equitable way. Focused on use of scientific methodologies for each level of biological organisation and their interaction.
    • SFM was recognised by the parties to CBD in 2004 to be a concrete means of applying the Ecosystems Approach to forest ecosystems
  • Objectives of SFM
    • Maintain environmental stability through preservation of ecological balance that has been adversely affected due to the depletion of forest cover
    • Preserve the natural heritage of the country
    • Improve productivity of forests
    • Protecting through cooperation with local communities on the principle of Joint Forest Management
  • India
    • One of the 12 mega biodiversity countries of the world
    • National Forest Policy 1988emphasizes environmental stability and maintenance of ecological balance
    • Existing infrastructure for forest protection is inadequate
    • Surveys not carried out in many areas. Question of tribal rights
    • Protect from forest fires
  • Integrated Forest Protection Scheme
    • 10thFYP. In all States and UTs
    • Formed by merger of two 9thFYP schemes: ‘Forest Fire Control and Management’ and ‘Bridging of Infrastructure Gaps in the Forestry Sector in the North Eastern Region and Sikkim’
    • Components
      • Infrastructure development: survey and demarcation, strengthening the infrastructure for Forest Protection Division
      • Forest fire control and management
    • Implementing agencies
      • Central Component: Forest Protection Division, MoEF; Forest Survey of India, Dehradun; Central institutions like Indian Council of Forestry Research and Education (Dehradun), IIFM (Bhopal) etc shall be involved
      • State Component: Forest dept of the concerned state/UT
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