Bird’s Eye View

Time to take a bird’s eye view or a holistic approach to the cliched environment-development issue…

It’s June 5- World Environment Day! WhatsApp, Facebook, and other social media are flooding with World Environment Day messages and images and what not. But how many of us are genuinely concerned about the environment? Or, how many of us  honestly know what environment means?

World Environment Day Logo
World Environment Day Logo

“Sustainability”, “Development”, “Resources management”, etc. are the current buzzwords of the world. Everybody is debating about economic growth and environmental degradation, but without any conclusion. Both the sides of the argument are hell bent upon their own ideas and opinions. Where is this leading to? My answer is: Towards a disaster. Why? Because we fail to identify where the real problem lies.

In one week that we are associated with the Centre for Science and Environment, I have managed to develop a fresh perspective on developmental issues in India. Growth and Environment are a part of each other and not apart. They go hand in hand, and contribute equally for the development of any country. And by development, I mean all the faces of development- social, ecological, political- and not just economic.

Environment is an all-encompassing phenomenon, which includes all the aspects of our life. You cannot separate it from a country’s developmental agenda. So what we need is not infrastructure or huge capital investments or industrialization. All we need is a metamorphosis of people’s attitudes. Policy-makers to the ‘aam aadmi’, industrialists to the poor, each one of us should imbibe in us an accepting approach to an ecologically sensitive development.

Today, we visited certain areas in and around the Mehrauli-Badarpur road for a survey as a part of our campaign. We reached the grass-roots and that’s when we started understanding the issues that people face. And these are issues with the basic amenities of life- water, electricity, mobility, etc. Definitely not ‘unsolvable’. They simply need planning and willingness to improve by all the stakeholders involved. Participatory development is what we call it!

Putting all this in a nutshell- Let’s take a bird’s eye view of things, a holistic approach to progress. We cannot sideline development for the sake of environment and vice-versa. We ended our day with a walk in Jahapana forest, very near to our campus. The sight of trees is a treat to the eyes, the call of birds is soothing to the ears, the fragrance of the soil is refreshing. Nature, I feel, is the best gift Man has ever received.

Happy Environment Day to all!

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