Introduction to Environmental management
Environmental management is the management of interaction by the modern human societies with, and impact upon the environment. The need for environmental management can be viewed from a variety of perspectives. A more common philosophy and impetus behind environmental management is the concept of carrying capacity which refers to the maximum number of organisms a particular resource can sustain. Environmental management is therefore not the conservation of the environment solely for the sake of environment, but rather the conservation of the environment for the sake of mankind. Concern for the environment is not new. Since ancient times people have known the importance of preserving it. The tradition of sanctifying various trees and plants — like the Peepal, Banyan and Neem dates back to the Vedic period. The Tulsi (Basil) plant was grown in every household in the centre of the courtyard and ritually watered. The tradition of wild life preservation dates back to the Vedic period. The Ancient Hindu scriptures directed people to protect their environment. Domestic and wild animals have been worshipped by the Hindus. The Yajurveda, the Bridha Smriti, the Yagyavalkya Smriti and the Vishnu Samhita - all emphasize the need to peacefully co-exist with animals. Various caste groups often had an animal as the sacred symbol of their ‘gotra’ and the members of those groups considered it their religious duty to protect these totemic animals. Buddhism and Jainism specifically advocated the protection of all ‘jiva’ or living beings. It was clear that kindness towards animals and respect for them has been an integral part of religious and social life in ancient India. Water was regarded as the first and the foremost element in the Vedas. Water is the most important tool/mode for performing religious rituals and social ceremonies and a primary means for purification of body and soul in Indian culture since ancient times till today. The rivers are worshipped like goddesses and considered holy. Waters in them were regarded as divine with medicinal and life sustaining properties, and cleanser of sins. This respect for waters worked as a deterrent against their pollution. The protection of environment was understood to be closely related to the protection of atmosphere and the earth. Many of the modern concepts of holistic approach for ecological balance are reflected in the ancient literature. Protection of rivers, lakes and other water bodies, environment, ecology, vegetation as well as all living beings is the main message of the ancient tradition of India. It was well understood that wrong actions by individuals and society could harm the cycle of Nature and its functions.
In ancient Indian culture, the entities of Nature were regarded as deities. All those forces that were facilitators of rains, like Sun (also known as Aditya), wind, etc. were prayed as gods.
The legacy of ancient India towards environment can be seen even now. In different regions people protect small patches of natural forests as sacred groves even today. Like wise, there are sacred tanks and springs dotted all over India. The Ganga is considered sacred throughout her length. The Himalaya, the source of our perennial water supply is looked upon with reverence. There was a drastic change in the attitude of the Vedic period towards the environment. This was fuelled by the industrial revolution. Following this there was a change in the attitude of the people towards production systems. With the invention of machines, rates of production increased. The immense capital required to install such machines required the raising of huge capitals which have to be repaid within a short period of time. This necessitated increasing the production and finding places to sell those products. This was done at the colonies of the industrial countries in the 18th and 19th century. They sourced the raw materials required for the...
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