and Environmental Sustainability - A case study in
Madras, South India
Department of Zoology, University of Madras, Chennai - 600 025
Felix A. Ryan
UN Development Consultant, 8 West Mada St., Srinagar Colony, Chennai - 600 015
Rolla S. Rao
Formerly Director of Botanical Survey of India &
Former Head, Dept. of Botany, Andhra University
Depletion of our natural resources is going on at a very fast rate. Soil and vegetation cover, species diversity and some important economic and medicinal plants are in state of concern. The basic cause is rapid increase in population of man and his live-stock, bringing about obvious increase in demands, resulting into depletion of resources, pollution of air, water, soil and noise due to free economy, rapid industrialization and transport.
While presenting a holistic approach in understanding structure and functions of Nature, dividing "Whole Environment" into three components namely, 1. Physical sub-environment, 2. Biological sub-environment and 3. Socio-Cultural sub-environment and their complete integrated nature are explained briefly in the paper.
With the know-how we have for the physical and biological aspects of environment, the biggest hurdle is our socio-cultural sub-environment comprising cultural heritage, social customs, religion, economic status, level of education, politics and crime. As we begin to understand the planet we inhabit, we face some rather perplexing if not frightening, scenarios heading into 21st century. How can we sustain a population that will possibly double the next 40 years and thus require 4 times the food calories and 8 times energy and income levels needed today?
Such impact of humanity on Earth's life support system is not just determined by the number of people alive on the planet. It also depends on "HOW PEOPLE BEHAVE". This is the Dilemma of the Environmental Scientists!
Professor of Applied Mechanics, Indian Institute of Technology, Chennai - 600 087
The rulers of yesteryears were exemplary in many things and among them the way they respected plants and animals are quite noteworthy. To mention a few: The king Pari while traveling found a jasmine creeper wavering without anything to climb. He placed his chariot nearby for jasmine to climb and walked to his place! He is praised as "mullaikku thaer koduththa" Pari in literature.
Another Chola king Sibi give his flesh - cut from his thigh - just to save a dove from the hunter who wanted it for his food.
Tamilians mixed with the plants and animals friendly and did everything to protect and preserve them. Most of the plants and animals are attached to one god or other so that the general public may not misuse them. For example the animal elephant and the plants Kadampu (Anthocephalus cadamba) and Vengai (Pterocarpus marsupium) are attached to Lord Murugan. Such animals and plants are preserved in the temples as thala virutcham.
The paper will describe in detail and fully the biological and ecological concepts of Tamils.
P.J. Sanjeeva Raj
Centre for Research on New International Economic order, Chennai - 600 006
Three major categories of indigenous people of India, namely, forest tribals, coastal artisan fisherfolk and agricultural labourers (dalits) are analyzed eco--politically, for their ethical dilemmas between sustainable use of resources and struggles for survival. Forest development programs like afforestation in reserve forests, social forestry, joint forest management and joint protected area management are examined against the survival security of the indigenous forest dwellers. Developmental strategies like seafood exports from India to earn foreign exchange, mechanized bottom-trawling, aquaculture and joint fishing ventures, all to boost up such seafood exports, and their impact on the survival struggles of the coastal artisanal fisherfolk are discussed. Finally, the dilemmas of agricultural labourers (dalits) in relation to the land tenure and water use policies and developmental encroachments onto the village commons, shrinking the livelihood security and human dignity of dalits are analyzed. Recommendations for policy, administrative and attitudinal changes within the country, and also at the international level are made herein, so far as the policy and attitudinal changes of the North towards the South are concerned, so as to keep in mind the priority to safeguard the environmental, livelihood and human right securities of the indigenous people of the South.
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