What changes can you make in your habits to become more environment-friendly?
We can make the following changes in our habits to become more environment-friendly:
(a) We should check our habits of wasting resources, for example, we should promptly repair leaking taps to avoid wastage of water. We should turn off lights and fans when not in use.
(b) We should not waste food.
(c) We should say ‘No’ to plastic bags, disposable plastic cups and other things made with plastic.
(d) We should reuse the things that can be reused.
What would be the advantages of exploiting resources with short-term aims?
The advantages of exploiting resources with short-term aims are as follows:
(a) We will be able to fulfil the requirement of mass population.
(b) We will be able to achieve industrial growth and hence, economic development.
(c) There will be fast development for the current generation.
(d) There will be rapid increase in industrialisation, urbanisation and agriculture.
How would these advantages differ from the advantages of using a long-term perspective in managing our resources?
Using a long-term perspective is to reap the profit in a sustainable manner so that the natural resources will last for generations to come and will not merely be exploited to hit short-term gains. The environment belongs to all and every individual matters. Hence, all sections of society should be made aware about conservation and protection of the environment.
Why do you think there should be equitable distribution of resources? What forces would be working against the equitable distribution of our resources?
Every living being has an equal right to the vast resources of the Earth. If an individual is using these resources in a wasteful manner, then somewhere another individual is facing a shortage of the same. This leads to an imbalance in the environment. There are only a handful of rich and powerful industrialists, who see these resources as a means to reap huge profits. They are the main threat to equitable distribution of our resources.
Why should we conserve forests and wildlife?
(a) Forests play a critical role in maintaining the carbon dioxide and oxygen balance in the
(b) They play a critical role in regulating the water cycle.
(c) Forests help in retaining groundwater and checking floods.
(d) They help in soil conservation.
(e) Forests and wildlife maintain ecosystems, which support the biodiversity on our planet.
(f) They provide resources for economic and social growth.
(g) Forests provide us with us food, fuel, timber, paper, medicines, etc.
(h) They play a critical role controlling pollution and in regulating Earth’s average temperature.
Suggest some approaches towards conservation of forests.
(a) Participation of local people lead to efficient management and conservation of forest as
by the strategy developed in Arabari Forest range of Midnapore district.
(b) Re-plantation of trees and at the same time, economical use of timber so as to minimise its wastage.
(c) Using alternative sources of energy such as biogas to reduce the use of wood as fuel.
(d) Scientific research, monitoring and spreading awareness through education play a vital role in the conservation of forests.
Find out about the traditional system of water harvesting/management in your region.
Traditionally, the following ways of water harvesting have been used in the different
regions of India:
(a) I n high rainfall areas, rainwater from rooftops is collected in water storage tanks from where it is diverted to abandoned wells or lifted by using hand pumps.
(b) In foot hill areas, spring water is collected into water storage embankments.
(c) In arid and semi-arid areas, rainwater from large catchment areas is collected in check dams.
(d) Ground water dams is a modern technique of storing water underground and it reduces the loss of water by evaporation. The chances of this water getting contaminated are also low.
Compare the above system with the probable system in hilly mountainous areas or plains or plateau regions.
Water harvesting system in hilly areas such as Himachal Pradesh consists of local system of canal irrigation called kulhs. Water from streams is diverted into man-made channels that take the water to different villages. Water in kulhs is managed by common agreement between all the villages sharing this water. Water from these kulhs also seeps into the soil and helps in raising the water table.
Find out the source of water in your region/locality. Is water from this source available to all people living in that area?
The main source of water in most towns and cities is the water supplied by the municipal government. People living in houses having a water supply are able to avail this facility. However, there are many people who do not live in such houses. They have to wait in long queues at the nearest municipal water tap to collect water for their daily consumption.
What changes would you suggest in your home in order to be environment-friendly?
(a) Prompt repair of leaking taps and water pipes
(b) Not letting the water run while brushing, soaping or cutting vegetables
(c) Using appliances that have a high energy-star rating
(d) Washing cars with a water bucket
(e) Turning off lights and fans when not in use
(f) Turning off the engine of the car when stopped at a red light
(g) Using pressure cookers or solar cookers and covering pots and pans while cooking
(h) Walking or bicycling to nearby places rather than using a motorised vehicle
(i) Reusing and recycling whenever possible
(j) Having your own, small rainwater harvesting system for water house plants
(k) Avoiding wastage of water, food and energy in all forms
Can you suggest some changes in your school which could make it environment-friendly?
A school can become environment friendly by:
(a) Spreading awareness about the environment not only among its students but in the entire community of which it is a part. This can be achieved by celebrating special days such as the Van Mahotsava every year and running a tree-planting drive in the community.
(b) By implementing a rainwater harvesting system
(c) By conserving energy and avoiding unmindful use of all natural resources
We saw in this chapter that there are four main stakeholders when it comes to forests and wildlife. Which among these should have the authority to decide the management of forest produce? Why do you think so?
Joint Forest Management (JFM) committees comprising of the representatives of the Forest Department and the local people can manage and conserve forests in the best way possible. For centuries, the local people have been using the forests and have developed practices that not only benefit them but also benefit the forest and the wildlife within these forests. The consequences of stopping the traditional grazing of sheep in the alpine meadows of the great Himalayan National Park shows how the wisdom of the local people, gained over centuries, can help in preserving our forests.
How can you as an individual contribute or make a difference to the management of (a) forests and wildlife (b) water resources and (c) coal and petroleum?
(a) Forests and Wildlife: Avoid wasteful use of resources that are obtained from forests
such as wood,
paper, etc. Plant trees and take care of animals. Participate in celebrating special days
awareness about protecting forests, for e.g., Van Mahotsav.
(b) Water Resources: We should stop wasting water in our day-to-day lives and cultivate water-saving habits.
(c) Coal and Petroleum: We can conserve coal and petroleum by practicing the three Rs, saving all forms of energy; using fluorescent lamps; switching off unnecessary electronic devices; walking rather than using vehicle; and using stairs instead of lifts.
List five things you have done over the last one week to
(a) Conserve our natural resources
(b) Increase the pressure on our natural resources.
(a) To conserve natural resources:
(i) Practiced switching off lights and fans when not in use
(ii) Reused envelopes by turning them inside out.
(iii) Planted plants in my home and neighbourhood
(iv) Turned off the tap while brushing and soaping
(v) Recycled newspaper
(b) Following actions might have increased the pressure on the natural resources:
(i) Wastage of food
(ii) Leaving the television on while I fell asleep
(iii) Used plastic bags
(iv) Frequently used heating devices
(v) Washed my bicycle with a water pipe rather than a bucket