Not only there is a defined role of culture in the protection of environment; but, it is vital in terms of impact. Both, however, have ceased to hold importance in present rat race. Ignorance is bliss. They say! Culture and environment are nothing; but the aspects of the same coin. For they form the system that supports, rather nourishes, humanity. This forms the base of studies, environment being the focus. Centrality of culture thereby involves an apparent paradox.
If scientists are to be believed, culture is what defines human beings. Dr. Preety Sinha, Head, Department of Environmental Science, AN College, Patna, informed The TrickyScribe that evolution of culture is typically seen as the defining attribute of humans, defining the species (Homo-Sapiens).
Culture, as a defining attribute, is an inescapable aspect of human behavior, including how people shape the environment, draw maximum benefits with suitable interactions, if any. Human civilization is known to getting acclimatized to the environment they inhabit.
They primarily depend on the use of resources at hand and reduction of probable hazards for their survival and material well-being. Needs are the driving factor. Meaning of environment varies from place to place.
Society and environment being comprehensive terms continue to remain dynamic. Environment being the food for thought of the intelligentsia, draws attention of many, if not all.
Conservation of environment remains a question mark. Global over-exploitation of natural resources by the humans, of course, has put the very existence of earth at stake. Animals, even those wild, are not only ruthlessly tortured but slaughtered just to feed the greed of a handful. Future generation hanging in the balance!
Civilizations are known to have come into picture in the lap of nature. Along river Nile in Egypt. Between Amazon and its tributaries and distributaries in South America. The ancient Indian cities of Harappa and Mohenjodaro along the once mighty Indus; and of course the Ganges.
Confluence of nature and environment nourished humanity in Indian sub-continent as well. Enormous diversity is the fundamental identity of Indian culture.
CULTURE OF NATURE WORSHIPING
India is an amalgam of art, culture, religion, social-customs, languages, climate, environment , dress-sense, food-habits, flora and fauna. “We have a tradition of worshiping animals, reptiles, birds, rivers, oceans and even land. Even the early Indians took nature as spiritual and philosophical entity. Closely followed by social awareness and environmental ethics,” told Sushma Despande.
A group of peasants in the remote Himalayan village on March 27, 1973, agitated against deforestation in the present-day Himalayan state of Uttarakhand. They, led by Sunderlal Bahuguna, physically stopped a group of loggers from felling a patch of trees giving birth to the famous Chipko movement triggering Indian environmentalism.
THE WAY AHEAD!
In a time when India and China are being blamed by the US for damaging the environment, which while signing itself off the Paris Accord attributed the impetus on the aforementioned countries. It’s a time to sit back and find solutions. Solutions that are available in our past. Solutions inducing a change!
Environment should not stay restricted to scientists. It, however, should become a household term. For it affects one and all. Study of environment engages various branches of biology and ecology calls for an active and independent role of historians in the development of a new paradigm for the generations to come.