Environmental Education

Environmental Education

Environmental education enables learners to develop a structure of knowledge about the world and seek knowledge that they can use and develop throughout their lives.


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MEANING OF ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION

The Environment is derived from the French word “Environner”, which means encircle or surrounding. Environmental education describes the interrelationships among organisms, the environment, and all the factors, which influence life on earth, including atmospheric conditions, food chains, the water cycle, etc.



SCOPE OF ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION

  1. The study of environmental education creates awareness among the people to know about various renewable and non-renewable resources.
  2. It provides knowledge about ecological systems and causes and effect relationships.
  3. It provides necessary information about biodiversity richness.
  4. The study enables one to understand the causes and consequences due to natural and man-made disasters and pollutions and measures to minimize the effects.
  5. The study exposes the problems of overpopulation, health, hygiene, etc.
  6. It exposes the role of arts, science, and technology in eliminating or minimizing the evils from society.
  7. It teaches the citizens the need for sustainable utilization of resources.

OBJECTIVES OF ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION AT SCHOOL

Objectives of Environmental Education at Primary Level

  • To know and understand the true aspects of the environment in general.
  • To know and understand the interaction between mammals, between human and their environment.
  • To build and develop skills in thinking, reasoning, enquiring, evaluating, and making decisions concerning humans and the world around them.
  • Inculcate the attitude in using the knowledge and skills towards solving problems and issues related to individuals, society, and the environment.
  • To build the values and attitudes towards the need and necessity to live together in harmony.

Objectives of Environmental Education at Secondary Level

  • To emphasize the relevance of science to daily life.
  • To develop a scientific attitude in students.
  • To create an environment conducive to greater reliance on the use of principles and practices of science.
  • To acquaint the students with various natural phenomena.
  • To develop an outlook that emphasizes the method employed in different disciplines of science.

Aspects of Environmental Education Emphasized at Higher Secondary Level

Population Growth, Arises, and Problems of Unplanned Population
Law Land Use and Reclamation, Soil Conservation
Resources Resource Uses and Conservation, Recycling
Food and Nutrition Food Production, Food Adulteration, and Preservation, Balance Diet Etc
Conservation Causes of Wildlife, Plant, Soil, Water, and Conservation of Other Non-Renewable Natural Beauty
Pollution Pollution of Water, Air, Noise and Soil, Pollution by Insecticide and Other Chemicals and Waste Disposals
Health and Hygiene Individual, Family, Country and Social Health and Hygiene, Health Hazards Etc.
Humans and Nature Other Compounds of Atmosphere, Environmental Quality, and Future on Earth

Major Problems in Implementing Environmental Education in Schools

  1. Rigid Specialization
  2. The complexity of inter-disciplinary value of Environmental education
  3. The high student-teacher ratio for organizing student participation programs.
  4. Lack of qualified trained environmental educator.
  5. Lack of proper resources in terms of equipment, supplementary materials, and reference materials.
  6. The tendency to resist changes.

ECOSYSTEM

Ecology is the science that deals with the relationships between living organisms with their physical environment and with each other.

Two major subdivisions of modern ecology are

  1. Ecosystem Ecology - Which Views Ecosystems as Large Units
  2. Population Ecology - Which Attempts to Explain Ecosystem Behavior from The Properties of Individual Units.

Structure and Function of an Ecosystem

An ecosystem has two components

  1. Biotic Components – Consisting of Living Things
  2. Abiotic Components – Consisting of Elements that are not alive

Functions of an Ecosystem

  • Regulatory functions
  • Habitat functions
  • Production functions
  • Information function

ENVIRONMENTAL PROBLEMS AND PROTECTION

All of the organic and inorganic components surrounding us, as well as the events, conditions, and processes of their interactions are known as the environment.


Environmental Pollution

Any undesirable change in the environment is known as environmental pollution.

Odum(1971) defines, ‘pollution is an undesirable change in the physical, chemical or biological characteristics of our land, air, or water what may or will harmfully affect human life or that of desirable species.

Classification of Environmental Pollution

Pollution can be broadly classified according to the components of the environment that are polluted. Major of these are:

  • Air pollution
  • Water pollution
  • Soil pollution (Land Degradation) and
  • Noise pollution

DEFORESTATION AND ITS IMPACT ON ENVIRONMENT

  • Deforestation is a contributor to global warming and is often cited as one of the major causes of the enhanced greenhouse effect.
  • Deforestation causes carbon dioxide to linger in the atmosphere.
  • As carbon dioxide accrues, it produces a layer in the atmosphere that traps radiation from the sun.
  • The radiation converts to heat which causes global warming, which is better known as the greenhouse effect.

In deforested areas, the land heats up faster and reaches a higher temperature, leading to localized upward motions that enhance the formation of clouds and ultimately produce more rainfall.


Methods for The Prevention And Control Of Air Pollution

  • Use of better-designed equipment and smokeless fuels.
  • Automobiles should be properly maintained.
  • More trees should be planted along roadside and houses.
  • Renewable energy sources, such as wind, solar energy, ocean currents, should fulfill energy needs.
  • Tall chimneys should be installed for vertical dispersion of pollutants.

To change our behavior in order to reduce air pollution at home as well as on the road, a few following small steps taken by us would lead to clean our Environment.

At Home

  • Avoid using chemical pesticides or fertilizers in your yard and garden.
  • Be energy efficient. Most traditional sources of energy burn fossil fuels, causing air pollution.
  • Plant trees and encourage others to plant trees as well.
  • Try to stop smoking; at home, at the office, or at outside.

On the Road

  • Keep your vehicle well maintained.
  • Drive less.
  • Don’t buy more car than you need.

Water Pollution Prevention and Control

Water is a key resource for our quality of life. It also provides natural habitats and ecosystems for plant and animal species.

The discharge of toxic chemicals from a pipe or the release of livestock waste into a nearby water body is considered water pollution. The contamination of groundwater, rivers, lakes, wetlands, and oceans can threaten the health of humans and aquatic life.


Sources of Water Pollution:

  1. The first is point-source pollution, in which contaminants are discharged from a discrete location. Sewage outfalls and oil spills are examples of point-source pollution.
  2. The second category is non-point-source or diffuses pollution, referring to all of the other discharges that deliver contaminants to water bodies.

Prevention and Control of Water Pollution:

  • Sewage should be treated before it is discharged into the river or ocean. This is possible through modern techniques.
  • Waste food material, paper, decaying vegetables, and plastics should not be thrown into open drains.
  • Effluents from distilleries and solid wastes containing organic matter should be sent to biogas plants for the generation of energy.

Soil Erosion and Its Prevention

Soil erosion by water, wind, and tillage affects both agriculture and the natural environment. Soil loss, and its associated impacts, are some of the most important environmental problems of today.

It is mostly due to poor land-use practices, which include deforestation, overgrazing, unmanaged construction activity, and road or trail building.

Soil erosion is always a result of mankind’s unwise actions, such as overgrazing or unsuitable cultivation practices.

Soil erosion is just one form of soil degradation. Other kinds of soil degradation include

  • Salination,
  • Nutrient Loss, And
  • Compaction

Prevention of Soil Erosion:

  1. To make sure that there are always plants growing on the soil.
  2. To avoid overgrazing.
  3. Allow indigenous plants to grow along the river banks instead of plowing and planting crops right up to the water’s edge.
  4. Encouraging biological diversity by planting several different types of plants together.
  5. Conservation of wetlands.

We can check soil erosion by adopting the following additional practices:

  • Intensive cropping and use of proper drainage canals.
  • Planting trees and sowing grasses.
  • Extensive afforestation practices to be carried out.

Mitigation of Noise Pollution

  • Reducing noise pollution by muffling the sounds at the source is one of the best methods in industry and for urban living.
  • The creation of green cover adjacent to municipal roads and in mines is the way to mitigate noise pollution.
  • Redesigning industrial equipment, shock mounting assemblies, and physical barriers in the workplace are also for reduction and exposure of unwanted industrial noise.
  • Highway noise pollution can be mitigated by constructing noise barriers.

CONSERVATION AND PROTECTION OF ENVIRONMENT

We know that natural resources are getting depleted and environmental problems are increasing. It is, therefore, necessary to conserve and protect our environment.

The following Practices Help in Protecting Our Environment.

  • Rotation of crops.
  • Judicious use of fertilizers, intensive cropping, proper drainage, and irrigation.
  • Treatment of sewage, so that it does not pollute the rivers and other water bodies.
  • Composting organic solid waste for use as manure.
  • Planting trees in place of those removed for various purposes.
  • National parks and conservation forests should be established by the government.
  • Harvesting of rainwater.

Some Action Points to Protect or Improve the Environment

  1. Dispose of the waste after separating them into biodegradable and non-biodegradable waste material.
  2. Start a compost heap or use a compost bin. This can be used to recycle waste food and other biodegradable materials.
  3. Avoid unnecessary or wasteful packaging of products
  4. Reusable bags
  5. Plant trees
  6. Never put any leftover chemicals, used oils down the drain, toilet, or dump them on the ground or in water or burn them in the garden.
  7. Don’t burn any waste, especially plastics.
  8. Use unleaded petrol and alternate sources of energy.
  9. Walk or cycle where it is safe to do so.
  10. Use public transport wherever you can.
  11. Send your waste oil, old batteries, and used tiers to a garage for recycling or safe disposal.

HUMAN POPULATION AND ENVIRONMENT

The rapid growth of the world’s population over the past one hundred years results from a difference between the rate of birth and the rate of death. The growth in the human population around the world affects all people through its impact on the economy and environment.

The current rate of population growth is now a significant burden on human well-being.


Causes of Overpopulation

The following are the causes of overpopulation.

  • The Decline in the Death Rate
  • The Rise in the Birth Rate
  • Migration
  • Lack of Education

POPULATION EXPLOSION

In the year 2000, the world population was 6.3 billion and it is predicted to grow four times in the next 100 years. This unprecedented growth of the human population at an alarming rate is referred to as a population explosion.

Population explosion is causing severe resource depletion and environmental degradation. Our resources like land, water, fossil fuels, minerals, etc. are limited and due to overexploitation, these resources are getting exhausted.


Effects of the rapid population growth in India

  1. Providing employment to a growing population
  2. The problem of utilization of manpower
  3. Over-strained infrastructure
  4. Pressure on land and other renewable natural resources
  5. The increased cost of production
  6. Inequitable distribution of income

Causes of Over Population

The two main common causes leading to overpopulation in India are

  1. The birth rate is still higher than the death rate.
  2. The fertility rate due to the population policies and other measures has been falling but even then, it is much higher compared to other countries.

EFFECTS OF OVERPOPULATION

  • Unemployment
  • Manpower utilization
  • Pressure on infrastructure
  • Resource utilization
  • Decreased production and increased costs
  • Inequitable income distribution

STEPS TO CONTROL POPULATION IN INDIA

  1. Increasing the welfare and status of women and girls
  2. The spread of education
  3. Increasing awareness for the use of contraceptives and family planning methods
  4. Sex education
  5. Encouraging male sterilization and spacing births
  6. Free distribution of contraceptives and condoms among the poor
  7. Encouraging female empowerment
  8. More health care centers for the poor

FACTORS AFFECTING ENVIRONMENT

  • High quantity of Exhaust gases
  • Deforestation
  • The high number of industries such as mining
  • Chemical effluents
  • Transport
  • Unprecedented Construction
  • Secondary Pollutants
  • Ruinous agricultural policies
  • The Population Explosion
  • Unplanned Land-use policies

Soil Erosion

  • Deforestation increases soil erosion; thus, valuable agricultural land is lost.
  • Solid wastes from households and industries also pollute land and enhance land degradation.

Solid wastes include things from household waste and industrial wastes.

They include

  • Ash
  • Glass
  • Peelings of Fruit and Vegetables
  • Paper
  • Clothes
  • Plastics
  • Rubber
  • Leather
  • Brick
  • Sand
  • Metal
  • Waste from Cattle Shed
  • Night Soil And
  • Cow Dung

ENVIRONMENTAL LAWS IN INDIA

  • 1986 – The Environment (Protection) Act
  • 1986 – The Environment (Protection) Rules
  • 1989 – Hazardous waste (Management and Handling) Rules
  • 1989 – The Manufacture, Storage, and Import of Hazardous Chemical Rules
  • 1989 – The Manufacture, Use, Import, Export, and Storage of hazardous Micro-organisms/ Genetically Engineered Organisms or Cells Rules
  • 1991 – The Public Liability Insurance Act and Rules and Amendment, 1992
  • 1995 – National environmental Tribunal Act
  • 1997 – The National Environment Appellate Authority Act
  • 1998 – Biomedical waste (Management and Handling) Rules
  • 1927 – Indian Forest Act and Amendment 1984
  • 1972 – Wildlife Protection Act, Rules 1973 and Amendment 1991
  • 1980 – The Forest (Conservation) Act and Rules 1981
  • 1882 – The Easement Act
  • 1897– Indian Fisheries Act
  • 1956 – The River Boards Act
  • 1970 – Merchant Shipping Act
  • 1974 – The Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act
  • 1977 – The Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Cess Act
  • 1978 – The Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Cess Rules
  • 1991 – Coastal Regulation Zone Notification
  • 1948 – Factories Act and Amendment in 1987
  • 1981 – Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act
  • 1982 – Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Rules
  • 1982 – Atomic Energy Act
  • 1987 – Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Amendment Act
  • 1988 – Motor Vehicles Act

In the past few years, there are many new Laws for Environmental Education and Protection has also been enacted by the government of India.


ROLE OF NGO’S IN PROTECTION FOR THE ENVIRONMENT IN INDIA

  1. Creating awareness among the public on current environmental issues and solutions.
  2. Being involved in the protection of human rights to have a clean environment.
  3. Protecting the natural resources and entrusting the equitable use of resources.
  4. Data generation on natural resources.
  5. Analysis and monitoring of environmental quality.
  6. Transferring information through newsletters, brochures, articles, audiovisuals, etc.
  7. Organizing seminars, lectures, and group discussions for the promotion of environmental awareness.
  8. Helping the villages’ administrative officials in the preparation, application, and execution of projects on environmental protection.

ENVIRONMENTAL MOVEMENTS IN INDIA

  • Silent Valley Project
  • Chipko Movement
  • Narmada Bachao Andolan, 1985
  • National Test Range at Baliapal

ENVIRONMENTAL RESOURCE MANAGEMENT

Environmental resource management is the management of the interaction and impact of human societies on the environment.

Environmental resource management tries to identify the factors affected by conflicts that arise between meeting needs and protecting resources. It is thus linked to environmental protection and sustainability.

The Goals of Environmental Management System (EMS)

  • To increase compliance and reduce waste
  • The EMS helps to develop, implement, manage, coordinate, and monitor environmental policies.

Features of the Environmental Management System (EMS)

The features of an environmental management system (EMS) are as follows:

  1. It Serves as a tool, or process, to improve environmental performance.
  2. Provides a systematic way of managing an organization’s environmental affairs.
  3. EMS assists with planning, controlling, and monitoring policies in an organization.
  4. It Gives order and consistency for organizations to address environmental concerns through the allocation of resources, assignment of responsibility, and ongoing evaluation of practices, procedures, and processes.
  5. It employs and assigns accountability and responsibility.
  6. Helps understand legislative requirements to better determine a product or service's impact, significance, priorities, and objectives.
  7. Encourages contractors and suppliers to establish their own EMS.

MAN, AND ENVIRONMENT

Man and environment are inter-related. The environment influences the life of human beings and also human beings modify their environment as a result of their growth, dispersal, activities, death, and decay, etc.

The different social structures like industrial, agricultural, religious, aesthetic, etc. have developed during various stages of human civilization and these structures represent human beings ’ accumulated cultural resources based on the natural environment.

The changes in the relationship between man and environment depend upon the change in the organization and attitude of society.

To Improve the Environmental Standards and to Maintain Ecological Balance, the Following are Some Issues Before the Present Civilized Society.

  • Rapid population explosion
  • Rational use of non-polluted water resources
  • To sustain and increase agricultural growth
  • To check soil erosion
  • Restoration of forest resources
  • To check pollution

Some Possible Ways of Tackling the Problems and Maintaining the Environmental Standard

  1. Taking effective measures for population control.
  2. Optimum use of natural resources.
  3. Conserving and protecting biodiversity.
  4. Creating public awareness about the benefits and implications of the environment.
  5. Giving top priority to environmental protection.
  6. Developing eco-friendly technological processes.
  7. Promoting sustainable agriculture which will not harm the environment.
  8. Using bio-fertilizer or eco-friendly fertilizers.
  9. Using the minimum amount of pesticides and insecticides.
  10. Choosing suitable techniques to treat the pollutants before their discharge into the environment.
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