ANTHROPOCENTRIC DEVELOPMENT AND ENVIRONMENTAL CRISIS
Author: Akanksha, II year of B.A., LL.B.(Hons.) from NMIMS, School of law, Bangalore
As rightly said by Ralph Waldo Emerson ' Adopt the pace of nature. Her secret is patience'. Nature in itself is the entirety and eternity. The only peaceful place in the world is in the lap of the mother either your genetic mother or the mother earth. But the passage of time alongside the thrust for development transformed this globe into a matter of ecological and economical monopoly.
From the capitalist society to the agrarian economy the wake of industrialisation and technical advancement has converted a green, safe and healthy earth of all into a polluted, toxic, hazardous, and unsafe planet human syndicate. This article is fairly dedicated to the wake of rational and eco-friendly conception wherein the right nature posses and how it’s a time to talk of nature is conceived to be of utmost importance and how it’s right time to talk about the right of nature instead of the right to nature as both the rights as in a very symbiotic relationship hereto the destruction of one can cause the deviance of other.
Earth being a plant of 8.7 million different species possesses within the treasury of resources for everyone’s need but not for everyone’s greed. It’s very ironic that what earth had given us was a pure maternal nature and what today we have is nothing but a tower of concert higher than the canopy of deodar. With a fold of developmental pace and competition for the so-called race of developed nations, countries across the world are on the alarming rate of pollution, ecological imbalance, environmental degradation and a lot of such issues. Our desire and anthropocentric development forced nature to show its cruel side that had always turned out to be a mournful experience for not only mankind but all other species, for instance, the tsunami in the Indian ocean to the flood submerging earth every year or the recent biological disaster in the form of a pandemic.
If we take India’s comprehension tool, it has always been a land of culture revolving around the indigenous population, which considers nature as a matriarchal figure equivalent to any religious and spiritual totem. From the Vedic era to ancient civilizations, conservation of nation has been a prima facie of our custom, but the intervention of colonial and postcolonial ideology led to a major ecological disturbance. Between 1800- 1947 India witnessed rigorous policy interventions in forest management. Since 1855, the development and establishment of railway networks lead to major deforestation to meet the need for sleepers and low-cost engine fuel, the expansion of railways networking and deforestation went hand in hand which eventually created an environmental emergency in India.
It’s very filthy to note that in an agrarian economy like India, scientific advancement in the disguise of green revolution caused an imbalance both to nature and humans in particular. The number of incidents like Bhopal Gas Tragedy, OleumGasLeak case, and for that matter recent case of Visakhapatnam industrial disaster is nothing but the aftermath of human intervention to the cycle of nature through the tool of development. Also, this environmental problem is not a problem restricted to a particular area but it is a global issue, for instance, the impact of China’s developmental portrayal by the construction of Three Gorge Dam, nuclear advancement in different countries is nothing but a call for slow catastrophe.
It was only in the year 1972 Stockholm Conference on ‘Human and Environment' when the need for environmental protection was looked at as a sociology issue that leads to global policy change. The 42nd amendment act which inserted article 48 A and 51 A (G)in the Constitution of India is an outcome of the conference. Since 1972 conference there had been a lot of conferences, meetings, and declarations both at the national and national level with a motto of Environment protection on its centre. Apart from all these efforts and initiatives, regional protests and judicial framework too helped to provide a platter that serves ecological conservation and eco-centric developments the need to harness the symbiotic relationship of mankind and the environment.
The 1972 US case, Sierra Club v. Morton, is one among the list of judicial environmental jurisprudence where Justice William Douglas had a point on environmental conservation, which is a point of Environmental right.
India, in particular, had a number of the indigenous forest, for instance, Chipkoandolan(1973, Uttrakhand), save silent valley movement (1978, Kerala), Jungle Bachao Andolan (1982, Bihar), Narmada BachaoAndolan (1985) along with legislative efforts and judicial activism created a scenario wherein the main objective is environmental conservation and eco-friendly development. Laws like Environment laws such as Water Act 1974, Forest Right Act 2006cealongside the landmark judgements of PIL and suits like M.C Mehta v. UOIat one place or other helped to cope up with the development and environment protection at the same time.
It is very hurtful to note that science and technology unlike all other forms of social organisation cannot be judged, examined, and evaluated in the public, moral and cultural domain. In contemporary time, scientific advancement has been assigned a privileged epistemological position of being socially neutral both at the humanitarian and environmental level. It provides technological fixes for human needs and problems but delinking itself from any social or environmental problem it creates. To develop a world inhabitable for us we humans need to rise above our self-centric approach and think for communal harmony.
It’s an end call to raise an introspective point that what we do to mother earth is what we are doing to us and one ought to respect nature and its components as without doing good to nature, we cannot do good to ourselves.
Lee Sweet love, Number of species on Earth tagged at 8.7 million, NATURE, ( 23/08/2011)https://www.nature.com/news/2011/110823/full/news.2011.498.html#:~:text=There%20are%208.7%20million%20eukaryotic,3%20million%20and%20100%20million. Visited on 18//09/2020
Mayank Agarwal, The national policy that governs India’s forests has not been updated since 1988, ( 11/01/2020) https://www.google.com/amp/s/amp.scroll.in/article/949435/the-national-policy-that-governs-indias-forests-has-not-been-updated-since-1988 visited on 18/09/2020.
405 U.S. 727 (1972)
1987 SCR (1) 819, AIR 1987 965