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multi disciplinary nature of environment

multi disciplinary nature of environment

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Published by rajasantosh
environmental science in engineering
environmental science in engineering

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Published by: rajasantosh on Feb 20, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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The Multidisciplinary Nature of Environmental Studies 
The Multidisciplinary Nature of Environmental Studies
1.2.1Institutions in Environment91.2.2People in Environment12
This course on the environment is unlike any other. It is not only a collectionof facts or information about the environment. It is about the way we allshould live. It is expected to give you information about the environmentthat will lead to a concern for your own environment. When you developthis concern, you will begin to act at your own level to protect theenvironment we all live in. This is the objective of the course and thesyllabus is a framework on which we must all realign our lives.
Chapter1.p654/9/2004, 5:07 PM1
Environmental Studies for Undergraduate Courses 
This textbook deals with major environmental concerns that have beenidentified as important areas where background information is essential for abetter understanding of our environment. It stresses on a balanced view ofissues that affect our daily lives. These issues are related to the conflict betweenexisting ‘development’ strategies and the need for ‘environmentalconservation’. Unlike most other textbooks, it not only makes the reader betterinformed on these concerns, but is expected to lead him or her towards positiveaction to improve the environment.There are three reasons for studying the state of the environment. Firstly is theneed for information that clarifies modern environmental concepts such asthe need to conserve biodiversity, the need to lead more sustainable lifestylesand the need to use resources more equitably. Secondly, there is a need tochange the way in which we view our own environment by a practical approachbased on observation and self learning. Thirdly there is the need to create aconcern for our environment that will trigger pro-environmental action,including activities we can do in our daily life to protect it.
Chapter1.p654/9/2004, 5:07 PM2
The Multidisciplinary Nature of Environmental Studies 
Environmental studies deals with every issue thataffects an organism. It is essentially amultidisciplinary approach that brings about anappreciation of our natural world and humanimpacts on its integrity. It is an applied scienceas its seeks practical answers to making humancivilization sustainable on the earth’s finite re-sources.Its components include biology, geology, chem-istry, physics, engineering, sociology, health,anthropology, economics, statistics, computersand philosophy.
1.1.2 Scope
As we look around at the area in which we live,we see that our surroundings were originally anatural landscape such as a forest, a river, amountain, a desert, or a combination of theseelements. Most of us live in landscapes that havebeen heavily modified by human beings, in vil-lages, towns or cities. But even those of us wholive in cities get our food supply from surround-ing villages and these in turn are dependent onnatural landscapes such as forests, grasslands,rivers, seashores, for resources such as waterfor agriculture, fuel wood, fodder, and fish. Thusour daily lives are linked with our surroundingsand inevitably affects them. We use water todrink and for other day-to-day activities. Webreathe air, we use resources from which foodis made and we depend on the community ofliving plants and animals which form a web oflife, of which we are also a part. Everythingaround us forms our environment and our livesdepend on keeping its vital systems as intact aspossible.Our dependence on nature is so great that wecannot continue to live without protecting theearth’s environmental resources. Thus most tra-ditions refer to our environment as ‘MotherNature’ and most traditional societies havelearned that respecting nature is vital for theirlivelihoods. This has led to many cultural prac-tices that helped traditional societies protect andpreserve their natural resources. Respect fornature and all living creatures is not new to In-dia. All our traditions are based on these values.Emperor Ashoka’s edict proclaimed that allforms of life are important for our well being inFourth Century BC.Over the past 200 years however, modern soci-eties began to believe that easy answers to thequestion of producing more resources could beprovided by means of technological innovations.For example, though growing more food byusing fertilizers and pesticides, developing bet-ter strains of domestic animals and crops, irri-gating farmland through mega dams anddeveloping industry, led to rapid economicgrowth, the ill effects of this type of develop-ment, led to environmental degradation.The industrial development and intensive agri-culture that provides the goods for our increas-ingly consumer oriented society uses up largeamounts of
natural resources
such as water,minerals, petroleum products, wood, etc.
Non-renewable resources,
such as minerals and oilare those which will be exhausted in the futureif we continue to extract these without athought for subsequent generations.
Chapter1.p654/9/2004, 5:07 PM3

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