SOCIAL ISSUES AND THE ENVIRONMENT

From Unsustainable to Sustainable Development
• Human beings are both causative agents and victims of the changes that environment goes through. • Economic development and the environment are related. • The imperative that humanity faces can be formulated as: “without increased income and economic development environmental protection will fail; without environmental protection economic development will be undermined.

Sustainable Development
Definitions – • Environmental care ‘married’ to development. • Improving the quality of human life while living within the carrying capacity of supporting ecosystems. • Development based on the principle of intergenerational , inter species and inter group equity.

• Development that meets the needs the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. • An environmental handrail to guide development. • A change in consumption patterns towards more benign products, and a shift in investment patterns towards augmenting environmental integrity.

Sustainable development - Concept
As a concept, sustainable development draws upon two intellectual traditions – - limits nature presents to humans. - the potential for human material development.

World Conservation Strategy
• The maintenance of essential ecological processes. • The preservation of biodiversity. • Sustainable use of species and ecosystems.

Interpretation
• Some people see it as a quest for harmony between humans and their environment. • Some fail to accept that in a finite world there cannot be unlimited growth. • Some feel there can be a shift to less environmentally damaging improvements in the quality of human life. • Some hope that science and technology will allow limits to be stretched.

Mainstream sustainable development typically urges:
• The maintenance of ecological integrity. • The integration of environmental care and development. • The adoption of an internationalist stance. • The satisfaction of atleast basic needs for all. • Concern for inter-generational, inter-group and inter-species equity. • The adoption of long term views.

A Model for integrating human needs, ecosystem health and sustainable economic growth

Urban Problems Related to Energy
• Energy is the key input in the economic growth and there is a close link between the availability of energy and the future growth of nation. • Power generation and energy consumption are crucial to economic development as the major sectors of economy depend upon the availability of energy resources.

The main issues regarding the energy problems in urban areas are:
How to utilize the energy from nonrenewable sources at their maximum efficiency? • How to make use of renewable sources of energy or the alternate energy sources? The shift to alternate energy sources may be gradual or it could be accelerated as a result of concern over the potential environmental affects of the fossil fuel burning.

Energy Policy

ENERGY POLICY

FOSSIL FUELS

ALTERNATE FUELS

Integrated Energy Management
• Energy supplies and demand are difficult to predict as technical, economical, political and social assumptions are constantly changing. • There are large variation annual and regional variations in energy utilization.

Sustainable Energy
• It would provide reliable sources of energy • It would not cause harm to our global, regional or local environment. • It would help ensure that the future generations inherit a quality environment and with a fair share of the earth’s resources.

Water Conservation and Management
• Water is essential for life. • Water conservation and watershed management are more economical and environmentally sound ways to store water for future use and to prevent flood damage than building huge dams and reservoirs.

Water Conservation
• Water conservation is the careful use and protection of water resources and involves both quantity and quality of water used. • The objective of water conservation can be achieved through concrete efforts on the conservation and utilization of water on sustainable basis with focus on holistic planning and sustainable development of sources of water.

Domestic Conservation
• Repair all leaks quickly. • Turn off water when not absolutely needed. • Use conserving appliances, like low volume shower heads, efficient dishwashers and washing machines… • In arid and semi-arid regions, replace lush green lawns with decorative rock gardens.

• Use gray water from washing machines to water vegetation. • Water lawns and plants in early morning, late afternoon or at night so as to reduce evaporation. • Use drip or sprinkle irrigation and place water holing mulch around garden plants. • In arid and semi-arid regions, plant drought resistant vegetation that needs less water.

Industrial Conservation
• Using dry cooling systems or cooling towers that use less water. • Reuse the cooling water for irrigation or other purposes. • Industries and manufacturing units should curb water withdrawals, wherever possible by increasing in-plant treatment and recycling of water or by developing new equipment and processes that require less water.

Agricultural Conservation
• Use lined or covered canals that reduce seepage and evaporation. • Use improved irrigation techniques, such as sprinklers or drip irrigation. • Irrigate fields in the early morning or at night when evaporation is minimal. • Adopt better farming techniques, such as minimum tillage, leaving crop residue on fields and ground, cover drainage ways, inter cropping etc.

• Integrate the use of total surface and ground water so as to have a more effective use of the total resources. • In arid and semi-arid regions, encourage development of crops that require less water and are drought resistant.

Strategies to Support Water Conservation
• Rain water harvesting
– roof top rain water harvesting. – revival of traditional water harvesting structures. – micro-Catchment water harvesting. – macro-Catchment water harvesting. – recharge structures for wells and bore wells.

• Sustainable water utilization
– minimize domestic water consumption. – Recycle waste water. – Improved irrigation methods.

• Encourage natural regeneration of vegetation and supplementing with artificial regeneration. • Maintain and improve quality of water.
– collection and treatment of waste water effluents. – pollution check.

• Awareness building on water conservation

Rain Water Harvesting
Defined as a method for inducing, collecting, storing and conserving local surface runoff for latter use. Three types of water harvesting is covered by rain water harvesting:
– water collected from roof tops, courtyards and similar compacted and treated surfaces is used for domestic purposes or garden crops, or for ground water recharge.

– Micro-catchment water harvesting is a method of collecting surface runoff from a small catchment area and storing it in the root zone of an adjacent infiltration basin. The basin is planted with trees, bushes or with annual crops. – Macro-catchment water harvesting also called harvesting from external catchments, is case where run-off from hill slope catchments is conveyed to the cropping area located at hill foot on flat terrain.

Rain Water Harvesting - Objectives
• • • • To reduce run-off loss. To avoid flooding of roads. To meet the increasing demands of water. To raise the water table by recharging ground water. • To reduce ground water contamination. • To supplement the ground water supplies during lean seasons.

Rain Water Harvesting – Methods
• By storing in tanks above or below ground. • By constructing pits, dug wells, lagoons, trenches or check dams or small rivulets. • By recharging the ground water Before adopting a rain water harvesting system, the soil characteristics, topography, rainfall pattern and climatic conditions should be understood.

Traditional Rain Water Harvesting
• In foot hills water flowing from springs are collected by embankment type water storage. • In Himalayan foot hills people use hollow bamboos to transport the water of natural springs. • Rajasthan is known for its ‘tankas’ (underground tanks) and ‘khadins’ (embankments for harvesting rain water.

Modern Techniques of Rain Water Harvesting
• In arid and semi-arid regions artificial water recharging is done by constructing shallow percolation tanks. • Ground water flow can be intercepted by building ground water dams for storing water under ground. As compared to surface dams, ground water dams have several advantages like minimum evaporation loss, reduced chances of contamination…

Water Shed Management
• The water shed is defined as the land area from which water drains under gravity to a common drainage channel. • Water shed is a delineated area with well defined topographic boundary and water outlet. • In the water shed the hydrological conditions are such that water becomes concentrated within a particular location like a river or a reservoir, by which the watershed is drained. • The water shed comprises complex interactions of soil, land form, vegetation, land use activities and water.

• A watershed affects us as it is directly involved in sustained food production, water supply for irrigation, power generation transportation as well as for influencing sedimentation and erosion, vegetation growth, floods and droughts. • Thus, management of watersheds, treating them as basic functional unit, is extremely important and the first such integrated watershed management was adopted by in 1949 by the Damodar Valley Corporation.

Watershed Degradation
• The watersheds are degraded due to uncontrolled, unplanned and unscientific land use activities. • Overgrazing, deforestation, mining and construction activities, industrialization, shifting cultivation, natural and artificial fires, soil erosion and ignorance of local people have been responsible for degradation of various watersheds.

Watershed Management - Objectives
• To rehabilitate the watershed through proper land use adopting conservation strategies for minimizing soil erosion and moisture retention so as to ensure good productivity of the land for farmers. • To manage watershed for beneficial developmental activities like domestic water supply, irrigation, hydropower generation… • To minimize the risk of floods, droughts and land slides. • To develop rural areas in the region with clear plans for improving the economy of the region.

Watershed Management Practices
• Water harvesting. • Afforestation and agro-forestry. • Mechanical measures for reducing soil erosion and run-off losses. • Scientific mining and quarrying. • Public participation.

Resettlement Issues
• Displacement problems due to dams. • Displacement due to mining. • Displacement due to creation of national parks.

Rehabilitation Issues
• Tribals are the most affected amongst the displaced who are already poor. Displacement further increases their poverty due to loss of land, home, jobs, food insecurity… • Break up of families. • The tribal are not familiar with market policies and trends.

• The land acquisition laws ignore the communal ownership of property, which is an inbuilt system among tribals. • Kinship systems, marriages, social and cultural functions, their folk songs, danc es and activities vanish with their displacement. • Loss of identity and loss of intimate link between the people and the environment is the biggest loss. The age long indigenous knowledge, which has been inherited and experienced by them about flora and fauna, their uses etc get lost.

Environmental Ethics
• Human-Centric Thinking – Man is all powerful and the supreme creature on earth and man is the master of nature and can harness it at his will. • Earth-Centric Thinking – Nature has provided us with all the resources for leading a beautiful life and she nourishes us like a mother, we respect her and nurture her.

World Views in relation Environmental Protection
• Anthropocentric World View

to

– Man is the planet’s most important species and is incharge of the rest of nature. – Earth has unlimited supply of resources nad it all belongs to man. – Economic growth is very good and more the growth, better it is , because it rises our quality of life and the potential of economic growth is unlimited. – A healthy environment depends upon healthy economy. – The success of mankind depends upon how good managers we are for driving benefits for us form nature.

• Eco-Centric World View
– Nature exist not for human beings alone, but for all species. – The earth resources are limited and they do not belong only to human beings. – Economic growth is good till it encourages earth sustaining development and discourages earth degrading development. – A healthy economy depends upon healthy environment. – The success of mankind depends upon how best we can cooperate with the rest of nature while trying to use the resources of nature for our benefit.

Environmental Ethical Guidelines
• You should love and honour the earth since it has blessed you with life and governs your survival. • You should keep each day sacred to earth and celebrate the turning its seasons. • You should hold yourself above other living things and have no right to drive them to extinction. • You should be grateful to the plants and animals which nourish you by giving you food.

• You should limit your offsprings because too many people will overburden the earth. • You should not waste your resources on destructive weapons. • You should run after gains at the cost of nature, rather should strive to restore its damaged majesty. • You should not conceal from others the effects you have caused by your actions on earth. • You should not steal from future generations their right to live in a clean and safe planet by polluting it. • You should consume the material goods in moderate amounts so that all may share the earth’s precious treasure of resources.

Climatic Change
• Climate is average weather of an area. • The Intergovernmental Panel on Climatic Changes in 1990 and 1992 published best available evidence about past climatic changes, the green house effect and recent changes in global temperature. • It is observed that earth’s temperature has changed considerably during the geological times.

• Anthropogenic activities upset the delicate balance that has been established between various components of environment. • Green house gasses are increasing in the atmosphere resulting in increasing in the average global temperature. • This upsets the hydrological cycle, results in floods and droughts in different regions of the world, cause sea level rise, changes in agricultural productivity, famines, death of humans as well as live stock.

• The global temperature will not remain uniform everywhere but will fluctuate in different regions. • The places at higher latitudes will be warmed up more during late autumn and winter than the places in tropics. • The poles may experience 2-3 times more warming than the global average where as warming in the tropics may be only 50% -100%.

• The increased warming of the poles will reduce the thermal gradient between the equator and high latitude regions decreasing the energy available to the heat engine that drives the global weather machine. • This will disturb the global pattern of winds and ocean currents as well as timing and distribution of the rainfall. • By a temperature increase of 1.5-4.5ºC the global hydrological cycle is estimated to intensify by 5-10%. • Disturbed rainfall will result in some areas becoming wetter and others drier. • Although rainfall may increase, higher temperatures will result in more evaporation leading to annual water deficit in crop fields.

Global Warming
• Troposphere, the lowermost layer of the atmosphere, traps heat by a natural process due to the presence of certain gases. This effect is called as Green House Effect. • The amount of heat trapped in the atmosphere depends mostly on the concentration of green house gases and the length of time they stay in the atmosphere. • The major green house gases are CO2, O3, CH4, N2O, CFCs, water vapors…

• The average global temperature is 15ºC; in absence of green house gases it would be -18ºC. • Heat trapped by green house gases in the atmosphere keeps planet warm enough to allow us and other species to exist. • The two predominant green house gases are water vapors, which are controlled by the hydrological cycle, and CO2, which is controlled by the global carbon cycle

Impacts of Green House effect
• Global Temperature increase
– It is estimated that the earth’s mean temperature will rise between 1.5 to 5.5 ºC by 2050 if input of green house gases continues to increase at present rate.

• Rise in sea level
– With increase in global temperature sea water will expand. – Heating will melt the polar ice sheets and glaciers resulting in further rise in sea level. – Current models indicate that an average increase in average atmospheric temperature of 3ºC will increase the sea level by 0.2 -1.5 meter over next 50-100 years.

• Effects on human health
– The global warming will lead to changes in rainfall pattern in many areas, thereby affecting the distribution of vector bourne disease like malaria, filariasis, elephantiasis… – Warmer temperatures and stagnant water would favor the breeding of mosquitoes, snails and some insects, which are known to carry such diseases. – Higher temperature and humidity will increase/aggravate respiratory diseases.

• Effects on agricultures
– Soil moisture may decrease and evapo-transpiration will increase. – Increase in temperature and humidity will increase pest growth.

Measures to Check Global Warming
• • • • • • • • • • • • Cut down the current use of CFCs and fossil fuel. Use energy more efficiently. Shift to renewable energy resources. Increase nuclear power plants for electricity production. Shift from coal to methane gas. Trap and use methane as a fuel. Reduce beef production. Adopt sustainable agriculture. Stabilize population growth. Efficiently remove CO2 from smoke stacks. Plant more trees. Remove atmospheric CO2 by utilizing photosynthetic algae.

Acid Rain
• Industrial operation and fossil fuel combustion liberates various acid forming gases; these gases in the atmosphere gets oxidized over a period of time. • The oxides when undergo hydrolysis forms acid droplets in the atmosphere and come onto the earth along with rain water. • Rain water is turned acidic when pH falls below 5.6 • The strong acids like H2SO4 and HNO3 dissolved or formed in rain water dissociate and release H+ ions thereby increasing the acidity in rain drops.

Effects of Acid Rain
• It causes deterioration of buildings especially made of marbles. • It damages tone statues. • It damages metals and car finishing. • Aquatic life especially fish are badly affected by lake acidification. • Aquatic animals suffer from toxicity of metals such as aluminum, mercury, manganese, zinc and lead which leak from the surrounding rocks due to acid rain.

• It results in reproductive failure and killing of fish. • It damages foliage and weakens trees. • It makes trees more susceptible to stresses like cold temperature, drought etc. • Many insects and fungi are more tolerant to acidic conditions and hence they can attack the susceptible trees and cause diseases

Control of Acid Rain
• Emission of SO2 and NO2 from industries and power plants should be reduced by using pollution control equipments. • Liming of lakes and soils should be done to correct the adverse effects of acid rain. • A coating of protective layers of inert polymers should be given in the interior of water pipes fro drinking water.

Ozone Layer Depletion
• Ozone layer filters out harmful ultraviolet radiations from the sunlight and thus protects various life forms on earth. • Ozone is a from of oxygen. • In the stratosphere ozone is being continuously creates by the absorption of short wavelength UV radiations. • UV radiations less than 242 nm decompose molecular oxygen into atomic oxygen by photolytic decomposition. O2 + hv → O + O • The atomic oxygen then rapidly reacts with molecular oxygen to form ozone. O + O2 + M → O3 + M M is the third body necessary to carry away the energy

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