by B.H.S. Thimmappa
All organisms are dependent on one another and the environment for food, energy, water, air, and shelter. The relationships and interactions between living organisms with their physical, biological, and chemical environments form complex energy webs. Destroying the sanctity of an ecosystem continuously by the exponential increase in human activities reflects our irresponsible behavior toward the environment. The impact of human-induced ecological change is often so great that nature cannot repair the damage. The greater the population, the higher will be the adverse impact on the ecosystem. The ecological deterioration could occur because of violation of the environmental laws by industries, municipalities, hospitals, business establishments, and the general public and as a result of natural laws. The toxic industrial effluents, incineration, improper bio-waste disposal, and burning of crop stubs will result in more serious ecological consequences. Because of the large-scale human and industrial activities, the cities are filled with foul air, and oil spilled into the sea kills marine life. Similarly, droughts, floods, earthquakes, violent cyclones, tsunamis, and the burning of forests will result in several environmental problems and loss of plant and animal species. Ecological considerations are essential to enhance both the current and the future potential to meet all human needs and aspirations. Appropriate strategies and organizing efficient management of natural resources sharing at various levels based on the minimum needs help to maintain environmental quality. Therefore, special attention and high priority should be given to keeping the ecosystem neat, clean, and pollution-free to remain healthy.
When an ecosystem is healthy all the elements live in balance and if one part of the ecological community is damaged it has an impact on other elements. An effective population control program could reduce the level of over-consumption and over-exploitation of natural resources to some extent and hence decrease contribution to ecological degradation. There is an urgent need to start ecosystem-related programs and courses in all our universities or institutes of higher education. The process of predicting and evaluating the negative impact of development projects such as housing complexes, business houses, power stations, and industrial installations is necessary. The ecosystem education should make everybody contribute their services with a sense of responsibility to maintain a better environment. We have to learn lessons from nature that automatically recycles the substances that are vital for life using several different wildlife communities and their habitat. It is vital to reimagine that all animals and plants influence and rely on, crucial factors in their environment like the supply of nutrients and water.
If the essential substances for life are not continuously replenished in the ecosystem to be used again, the supply for organisms would soon run out and life would stop. A healthy ecosystem can be recreated by taking the following measures; i) increasing forest cover ii) promoting industries without pollution, iii) setting up waste processing units, iv) banning old vehicles and those without maintenance v) planned urbanization with adequate infrastructure, vi) use of biopesticides, biofertilizers, and integrated pest management in agriculture, vii) scientific waste management, viii) plastic waste management and minimizing plastic use ix) an effective flood control system and rainwater harvesting, x) avoiding the overuse of electronic goods xi) public-private participative management, and xii) tough legal prescriptions and strict executive actions. Thus we have to make sure that the various components of the ecosystem such as water, nutrients in the soil, microbes, plants, animals, and sunshine interact with each other in different ways.
Ecosystem restoration involves efforts for the recovery of ecosystems that have been degraded or destroyed by human or natural activities and conserving the ecosystems that are in their natural state. Adequate renewal of the natural resources through the development of artificial forests could create an ecosystem with a fine balance of oxygen, nitrogen, carbon dioxide, and water that is essential for life. These are constantly being exchanged between the air, the soil, the oceans, and living things. Promoting sustainable agriculture, rural development, conserving biological diversity, combating deforestation, protecting freshwater resources and the oceans, and protecting the atmosphere would go a long way in restoring the ecosystem. The use of solar, wind, and biogas energy must be promoted on a mass scale. We have to effectively manage the conservation and management of natural resources as well as toxic chemicals and hazardous waste disposal. Industrial and domestic waste must be recycled in the form of some other products, and reused in alternate forms or other applications. It is essential to eliminate the creation of pollution and destruction of the local ecosystem. We have to recall that there are enough natural resources for human needs but not for human greed and no living thing exists in isolation.
A certain minimum standard of living must be guaranteed to all sections of the current population and future generations. The developmental process at the cost of ecology poses the potential of causing irretrievable damage to our greatest assets water, air, and land. Prevention of pollution is essential to safeguard the fragile ecosystem thereby saving the planet from warming up further. The existing environmental laws must be made more stringent with harsh punishments in case of serious violations. Increasing public awareness about the hazards of ecological destruction by conducting various programs at different levels must continue on a large scale. Environmental management system (EMS) and Environmental impact assessment (EIA) should be established worldwide and a uniform code of conduct must be formulated and implemented for environmental protection. Sustainable development and green and clean progress can be achieved while considering the protection, preservation, and development of ecology. The process of modernization and our precious ecological balance must go hand in hand. It is the responsibility of everyone to work for the protection and conservation of the natural ecosystem for future survival. Adoption of the concept of reimagining, recreating, and restoring ecosystems would result in better management of ecosystems and benefit the global citizens. The people should cooperate to maintain ecological balance to make the world more habitable, peaceful, and safe for all creatures to live and thrive on.
About the Author:
B.H.S. Thimmappa is a writer from Udupi, India