Prof Junaid Jazib
This exceptional planet of ours is the only place known so far in the whole cosmos to support and sport the beauties of life. It is the presence of an amazingly excellent life-support-system on the earth that makes it unique and unparalleled in the entire universe. The combination of a multitude of factors, including materials, forces and conditions, favours the evolution of life and the life support system on the planet. The right distance from the sun, the right inclination on its own axis, the right temperature and climatic regimes, the right kind and quantity of energy received from the sun, the right type of substances and their combinations on its surface, the right amount of gravitational pull, the presence of a gaseous envelope around it, etc. etc. form the earth suitable for life to exist and persist.
The earth is, in fact, a giant living organism in itself. It consumes energy, functions as a whole, breathes, perspires, excretes and grows older. Within its living folds, it has allowed the evolution of a great spectrum of life. Originated as a single celled organism, life has eventually assumed unimaginably diverse forms on the surface of the planet. All the distinctive and ostensibly unrelated forms of life are, however, intrinsically interrelated and interdependent. Despite having evolved and developed into uniquely different kinds of physical and biological regimes every living unit ranging from individual to biome is intimately and multifariously linked to every other such unit. In ecological jargon, everything is deeply linked with everything else in the ecosphere. In this ‘interrelatedness’ of the interwoven web of life lies the stability of the planet and the life thereon.
Man, if truth be told, is simply a part of this greater and intricate whole known as the web of life. All life-forms, in this larger whole, are equally and essentially important. With the specific roles assigned to every being from the tiniest creatures to the largest ones, the balance on the earth and within the entire spectrum of life is maintained. This whole is stable, strong and dynamic as well as, simultaneously, fragile and highly susceptible. Speciation and extinction are the natural parts of the processes involved in the course of larger ecological evolution but the forced exclusion of a single biological species is bound to bring detrimental changes in planet’s overall health. The ever operative natural dynamism and versatility can bear or correct mild interruptions and alterations in the ecosphere but can’t stand natural or human disruption beyond its repairing capacity.
Having ordained himself as the sovereign among all the creatures on the earth, man (owing to his superior intelligence, erect creature, etc.) enjoys highly sophisticated life. He explores and exploits natural world replete with physical and biological resources. In his progressive and exploitative craziness, man has endangered his own survival by hugely damaging the habitat he rests on for everything. Resources, vital for his life, are indiscriminately consumed. Air and water are dumped with toxic chemicals. Land is rendered infertile and unproductive. Fellow living creatures are forced to extinct 100 times faster. More than fifty percent extinctions have occurred during last a few decades. Ozone layer-the life protecting blanket-has thinned despite our belated preventive measures. Unfavourable changes in hydrological regime are occurring alarmingly; rising seas, melting glaciers, shrinking water table, irregular precipitations, unusually warming earth, etc are more linked to man’s doings than to natural occurrences. These developments are not ordinary or irrelevant when seen in context with the future of life in general and mankind in particular. If continues to aggravate at present pace, even a single one of the above mentioned inauspicious changes is enough to eradicate human existence from the planet. And it is not hard to visualise the fate of our future existence when everything around is messy and unwell.
Resource depletion and environmental pollution are the main causal factors responsible for multifarious threats to the life and its habitat on the planet. The resultant changes put everything and every form of life at stake. Man, having occupied the central stage in the arena of living creatures, is also at the receiving end for all of his misconduct with his natural habitat. Still it’s never too late to wake up and correct our course of action. Judicious use of resources, avoidance of wastage, no to pollutions, thought of future generations and love and reverence for every form of life can help us survive by saving our habitat.
(The author is HoD Env SC at GDC Thanamandi)
Prof Junaid Jazib