Environment and Development: The Inter-Dependent Terms

Development – a term having vivid dimensions is badly entangled in a controversy today.It is highly exploitative in its nature and is adversely affecting the environment – This is what the accusation that lies against him.

But we as a race or a nation can never deny its contribution towards the progress that we all have made so far.

Then why do we blame “development” for being exploitative?? Are we assured that if “development” happens via any other source then, nature will be saved…?? Or do we believe that “development” is possible without exploiting the nature??? If yes, then where do we get the resources/raw materials from that are the essential part of journey of the developmental process of any kind??

The society-nature relationship is analyzed from the angle of common property resources. The environment being a common property, on one hand there is international commitment to curb environmental degradation (including carbon emission) and on the other hand, there is the negative impact of the development process on the environment. But again here we can never emphasise that we can “develop” without involving environment in it.

For say, the “development” of farmers is something that we all discuss and lay great emphasis on. But then none of us know what exactly we mean by this “development”.

Does it mean empowering them through education?? Or providing them with mere farming and various agrarian incentives and privileges??

If the former one is correct, then this will result in the production of quality manpower. And human resources would increase consequently which is undoubtedly an asset to every nation. But then if every child of agrarian household is educated and has quality knowledge then they might prefer to shift their occupation boosting the crowd ratio in white and blue collar jobs. This gives rise to an extremely important issue of serious concern as we indeed somebody to feed us. If all the farmers gradually shift their base to urban jobs, then there would be no farmers left to take the actual responsibility to the feed an entire nation. Providing them with education is a great initiative and worth appreciable, but we cannot ignore the consequences it may lead to.

And if the latter is true then all will be alright as farmers will remain in their occupation securing the lowest strata of social ladder while doing the most important job of feeding the world. Showing them off with mere promises of “empowering” them and providing with meagre provisions should not be that difficult after all.

Today we see so many policies and bills and floods of amendments either being already passed or are on the waiting list in the context of Development and Environmental term. While discussing the Kyoto Protocol policy, we were busy in the blame-game of who/which nation produced more harmful emissions that went on to such an extent that it overlapped the aiming concern of safeguarding the Environment in the first few years of its operations.

But amidst all these we cannot deny the integral role of environment in the commercial success that mankind witnesses. And the “development” of any nation cannot be achieved without taking its resources from the environment.

Then where are we going wrong that the perfect balance between these two terms has collapsed??

In my views what is needed is a proper and more judicious way of planning and structure regarding these both terms. If we cannot exploit the environment, then we have to satisfy ourselves with a lesser perks regarding commercial success, if that is what we conceptualize as the definition of environment. The problem lies in the fact that we even though don’t miss out on a single opportunity to propagate out wise thoughts about environmental conservation we still tend to define the development of a nation in its economic terms. This is the reason the occupation of agriculture, farming to be more specific is looked down upon. And even though the farmers form the very base of every nation they are always the worst sufferers. No nation can stand without the contribution of its farmers, which on another level clearly signifies the fact that there should be perfect blend in the conjugation of environment and development that gives a sure shot result of success in every possible way.

Having said that allow me to produce one of the examples of what I just tried to imply. Milk is a product that is closely associated with nature, but at the same time, it is one of the most successful commercial product in the world. Being a natural and commercial product both Milk has contributed to the economic and social development of many countries, especially the developing countries such as India.

India, being an agrarian economy never thought of commercializing milk that formed the very basic part of its people’s sustenance. It’s not that it did not have a share in the market, but not in the vast sense that we see now. In layman’s terms, it was an area where monopoly dominated. The dealers and commercial traders used to exploit heavily the rural milk producers that paved the way for one of the most successful initiatives in India on the rural upfront, which also boosted the commercial arena of the nation to the greatest extent.

The result of such an action was the production of now global brands Mother Dairy and Amul, which have their maximum share in the crossover markets such as West Indies, Mauritius, USA and SAARC nations. Though it’s true that the CEO of these brands and those three lakhs (and more of Amul only, and much more of Mother Dairy) rural milk producers are not the equal on the pay scale the point to be noted here that those milk producers are leading a dignified life.

These initiatives resulted in the creation of global brands out of a very mundane yet essential natural ingredient, Milk, which is today’s world attracts quite a lot job-seekers around the world. The rural milk producers and a desk-clerk both are ground level workers proudly achieving the set targets. Today any ordinary graduate would prefer to opt for any such brands rather than opting for Kisan Call Centres, for say.

Such initiatives are a lesson on how we can love and care for the environment as well as for our luxuries all at the same time.