Perils of a fragile Planet: Shifting Paradigms and Sensitive Possibilities by Tapan R. Mohanty

Global environmental issues are a growing concern among the people and communities of various regions today. As it is the changing ecological base which will ultimately affect them as they seek to exploit the available resources in order to raise their standard of living.  The challenge is not so much that of improving the quality of life of the population at the cost of their standard of their living – a dilemma faced in particular by the developed countries – but rather to improve the standard of living in an environmentally sustainable manner.  This involves recognition of the fact that alternation in the human and natural environment are underlining factors in the development process so that the topic of the environment cannot be absent from the minds of those who are responsible for guiding that process.

The rational arrangement of the natural resources is a necessary precondition for achieving economic growth and sustainable improvements in the standard of living of the populace.  The natural capital is of fundamental importance in achieving changing production patterns with equity.  The nation has entered upon a stage in which the existing resources will soon threaten the process of development.  India now is on the threshold of a number of environmental problems, which, if not solved, will adversely affect the productive capacity of the economy. India as an agrarian country producing agricultural goods heavily depends on the management of natural resources such as soil, water, vegetation and the climate.  These elements are already beginning to suffer from considerable strains, which are having a negative effect on the quality and quantity of agricultural products. The relation between growth, equity and environmental sustainability are extremely complex.  On the one hand, the transformation of natural resources into goods is essential for growth and the raising of living standards.  Thus, for example, the expansion of the water supply is what makes it possible for growth of human settlements.  On the other hand, however, there is the danger of development processes affecting the quality of the environment.  For example, air and water pollution due to industrialization and concomitant social and economic change reduces the capacity of ecosystems to provide the community with vital goods and services. The theory of sustainable development deals with these issues and consequent changing of priorities at length.

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