The world over, “World Environment Day” is being observed today. and while the event is also being organized by various social organizations and Government departments in the state, a cold hard look at the turn of events over the years indicates more of lip service rather than effective implementation of suggestions and plans when it comes to taking up concrete and sustainable steps to reverse the ill effects arising out of damaging our natural environment. The theme adopted for this year- ‘Seven Billion Dreams; One Planet; Consume with Care’ perhaps encapsulates the growing concern being increasingly felt by one and all. Over the past few years, “Sustainable Development” has emerged as the latest development catchphrase. A wide range of non-governmental as well as governmental organizations have embraced it as the new paradigm of development. An in-depth analysis of the literatures and deliberations on the concept indicates, however, a lack of consistency in its interpretation or implementation. More important, while the inclusive nature of the concept gives it political strength, its current formulation by the mainstream of sustainable development thinking contains significant weaknesses. An inconsequent insight or awareness of the problems of poverty and environmental degradation, and confusion about the role of economic growth and about the concepts of sustainability and participation and the inherent relationship between these factors are some of the key issues which still needed to be addressed if any significant positive outcome is to be expected. The inefficiencies, inadequacies and contradictions in policy making demonstrated in the context of trade, agriculture, and forestry bears testimony to the fact that a more cohesive and sustained effort needs to be taken up. It is further suggested that if the concept of sustainable development is to have any significant impact, politically expedient indecisiveness will have to make way for clarity of purpose and vitality in implementation.
But it is easier said than done. The existing political and social condition in the state calls for more pressing attention such as the improvement of law & order, improvement of economic conditions, not to mention the perennial struggle of sustaining self and family. While these pressing concerns may appear disconnected with the increasing negative impact being demonstrated more clearly with each passing day on the gradually degrading natural environment, the inherent relation between the environment and the social condition cannot be ignored. The interdependence of the two factors, as well as the importance of maintaining a proper balance between progress and environment should be highlighted. Progress at the cost of the environment will still drag us back to the stone age. No amount of man-made structures or infrastructures can replicate the unappreciated benefits provided by the natural environment.