What is Environment?
The surrounding atmosphere, ecosystem, natural habitat that all living organisms live in is called their natural Environment. The natural resources that we all living beings use, are also a part of our natural Environment. Till a few decades ago, Environment was considered a term that meant simply the natural surroundings that you lived in. Just like water is the natural Environment for fish, air is the natural Environment for flying birds, forests are the natural Environment for wild animals. Similarly, the air, water, natural resources, etc. are the natural Environment that human beings live in, and need to survive. But in the last few decades or rather half a century, the term Environment has taken on a new dimension and significance. There has been a lot of study and research into this area of human life.
Environmental context in the modern world
The reason Environmental studies have come to the forefront is because of the Environment damage that human progress is causing to the natural ecosystem and resources around us. From the advent of the second Industrial Revolution in the early twentieth century, big industries and huge scale development became the definition of human progress. While this led to lot of conveniences in daily lives, there was a hidden cost to pay which was neglected for a long time. The cost was the impact on renewable resources like forests, trees, fresh air, fresh water, minerals, fossil fuels, the entire environmental balance in terms of temperature, the very harmonious balance of natural life itself.
Fossil fuels and other natural resources are fast getting depleted. There is no way they can be replaced so fast that they will again be available for future generations. The way forests are being cleared, fossil fuels are being burnt, leads to high carbon emissions, global warming and damage to the entire global ecosystem of the Planet Earth. Non-biodegradable waste like plastics, dangerous chemical wastes from industries, etc. are causing pollution of natural resources like Oceans, Rivers, Lakes, Mountains, Forests, etc. that will be very difficult to clean.
It is high time that human beings start re-evaluating their priorities and take a U-turn in their attitude towards the Environment they live in.