(2) all conditions, circumstances, and influences surrounding, and affecting the development of, an organism or a group of organisms
The singular defining element of man is his ability for rational thought. This, is his only tool of survival; man will perish if he were to compete with lions and elephants for food on a physical basis. It is by the functioning of his mind was he able to build tools and weapons to raise crops and kill animals for food. The means of production of food may have changed vastly, but the basic principle remains the same: man must depend on plants and animals for food; his skin doesn't have chlorophyll in it.
Since it is by the functioning of his mind that man survives, man unlike other animals cannot and will not adapt continuouly and infinitely, he changes his surroundings to suit him. Since man is not as thick-skinned as the rhino, he has to keep himself warm in the winter by living inside houses or wearing sweatersboth products of man's mind. This is the essence of man's relation with the environmentman has to modify his surroundings to survive in them.(For those of you who doubt this: try spending a night in the open with no clothes on). Man' s survival is because of the products of his mind.
Having understood that man's survival depends upon the modification of his environs, man also faces the possibility that some of his actions, some of his modifications can have consequences that are harmful to him at a later stage. Excessive spillage of chemical refuse into lakes can contaminate water supply stations and kill fish (thus disrupting water and food supplies). The solution for such a problem is chemical treatment and filtering.
An important principle is evident here, the solution to a problem created by science lies in science. It is only a scientific approach that can help us determine the short-term and long-term outcomes of a modification of the environment. The project undertaken could be anythinga dam, a hydel power plant, a nuclear plant. The safety of the men involved in such a project and the safety of those who stand to benefit from that project must be the first concern of those who undertake that project.
But what are the environmentalists fighting for? The environmentalist is a man-hater. The single thing he hates about man is the functioning of his mind. This, according to him is "...the root cause of all problems" (a friend of mine). The environmentalist proposes "intrinsic environmental value" to be absolute. He states that man "...must live in equillibrium" with nature. He contends that man constantly keeps threatening "..the delicate balance in nature"
This basic fallacy in the environmentalist's argument is a specific case of a common maladycontext-dropping. If we drop a cave, a bear, a man, a deer some trees and rocks on a bare planet, the only possible 'equillibrium' that one can expect is that the man lives in the cave after killing the bear with weapons made from spears of the wood from the trees and eats the deer for food and uses the hide of the bear as a coat. This is the only "delicate balance" that can can exist in a world where man lives.
But the environmentalist craves for a 'clean and green world' where 'all animals and plants live in harmony with each other'. His world has man removed from it. Environmentalists attempt to 'study' nature as if man didn't eixst and then try to apply the derivations of their studies onto a world where man exists. How do they reconcile their inconsistencies? The trick is to include man in some considerations and arguments and leave him out of other considerations.
It is true that 'American ideas' have come to dominate the ideological content of the people of many a nation. MacDonald, KFC, Coke and Baywatch are not the true measure of this domination in ideas. Pragmatism, eco-terrorism and multiculturalism are its true representatives. Now if anybody does ever believe in the maxim: "Not all things American are good", then they must have been refering to these 'ideas'.
Eco-terrorism is committing acts of violence and arson on companies, individuals under the pretext of 'protecting the environment' or 'saving endangered species'. No country, not even America, can afford these acts of vandalism and terrorism. But people in India, seem to be 'in tune with the times' with regards to environmental protection and 'biodiversity preservation'. The attacks on the Cogentrix Power Project (Karnataka), The Enron Power Project (Bombay) and the recent field trials of Monsanto stand in testimony to this.
I need not explain to people, the state of power supply and mamagement of this country. Whole cities are plunged into darkness and candles and 'gaslights' are lit all over the country every year during summer nights, turning the nation into a sort of a medieval spectacle. It is during such 'medieval times' that Narmada Bachao Andolan' and other environmental activists introduce us gently to such modern concepts as eco-terrorism and deep ecology. It is in the pitch-dark of the night when we sit huddled up waiting for the power to come, to study for exams, to switch on the computer again, to switch on the ECG monitor again that Dr. Nanjundaswamy (President KRRS ) and Medha Patkar come and tell us that all our problems are because we failed to 'respect the environment'. It is true for these people, that it is better to die without electricity than live without trees.
And to top it all, claims of envirnmentalists are usually accompanied by shrill shrieks, cries announcing apocalypse, doomsaying prophecies and other such appeals. There are only two emotions that they appeal to: fear and guilt. Let me answer their threats.
For those of you who stand on top of a platform on a mointainside in a holiday resort, peering through your binoculars, commenting on the 'ghastly rape that man has perpetuated on the countryside', let me ask you: the engine of the bus that took you to that platform, the sweater and the warm shoes you are wearing, and the binoculars you are using, aren't these the products of the mind of the same man who 'raped the countryside'?
For those of you who write everyday in newspaper columns, firing salvos and spilling venom on those who 'cut down trees indiscriminately', let me tell you: countless trees are felled to produce the newsprint, on which your stories are printed and carried to far corners of the globe. Let me also tell you that if your columns are widely read, a day will come when the same people who read your columns will arrest your gardener and put him in jail for deweeding your garden, charging him under 'dectruction of a local biodiversity focus'.
For those you who wail that the 'pristine beauty of nature' has been 'spoiled' by the 'expoitation' by man to his 'selfish' ends, let me remind you; it takes man to appreciate the beauty of nature, for there can be no beauty in nature without man to behold it.