Emerging Ecological Crisis in Nagaland

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Undoubtedly, the ecological crisis is a genuine crisis for humanity. Whenever mankind has pursued progress and development throughout history, an inevitable crisis has ensued. The advent of the Industrial Revolution in 19th century Europe was enthusiastically celebrated as it marked the start of a remarkable new era filled with steam engines, motor cars, airplanes, spacecrafts, and eventually computers. The bustling cities were alive with the noise of factory sirens and thunderous machinery sounds. However, amidst this progress, no one could have foreseen the catastrophic consequences that would result from this relentless attack on nature.

Various factors, such as the arms race, regional conflicts, ongoing injustices among people and nations, a lack of respect for nature, the depletion of natural resources, and declining quality of life put global peace in jeopardy. These threats are further intensified by feelings of vulnerability and insecurity. Consequently, collective selfishness, indifference towards others, and dishonesty emerge. The widespread destruction of the environment also prompts individuals worldwide to recognize that our past exploitation of Earth’s resources is unsustainable.

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The interconnected nature of current global challenges highlights the importance of finding harmonized solutions grounded in a shared moral perspective. Both the general public and political leaders are apprehensive about these issues, and scholars from various fields are examining their underlying reasons. Additionally, a growing ecological consciousness is surfacing, and rather than being disregarded, it should be nurtured to foster tangible projects and endeavors.

The environment faces an ecological crisis when it undergoes changes that threaten its ongoing existence. Our understanding of ecological change or crisis is limited, making it difficult to piece together what exactly transpired and the consequent outcomes. One instance, such as the extinction of the European aurochs in 1627, can be attributed to excessive hunting. However, obtaining concrete information proves challenging for more complex scenarios.

Throughout history, humans have had a significant influence on their environment, making it challenging for historians to pinpoint the precise timing, location, and outcomes of human-induced changes. Despite this difficulty, as we near the end of the 20th century, there is increasing apprehension regarding potential ecological repercussions. An illustration of this concern can be seen in the early 14th century when cannons were first introduced. The utilization of cannons necessitated workers to acquire extra resources such as potash, sulphur, iron ore, and charcoal from forests and mountains. Consequently, erosion and deforestation took place.

In the past, the merging of Science and Technology led to the creation of the atomic bomb, which greatly affected life on Earth. As advancements progressed, understanding their true nature and environmental effects became more difficult. As a result, contemporary development and progress have caused ecological issues and emergencies.

While science and technology cannot be solely blamed for the present crisis, our perception and approach towards these advancements have played a significant role in this transition. The current crisis is complex, affecting various sectors including economics, politics, culture, and society. However, the ecological crisis has had an especially profound influence on this situation. Unlike other crises that pertain to societal relationships, the ecological crisis primarily revolves around our interactions with the environment as social beings.

Over the past three decades, there has been a growing recognition of the connection between economic growth and its detrimental effects on the environment. These effects encompass disruptions to ecological systems, extensive pollution, risks to sustainable resources, exhaustion of non-renewable resources, and overall deterioration of both environmental conditions and quality of life. Furthermore, it is widely acknowledged that the greenhouse effect and consequent climate change are intensifying this ecological crisis. A recent report from the IPCC emphasized this urgent situation and garnered considerable media attention.

The greenhouse effect presents a significant danger to everyone as it leads to drastic climate changes. The European Commission predicts that Europe would face an added 11,000 deaths within ten years due to a temperature increase of either 2.2*C or more likely 4*C this century. Additionally, starting in 2071, southern Europe would see an annual rise of 29,000 deaths and northern Europe would experience an extra 27,000 deaths. Therefore, it is crucial to thoroughly examine the main ecological crisis in order to understand its causes and find solutions. When discussing or writing about ecology, it is essential to recognize the vital role forests play in maintaining a well-balanced ecological system.

The forests in Nagaland, a state in North East India, are experiencing rapid deforestation. This has had significant consequences for soil preservation and the prevention of flooding and river siltation. Furthermore, these forests have been instrumental in managing canals and dams. They have also played a crucial role in regulating global temperatures and maintaining the equilibrium of carbon dioxide and oxygen levels for all living organisms, including humans and animals. Unfortunately, over the course of twenty years, all pristine forests in Nagaland have been eradicated. Despite village communities being the owners of most forests, only a limited number have received governmental protection.

It is unfortunate to witness that many villagers have sold their forests to log operators without understanding the value of forests and the consequences of their destruction. The Intangki National Park in Nagaland serves as a prime example of this. Despite being the largest reserved forest in Nagaland, it has now become a hot spot for ecological degradation due to encroachment. Encroachers have even established a new village within the boundaries of Intangki National Park. This destruction of forests poses critical threats to communities, including increased erosion of irreplaceable soil, water shortages, and contributing to drought and desertification. In Nagaland, there is evident climate change, with each passing year becoming warmer. Warmer summers and an increase in pests such as locusts in fields and mosquitoes in urban areas may be indicators that climate change has already reached Nagaland. Locust invasions during July-September have been witnessed in many parts of the state, particularly in the evenings when lights are switched on. Even in Mokokchung, we have experienced this invasion which has never occurred before.

Farmers reported that swarms were causing damage to their crops, while the state faced a severe drinking water shortage in hill areas due to minimal rainfall from October to March. Many farmers experienced delays in sowing or non-germination of seeds. Vegetable suppliers noted that farmers across the North-east were now encountering unknown crop diseases that traditional management methods could no longer remedy, leading to unpredictable harvests.

While there is limited research on climatic change in the state, a paper from the state Department of Forest, Ecology, Environment and Wildlife acknowledges that local farmers have noticed a significant shift in the agricultural calendar due to changing climate patterns. Additionally, the paper emphasizes an increased occurrence of summer-borne diseases and pests like mosquitoes at higher altitudes, which contradicts previous studies. The paper suggests that these changes in the state could be caused by climate change.

According to a department paper, it is widely known that carbon dioxide is one of the main greenhouse gases contributing to climate change. In Nagaland, the state’s prevalent agricultural practice known as ‘jhum’ or slash and burn cultivation, along with rampant deforestation, has resulted in significant CO2 emissions. Consequently, the state is highly vulnerable to climate change.

Additionally, the burning of fossil fuels in vehicles plays a significant role in global warming at an individual level throughout the state. Dimapur, which serves as Nagaland’s commercial hub, often exceeds permissible limits for air pollution during the dry season due to its estimated 1.0 lakh registered vehicles and a population of 25 lakh.

In January 2011, both Bank Colony (with an average concentration of 158 µg/m3) and Dhobinala (with an average concentration of 166 µg/m3) exceeded the permissible limit of 100µg/m3 for Respirable Suspended Particulate Matter (RSPM).

The Nagaland Pollution Control Board (NPCB) has reported a minimum reading of 20µg/m3 for RSPM in July. This aligns with the Nagaland government’s objective to develop an action plan by April 2011, in line with the National Action Plan on Climate Change. Various discussions such as seminars, workshops, and conclaves have emphasized the importance of setting a common goal to address Climate Change and promote sustainable development.

In Nagaland, there are attempts at the village level to limit hunting and forest fires. Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio pledged in 2010 that the DAN government would take action against Climate Change to protect the environment and support local institutions and communities for environmentally friendly governance. The ecological crisis in Nagaland is worsened by the loss of biodiversity.

Due to deforestation and land conversion for agriculture, along with a growing population, Nagaland is currently experiencing habitat loss. This poses a threat to numerous species of flora and fauna. Despite its small size, Nagaland has diverse forests thanks to its tropical climate and varying altitudes that range from several hundred meters to about four thousand meters. The state is famous for its rich biodiversity and is recognized as one of the 25 global hotspots for biodiversity. Unfortunately, as Nagas, we are endangering this valuable natural resource through various methods, whether ethical or unethical.

Many often overlook that we are part of a complex interconnected web of life. The survival of 1.8 million species in various ecosystems on Earth depends on our actions. Regrettably, our economic activities and the increasing practice of shifting cultivation due to population growth significantly contribute to the decline of biodiversity. Deforestation resulting from logging, hunting animals for food and recreation, and even gifting pets like puppies and cats to those in positions of power all play roles in these troubling trends.

Currently, we are in a state of crisis where we are unsatisfied with our current situation. Each year, migratory birds called Amur falcons travel from Serbia to Africa and are hunted down during their journey. We do not spare anything that flies above us, except for aircraft and airplanes. Additionally, we do not reflect on our past actions. Nagaland still experiences significant ecological crisis due to water pollution, improper disposal of solid waste, and land degradation. The unscientific disposal of biomedical waste not only has negative effects on the ecosystem but also raises concern for the human environment.

No proper sewage treatment facilities exist in the state and as a result, there is a potential for all water bodies to become pollutants and toxic in the near future.
CONCLUSION Today, we have created an environment that paints a bleak picture for future life. We used to believe that ecological crisis was not a significant issue, but now it is a reality in Nagaland. The Nagas have long been passive observers and avoided taking responsibility for ecological concerns, but now it is crucial to awaken and actively care for the earth.

Although fighting for political freedom is crucial, it becomes meaningless if we neglect the preservation of our natural resources. This raises concerns about the purpose of freedom when all our resources have been exhausted. Sadly, the local newspaper and media frequently overlook discussions on environmental protection, instead prioritizing politics and fashion. In theory, us Nagas display strength and concern for our environment; however, in practice, we fail to take sufficient action. We extensively discuss the deteriorating environment and blame others for their inaction, but what concrete steps are we taking to safeguard our own environment?

We cannot rely solely on schemes and programs to make a difference. We must shift our mindset and behavior towards the environment in our daily lives. It is imperative for various groups such as environmentalists, churches, NGOs, both legal and covert organizations, ruling and opposition parties to acknowledge the seriousness of the ecological crisis and collaborate to safeguard our environment. This unity is vital for preserving ecological equilibrium and guaranteeing a sustainable future for generations to come. Undoubtedly, we possess the power to positively influence our surroundings by adopting a global perspective while taking local action.

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Emerging Ecological Crisis in Nagaland. (2016, Dec 12). Retrieved from


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