Emerging Ecological Crisis in Nagaland Essay
Ecological crisis are indeed a true crisis of humanity. Whenever man tried to progress and advance further, crisis inevitably took place. It has been seen that man always had to pay very dearly when he make some progress. When the Industrial revolution hit Europe in the 19th century, the world hailed the advent of the glorious new age. It was a brave new world-a world of steam engines and motor cars. Then came aeroplanes, spacecrafts and finally computers. Great cities all over the earth echoed with the sound of factory sirens and the roar of machinery. However did anyone foresee the havoc that was to be caused by this attack on nature.
In our day, there is a growing awareness that world peace is threatened not only by the arms race, regional conflicts and continued injustices among peoples and nations, but also by a lack of due respect for nature, by the plundering of natural resources and by a progressive decline in the quality of life. The sense of precariousness and insecurity that such a situation engenders is a seedbed for collective selfishness, disregard for others and dishonesty. Faced with the widespread destruction of the environment, people everywhere are coming to understand that we cannot continue to use the goods of the earth as we have in the past.
The fact that many challenges facing the world today are interdependent confirms the need for carefully coordinated solutions based on a morally coherent world view. The public in general as well as political leaders are concerned about this problem, and experts from a wide range of disciplines are studying its causes. Moreover, a new ecological awareness is beginning to emerge which, rather than being downplayed, ought to be encouraged to develop into concrete programs and initiatives.
Ecological crisis occurs when the environment changes in such a way that it destabilizes its continued survival. The history of ecological change or crisis is still so rudimentary that we know little about what really happened, or what the results were. For example, the extinction of the European aurochs as late as 1627 would seem to have been a simple case of overenthusiastic hunting. On more intricate matters it often is impossible to find solid information.
People, then, have often been a dynamic element in their own environment, but in the present state of historical scholarship we usually do not know exactly when, where, or with what effects man-induced changes came. As we enter the last third of the 20th century, however, concern for the problem of ecological backlash is mounting feverishly. When the first cannons were fired, in the early 14th century, they affected ecology by sending workers scrambling to the forests and mountains for more potash, sulphur, iron ore, and charcoal, with some resulting erosion and deforestation.
But it was not untill some generations back that when man arranged a marriage between Science and Technology, the devastation of atom bomb was a different order which alters the genetics of life forms on earth. When both technology and science got their start, acquired their character, and achieved world dominance, it would seem that we cannot understand their nature or their present impact upon ecology. Since then, the crisis and issues upon ecology set its foot and thus environmental crisis was the gift of modern development and progress.
Infact science and technology are not only to be blamed, the decisive nature of man’s mindset upon them has also brought a critical transition to a great extend. There is no doubt today that a major dimension of the present multidimensional crisis, which extends to the economic, political, cultural and general social level, is the ecological crisis, namely the crisis which concerns not the relations between social individuals, as the other dimensions of the crisis, but our interaction, as social individuals, with the environment.
The upsetting of ecological systems, the widespread pollution, the threat to renewable resources, as well as the running out of non-renewable resources and, in general, the rapid downgrading of the environment and the quality of life have made the ecological implications of economic growth manifestly apparent in the past 30 years. Furthermore, it has now been established beyond any doubt that the ecological crisis and particularly the greenhouse effect as well as the consequent climate change hich is the most important manifestation of this crisis, worsens daily. In fact, the recent publication of the report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) finally brought the ecological crisis to the status of universal front-page news.
The catastrophic climatic change threatening us all because of the greenhouse effect becomes obvious once we take into account that, even if we take the best-case scenario of a 2. 2*C rise in temperature this century (while a 4. C rise is much more likely), this would mean (according to the European Commission) that an extra 11,000 people in Europe would die within a decade, and from 2071 onwards there would be 29,000 extra deaths a year in southern Europe alone, on top of 27,000 extra deaths in northern Europe. It would, therefore, be well worth examining the main ecological crisis in order to understand not only the causes of the ecological crisis, but also the ways out of it. When we say ecology or write something about on ecology, forests play a very vital role in maintaining a balanced ecological system.
The forests have preserved the soil, protected from flooding and silting of rivers, canals and dams were held under control. It also plays a vital role in regulating the earth’s temperature and helps balance the carbon dioxide and oxygen for all living creatures – both human and animals. Nagaland is one of the fastest deforested states in North East India. All the virgin forests have been deforested within two decades. Most of the forests in Nagaland belong to village communities and only few forests have been reserved by government.
It is very unfortunate to see that many villagers have sold their forests to log operators without knowing the value of forests and the consequences of its destruction. The Intangki National Park in Nagaland is one of the best examples. It is the biggest reserved forest in Nagaland but today, Intangki National Park is a hot spot of ecological degradation due to encroachment and the encroachers have established a new village within Intangki National Park. The destruction of forests possesses critical treats to the people, increasing erosion of irreplaceable soil, creating greater ater shortages and contribution to drought and desertification. Even in Nagaland we can see the climate change and every year it has become warmer and warmer. Climate change in Nagaland has also been witness in Nagaland. Warmer summers and increase in the number of pests like locusts in the fields and mosquitoes in urban areas may be a pointer that climate change has already arrived in Nagaland. During July-September many places in the state witnessed locusts invading localities in the evenings when lights were switched on. Even in Mokokchung we did experience such invaders which was never happened and experienced before.
While farmers said swarms were destroying their standing crops. Since October last year till March end, the state hardly experienced any rain leading to severe drinking water shortage in hill areas, while farmers in many places complained of either delay in sowing or non-germination of seeds. Vegetable suppliers were saying that everywhere in the North-east farmers were now complaining about unknown diseases affecting their crops with traditional management of such problems not working any more, resulting in unpredictable harvests.
Although there has been no significant research on climatic change in the state, interactions with local farmers suggested a marked change in the climatic pattern affecting the agricultural calendar, a paper published by the state Department of Forest, Ecology, Environment and Wildlife said. The paper noted that there were indications of a significant rise in the occurrence of summer-borne diseases as well as an increased occurrence of pests such as mosquitoes at higher altitudes than was found earlier. Climate change might be the reason for these occurrences in the state, the paper said.
It was a well documented fact that carbon dioxide was one of the main green house gases which led to climate change, the department paper noted. A large quantity of CO2 produced by the traditional ‘jhum’ or slash and burn cultivation which is the main agricultural practice prevailing in the state could be the main reason behind this and coupled with rampant deforestation made Nagaland very susceptible to the phenomenon of climate change. Pointing to burning of fossil fuel in vehicles, it is the biggest contributor to global warming at individual level everywhere in the state. According to a conservative estimate, there were 1. 0 lakh registered vehicles in Nagaland (a document published by the state Department of Forest, Ecology, Environment and Wildlife) against a population of 25 lakh, or one vehicle against 16 or 17 people. Nagaland’s commercial hub Dimapur, particularly during the dry season, is crossing permissible limits. In the year 2011, the average concentration of RSPM (Respirable Suspended Particulate Matter) was found to be highest in the month of January at both the stations – Bank Colony (317) with158 µg/m3 and Dhobinala (448) with 166µg/m3 exceeding the permissible limit of 100µg/m3.
The lowest reading of RSPM was recorded in the month of July with 20µg/m3 (stated by the Nagaland Pollution Control Board (NPCB)). Undoubtedly, the Nagaland government’s effort to frame an action plan against Climate Change by April 2011 in line with the National Action Plan on Climate Change is a step in the right direction. It is so especially for the fact that there have been many talking points through seminars, workshops or conclaves on the need to draw a common goal to combat Climate Change and foster sustainable development.
At the grass root level also, efforts are on to restrict hunting and burning of jungles by almost all the village councils in the state. In 2010, Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio assured the assembly session that the DAN government was committed to addressing Climate Change ‘to preserve the environment’ while enabling grass-root level institutions and communities to facilitate ‘green governance’. Extinction of Biodiversity is also a major threats contributing to ecological crisis in Nagaland.
Deforestation and conversion of land for agriculture accompanied by growing population has caused habitat loss leading to threat of many species of flora and fauna in Nagaland. Though geographically being a small state, Nagaland has several types of forests, mainly because the state is mostly tropical, and the altitudes range from a few hundred meters to about four thousand meters. The state owns a rich and varied heritage of Biodiversity and is one of the 25 hotspots of the world in terms of biodiversity. Despite of its richness bestowed upon the Nagas, we are deteriorating the gift of nature by fair or foul means.
We frequently forget that we are a part of a great complex web of life and our existence depends on the integrity of 1. 8 million species of plants and animals on earth that live in a large number of ecosystems. The main driver of adverse change in Biodiversity is our attitude towards economic activities and increasing practice of shifting cultivation as a result of population explosions. Trees are being cut down for logging; animals are hunt down for meet and pleasure and most importantly as a gift to superiors. If these trends continued there will be a time for us to use puppies and cat as a gift to them.
We are now facing a stage of crisis where we are not satisfied with what we have. Amur falcon, a migratory bird from Serbia to Africa which flies across the state are hunting down every year and the rest are hunt down on their way back. We don’t miss anything that flies above us except aircrafts and aeroplanes neither we don’t look back for what we did. Water pollution, solid Waste disposal, land degradation still continues contributing to a huge ecological crisis in Nagaland. The unscientific disposal of biomedical waste causes adverse impacts not only on the ecosystem but also human environment is a cause for concern.
No proper sewage treatment facilities exist in the state and thus this negligence of water source has created a potential of all water bodies becoming pollutants and toxic in the near future. CONCLUSION Today we have created a new environment which presents a gloomy picture for future life. There was a time when we thought that ecological crisis is not a serious problem but now ecology crisis is a reality in Nagaland. For so long Nagas have been silent spectators and escapist from ecological concern but now its time to wake up and need to involve and care for the earth.
It is true that fighting for the political freedom without concern for the integrity of creation is no value. Then the question we need to ponder is, what is the use of freedom after all the natural resources have gone? Daily local newspaper and media has no room for environment that we need to preserve but often speaks of politics, fashion, etc. Theoretically we Nagas are strong and have concern for our environment but practically we lack far behind. We talk lot and do nothing. We always blame someone about deteriorating environment or for inaction but what actually one does for his own environment.
We should not wait for the schemes and programmes to be implemented but we first need to change our attitude toward environment and those activities that we do daily. Its high time for us, the environmentalists, churches, NGOs, overground and underground, ruling and opposition parties need to realize the seriousness of ecological crisis and come together to work and protect our environment in order to maintain ecological balance so that it will sustain lives and for the generations to come. Ofcourse we can make a difference to our environment if only we think globally and act locally.