A human being establishes a relationship with its surrounding environment. This field is known as Cultural Ecology. It is important to know the connection between people at large and the biosphere. Once we talked about the biosphere, it means we are considering three regions that are occupied by man. These regions are:
1. Surface of the earth – land, rivers, oceans, lakes and other water bodies
2. Near to surface of the earth- plants and animals
3. Low altitude atmosphere- other organisms like birds and insects
Under Cultural ecology, we study how the environment affects humans and their activities. Also how human affects the environment. In other words, how the environment influences the beliefs and practices of a human group. It is the environment that incorporates a determining influence over the group of individuals living in this environment.
When we talked about the relationship between man and the biosphere then we conclude that like the other living organisms, man is also a significant part of the biosphere. Human beings are dependent upon plants and plants are dependent upon other geographical features like soil, water, land etc. Organisms and the biosphere are interdependent.
Human beings have some features through which he develops culture which animals don’t. They have more ability than the animals to control other aspects of the biosphere. The presence of humans in several environments contributes to the event of various cultures. There is a continuous interaction between nature and culture.
Nature and culture now become very important due to the rise within the human population. There are positive as well as the negative impact of the growing human population on the environment.
Harmful impacts of a growing population:
1. There is the extinction of various flora and fauna because of the growing population and industrialization.
2. Due to deforestation, the level of oxygen is decreasing within the atmosphere. The environment is changing day by day. Global warming also affecting the life of organisms.
3. Increasing pollution (air, water and land), chemical waste from factories etc. contributing harmful effects towards the organisms and their surrounding environment.
4. Hunting also results in the extinction of various animals.
Positive impacts of a growing population:
- Man has a developed brain. He is capable of creating new species of plants and animals. He can even regulate their movement from one place of the globe to a different. He knows about the necessities of plants like their soil, climate etc. This the reason, why earlier there are some plants are found in a particular region but now by artificial means, those plants found everywhere. For eg., the no of regions where the rubber is growing has increased thanks to the efforts of man.
- There are varieties of agricultural produce due to selective breeding done by man.
- New varieties of animals are found for eg. the presence of different breeds of cattle.
- Humans have started using natural resources according to their capacity, which has made their life more accessible.
UNESCO’s Man and Biosphere Programme (MAB)
It is the environmental programme to improve the relationship between culture and environment. So that both benefit each other. It is an intergovernmental programme. c
The main aim of this programme is to develop a balanced relationship between man and environment to achieve their social, cultural and economic development as well as their ultimate goal of sustainable development. However, it is important that in this process the environmental loss or environmental degradation has to be avoided.
India is a signatory to this programme.
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