World Environment Day was instituted by the United Nations in the year 1972, to raise awareness among people on environment protection.
Man is a part of environment. Every being that forms the environment needs to survive be it humans, animals, birds and plants.
Present Actions, Future Environment
The environment that we live in today is product of our past actions. What we do today, creates our future environment. Thus, it is vital, that our actions are not detrimental to environment.
Man, a Virus
Every creature on this planet instinctively develops a natural equilibrium with the surrounding environment.
Unfortunately modern man does not! Humans move to an area and multiply, until every natural resource is consumed and the only way they could then survive is to spread to a different area. There is another organism on this planet that follows the same pattern. It is the virus.
A scathing comparison. By his mindless actions, man is killing his environment.
The pollution of land, water, air. The trees making way for concrete jungles in the name of development, have become the norm of the day.
Urgent need to save environment
From inhabitants we have become custodians of our planet and now some have taken it further to the ‘gang-rape’ of our environment.
The UN theme
The UN comes up with a theme every year, to help focus on various aspects of environment and its protection.
Think Eat Save
The theme for the year 2013 was, ‘Think, Eat, Save’, highlighting, ‘eating the right food, in right quantity, avoiding wastage, to save ourselves and our environment.’
Theme 2014 – Islands
The theme this year is, ‘Small Islands Development’.
Islands, unique ecosystems
Islands form unique ecosystems with special flaura and fauna. They form a key aspect of the environment and play an important role in ecology and its balance.
Rare species of tortoises on Galapagos island
According to present estimates, around 600 million live on islands, i.e, around 1/10th of the World population.
These islands are key to the livelihoods, well being and cultural identity of the 600 million people who live on it.
The word “island” is derived from the words ieg, meaning ‘slightly raised land surrounded by marshy, wet areas’. The word was later modified to island, referring to a land surrounded by water on all sides.
In Samskrt, the word Dwipa is used for an island.
Mala Thivu, Maldives
Similarly, the Tamil word for an island is Thevu. Maldives is an island country in Indian Ocean. The name is actually derived from the words Mala Thivu. Mala meaning necklace and Thivu means islands. The name means ‘necklace of islands’.
Male, the Island capital of Maldives
The Lakshadweep islands of India, off the Malabar coast, in the Arabian Sea, as its name suggests, is made up of a lakh of islands, laksh meaning, ‘Lakh’ and dwipa meaning ‘island’.
There are also many small islands on rivers across the world. Majauli island in Brahmaputra is one of the largest river islands in the world. It is a moving island, which is sadly shrinking.
Islands in Cauvery River
The famous Srirangam temple town near Tiruchirapalli, in Tamil Nadu, is an island in the Cauvery River.
Srirangam Temple township located on Cauvery River
Ranganthetu Bird sanctury
Ranganthetu bird sanctury near Mysore is also an island on the Cauvery River, thetu meaning ‘island’ in Kannada.
Ranganthetu bird sanctury
It is interesting to note that the real name of Veda Vyasa, the compiler of Veda, is Krishna Dwaipayana, meaning, ‘Krishna the island born’. In this case the island of his birth was on the Yamuna River.
Krishna Dwaipayana, The Island Born
Thus, we see that there are many such islands not only in the seas and oceans, but also in rivers.
Continents are islands
In fact every continent is an island.These continents have been called as dwipa in the Purana.
The seven dwipa mentioned in the Purana are,
We need to understand the islands and the dangers they face. The global warming and sea level rise is one thing that could swallow the small islands.
This Environment day resolve should be to preserve the small islands if we want to protect the large islands, the continents for our future generations.
An opportunity to sensitize ourselves and others about saving our environment.