The environment plays a vital role in determining our well-being. We live in an environment and the quality of our life depends on the quality of the surrounding environment. Today, various types of pollution (e.g., water, air) are creating stress for the people. A large number of diseases come from the environment in which we live.
Stress is any physical or emotional state that causes bodily or mental tension. In the same way environmental stress can be defined as an undesirable transaction between the person and the environment. The demands made by environmental factors on us constitute the sources of environmental stress.
Considerable part of human behaviour is influenced by our environment. Environment has been used to include the physical world and socio-cultural surrounding in which we live and interact with others. The field of environmental psychology deals with the diverse effects of environment on behaviour.
We all wonder at times that in the relationship between human and environment who is superior? We all have read in the newspapers about the remarkable achievement of human beings over nature like going to the moon, cloning, etc. But does this mean that human beings are free to play with nature? What answer can one give to the natural calamities which befall human lives?
Humans Subjugated to Nature
During the early part of history, human beings looked at the environment from a different perspective. They believed that the nature rules human beings. The various components of nature were considered supernatural and objects of worship. However, this view is still held in some cultures. The sun, moon, stars, animals, birds, trees, etc. all are worshiped and also considered to be objects to be afraid of.
This view did not find place in the modern scientific view in which reality in the physical form became important and human capabilities were highly valued. This led to another model which favoured human beings i.e. power or control over nature.
Humans Control over Nature
With the advent of science and technology, nature no longer remained a thing to be afraid of. Experiments were conducted by scientists in the various facets of life. We all have heard about kidney transplant, open heart surgery, etc. In the same way we all see that nowadays the vegetables grown at a specific time of the year are now available throughout the year.
A field called genetic engineering is bringing changes in the pattern of crop production and medicines. Human life has been elevated scientifically but again it was felt that some questions remained unanswered. Devastating earthquakes and global warming (rise in the temperature) which have brought climatic changes and depletion of the ozone layer all are now matters of great concern. Nuclear power has become a constant threat to the world. These problems lead us to think about environment differently in which a balance between man and environment is warranted.
Symbiotic Relationship between Human and Nature
We all read slogans like ‘conserve oil’, ‘plant trees’ and ‘save water’ but have you ever thought why it is said so? Do you know that many of the changes in our environment are happening due to various acts of human beings? Human beings and nature have always shared an interdependent relationship which means that no one is sufficient in itself.
Human beings derive a lot from nature in various forms and it also becomes a necessity that a sense of duty towards nature is generated. People blindly exploit various natural resources without thinking about their impact on others in present time and future. Many natural resources (e.g. oil, coal) are non replenishable and therefore should not be wasted.
The imbalance created due to blind exploitation of nature is also resulting in various forms of pollution and threats to life. The quality of air, water and eatables all are influenced by human intervention.
The symbiotic relationship between human beings and nature is a balanced view which tells us that we must recognize our limitations and do not blindly harm environment by our activities. It recognizes the natural interdependence of the two.