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History on ecology: ‘Consequences of consequences’

By EMN Updated: Jun 03, 2019 11:53 pm

Dimapur, June 3 (EMN): History and action from the past, can have an impact on ecology as it will on the future too. The reason is, according to academicians studying the relation between history and ecology, both are dynamics linked to cause and effect, or ‘past standing in the present.’
The Naga Scholars’ Association hosted a discourse on history and ecology, on Sat. June 1 at the School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, in New Delhi.

The NSA issued a press release on Monday informing about the day’s discussions which broached issues about the dramatic climate changes taking place and will be affecting the environment in the long term; extinction of animals and bird species; and actions from political history such as wars.

The speaker at the event were Prof. Mahesh Rangarajan, who is an author, academician, historian and a researcher.
The chairperson of the event was Prof. Rajat Datta, a professor of history and chairperson of the Centre for Historical Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University.

Prof. Rangarajan explained that the two disciplines history and ecology are similar in nature as both disciplines describe the “past standing in the present to build a better future.” He argued that “we need to take into an account the epochal changes where melting of glaciers indicate that the dramatic climate changes are taking place which will affect our environment in the long term.”

The professor focused also on the issue of extinction of species. Dolphins, for instance, are disappearing in China. Likewise, the common sparrows in India and China are disappearing. He pointed out that with the coming of the 20th century the rate of extinction of species had increased manifold.

‘Unlike the natural extinction of dinosaurs, this rapid extinction is due to enhanced human activity and competition among nation states to outdo each other economically. This should alert us to the magnitude of the environment crisis facing Asia and the world today,’ he said.

Killing whales, he pointed out again, was now endangering the entire eco-systems of the oceans. Further, the speaker used the concept of ‘consequences of consequences’ to describe environmental disasters. He gave the example of the use of fossil fuels in this regard.

“While the fossil fuels had revolutionized transportation in the world, on the other hand, they had an adverse impact on the environment. It is for this reason that the use of fossil fuels is increasingly being challenged,” he said.

Elaborating further, Rangarajan pointed out that war and conflicts in the 20th century impacted environment in a deadly manner. He gave the example of the use of agent orange in Vietnam where the chemical used to attack combatants in conflicts also went on to pollute the water and soil systems of Vietnam.

“The nuclear bombs in Nagasaki had their effects of course on the human beings and at the same time had a debilitating impact on the environment in Japan and as well as on the rest of the world,” he said.

Further, Rangarajan highlighted the end of imperialism and colonialism and the emergence of nation states in the 20th century. He said that even between nations in conflicts there were attempts to foster environmental relationships. He gave the example of China gifting giant pandas to the US and Nehru gifting an elephant to Japan.

Prof. Rangarajan highlighted too the importance of peace and justice for preserving the ecology and environment in the 21st century.

The presentation brought forth a lot of queries and questions and an excellent discussion session took place, the association added in its updates.

By EMN Updated: Jun 03, 2019 11:53:28 pm