||CIU's plan for Providing Assistance
to all Universities of India for Strengthening the Cause of India's
need for change in the developmental policies and systems in India
If human society is to endure not for just another century but for thousands and thousands of years, we need to learn a way of life that could be sustained by the Mother Earth. Human society must learn to control population size and develop more efficient technologies that produce as little harmful waste as possible. We must learn to rely on resources that are renewable. A society based on these ideas is called a sustainable society. We should long for having a sustainable world so profoundly different from the way we live which cannot be imagined without a strenuous exercise of mind. Like human body the Mother Earth has its organs that adjust to changes - in climate, nutrient levels and other aspects of the environment to maintain its stability just as the human organism is made of trillions of cells and as so is the world organism; each of us is a cell of Gaia (Mother Earth).
Changing our ways will be a colossal task which may involve arduous work but as an optimist we should view the third millennium with a cleaner and greener mind and pledge to work on new pollution control technologies as the answer to our polluted waters and skies by better treating our Mother Earth by not to rival nature but to cooperate with it and live in harmony.
We must guide the human race living in a historic transitional period of burgeoning awareness of the conflict between human activities and environmental constraints, into the new century and the new millennium and to finally help save the fragile and endangered planet with the natural resources already overtaxed and for developing a critical path to governance through modern ideas for reducing the toll exacted in supporting daily life and the ever growing problems on the earth exerting profound pressures on the environment.
As the human race enters into a new century, conversations and news reports are peppered with references to our fragile and endangered planet. The earth is five billion years old, and over the eons it has endured bombardment by meteors, abrupt shifts in its magnetic fields, dramatic realignment of its land masses, and the advance and retreat of massive ice mountains that reshaped its surface. Life, too, has proved resilient: In the more than three and a half billion years first forms of life emerged, biological species have come and gone, but life has persisted without interruption.
In fact, no matter what we humans do, it is unlikely that we could suppress the powerful and chemical forces that drive the earth system. Although we cannot completely disrupt the earth system, we do affect it significantly as we use energy and emit pollutants in our quest to provide food, shelter, and a host of other products for the world's growing population. We release chemicals that gnaw holes in the ozone shield that protects us from harmful ultraviolet radiation, and we burn fuels that emit heat - trapping gases that build up in the atmosphere.
Our expanding numbers overtax the agricultural potential of the land. Tropical forests that are home for millions of biological species are cleared for agriculture, grazing, and logging. Raw materials are drawn from the earth to stoke the engines of the growing world economy, and we treat the atmosphere, land, and waters as receptacles for the wastes generated as we consume energy and goods in our everyday lives. Scientific evidence and theory indicate that as a result of such activities, the global environment is undergoing profound changes. In essence, we are conducting an uncontrolled experiment with the planet to the extent that we have come to a point of no return and we may face the disaster any time.
The idea behind putting across these suggestions is to encourage people to throw themselves into a very special environment with full of zeal and enthusiasm for enabling the Indian Citizenery to use his knowledge and skills to the fullest extent of his abilities.
Our country has to manage the different facets of the third millennium with more than one thousand million population. We have great pleasure in proposing a Charter for implementing different programmes having social, educational, cultural and economic content for the optimum development of a sustainable society. The following are the guiding principles of such a Charter :
The principles of the Charter being presented here reflect an awareness of the interrelatedness of all ecological, social and economic processes viz :
• to ensure that human activity respects the integrity of ecosystems and does not impair biodiversity and the ecological resilience of life-supporting systems;
• to encourage the development of a consciousness that respects the value of all life.
• to increase opportunities for public participation in political, social and economic decision-making;
• to break down inequalities of wealth and power which inhibit a participatory democracy.
• to eradicate poverty by developing initiatives that address the causes as well as the symptoms of poverty;
• to provide affirmative action to eliminate discrimination based on gender, age, race, ethnicity, class, religion, disability, sexuality or membership of a minority group;
• to introduce measures that redress the imbalance between rich and poor.
• to adopt and promote nonviolent resolution of conflict;
• to develop an independent, non-aligned foreign policy;
• to develop a self-reliant, defensive, non-nuclear defence policy.
• to develop economic policies which will ensure greater resource and energy efficiency as well as development and use of environmentally sustainable technologies;
• to reduce, dependence on non-renewable resources and ensure sustainable use of renewable resources;
• to adopt more comprehensive social, environmental and technology assessment practices;
• to facilitate socially and ecologically responsible investment.
• to encourage, develop and assist work that is safe, fairly paid, socially useful, personally fulfilling and not harmful to the environment;
• to encourage and facilitate more flexible work arrangements, on-going education, training and social welfare so that more people can engage in meaningful work.
• to respect and protect ethnic, religious and racial diversity;
• to recognise the cultural requirements of the Indians;
• to facilitate a free flow of information between citizen and all tiers of government;
• to ensure that Indians have the benefit of a locally responsible, diverse, democratically controlled, independent mass media.
• to promote equity between nations and peoples by :
• facilitating fair trading relationships;
• providing increased green technology transfer and skills to developing countries;
• opposing human rights abuses and political oppression;
• ensuring that India plays an active role in promoting peace and ecological sustainability.
Long-range Future Focus
• to avoid action which might risk long-term or irreversible damage to the environment;
• to safeguard the planet's ecological resources on behalf of future generations.
We propose our suggestions alongwith our new policy which include special action plans for young people, older people, women, health, education, housing, rural and urban planning, transport, information technology, employment, welfare, industrial relations, drugs, environment, coastal management, water, energy, waste, agriculture, greening of industry, population, constitutional reforms, local self government, community participation, taxes and revenue, finance, debt management, global trading, human rights, civil liberties, sustainability, peace and security.