Biological Diversity in Asian and Pacific States

This paper highlights on the integration of local knowledge/practice for environmental conservation. Different regional /international modern conferences are being held for world’s environment conservation. Since Stockholm Conference in 1972, several important events have been organized till now for environmental issues. Many Asian and Pacific States have ratified several Conventions on Biological Diversity. But today, the world’s vulnerable environment is challenging those different conventions.

Local knowledge and practice of resource management plays a vital role on environment conservation. Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) is rooted in social and cultural phenomena in resource use and their management. In this modern age we also have to embrace modern knowledge and practice in developmental activities. So, this study focuses on betterment of the integration of modern and local approaches of environment conservation. Then it is important for sustainable development in the local as well as global contexts.

Agenda 21, International Labour organization 169, the UN Draft Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous people, and Intellectual Property Law all provide support for the right of indigenous peoples to participate actively in decisions affecting biodiversity on their territory. However, indigenous concepts of conservation and sustainable use still need to be much better understood by the wider national and international community (Craig, 1995; p.146).

Therefore, this paper argues that, without local peoples’ knowledge/practice, moral code and conduct as well as spiritual values, the technical, scientific and modern legal codes and conducts alone are not sufficient to conserve the environment.

Key words:-Modern knowledge, economic development, spiritual approach, environment conservation, natural resources, pollution, global warming

Background

In this modern era, one of the main issues of the world is the conservation of environment. As economic and physical developments have been speedily made the environment pollution has also increased uncontrollably. With the beginning of twenty first century, the Earths inhabitants have to face both challenges and opportunities. We now see that we are degrading our environment and consuming its resource at unsupportable rates. Regarding this, Cunninghum and Saigo (1997) complain that biodiversity is disappearing at the pace unequaled since the age of Dinosaurs which ended 65 million years ago.

Those activities remembered me the environmentalist Albert Gore who saw the root cause of all environmental evils in the scientific and industrial/technological revolutions. Both followed from people heeding Bacon’s injuctions to use the power of knowledge for human betterment(Baden and Gusdiazerega, 1994).

Though the philosophical vision was raised since very early for ecological balance, in 1960s and 1970s period there was increased public concern about the environment in the United States. Also stronger pressures were built to regulate ecological conservation (Moavenzadeh, 1994).

In the same way in 1962, Rachel L. Carson’s book, silent spring, attributed much of the decline of bird population and some other types of wild life to the widespread use of pesticides and DDT. This book contributed for the rising public concern about environment issues in the United States as well as all over the world (ibid).

Environment problems are not confined within national boundaries. Activities in one country may affect the ecosystem of neighbouring countries. For example, a part of the flood problem in Bangladesh is the result of deforestation in Himalayan Mountain in Nepal. Likewise, air pollutants from industrial establishments inside Indian boarder cross the border and affect Nepal’s ecosystem. Melting of glaciers in Himalayas due to the global warming may increase ocean level and threaten the existence of Maldives and other countries (Jha, Ghimire,et al, 1996).

In the short time span since the industrial revolution (since about 1760), the face of the earth has changed in many areas. In some cases, the change has been irreversible. Man has been conscious of his environment, its impact and influence for a long time, since man and environment are always in close interaction. In the present scenario, humanity is forced to investigate the environmental consequences of its developmental actions-on a local, national and global scale. In the 19  and 20 centuries, unprecedented technological and economic progress generated a material boon and the euphoria resulted in a recession of the environmental and ecological awareness. There was a time when change was called progress (Bera, 2001; p.1).

Then world’s different concerned agencies held different conventions for environmental issues but could not see the effective change of protection of environment. So this study focuses on following objectives;

  • To explore the effectiveness of integration of local and modern knowledge on environment conservation.
  • To make people aware of environment conservation.

Literature review

This section attempts to go through the related literatures of local and modern knowledge for environment conservation. The review of literature is managed in two parts such as theoretical review and empirical review.

Theoretical Review; the prior to review of first theory is glocalization theory which integrates the local knowledge and modern knowledge (global knowledge). With regards to Suchacek (2011) view glocalization comprises two processes i.e., globalization and localization while globalization embraces the planetary process and localization refers to human beings, individual subjects, communities or localities. The study also emphasizes to inter link the phenomena of local process of resource management and global context of environment conservation.

Also the study is related with Robertson (2015) view of think globally and act locally which is perceived as possible a proper strategy for the future sustainable development of the whole earth. Sustainable development comprises “the development which meets the needs of present generation, without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs” (Giddens, 2009). Therefore the integration of local knowledge and global (modern) knowledge can support on keeping central mind for development on sustainably and help to handover the resources in good condition to coming generation.

As the human developmental process went on continuous process the environmental crisis occurred. Then the United Nations Conference on Human Environment held at Stockholm in June 1972 sensitized the world about degrading environment. Since then the environment has become a major issue for man (Karki, 2000).The Stockholm conference recommended the Environmental Education as one of the most powerful instruments to attack the world environmental crisis. It also recommended to celebrate the 5 day of June every year as the world Environment day (Karki, 2000).

In 1987 the first convention was held in Montreal, Canada, on ozone layer protection. Forty seven industrial countries participated and held the declaration of Montreal to reduce the CFC (Chlorofluorocarbon) gas in the world.

In1992 the convention completed in Reo de Jeneiro also submitted the positive programme of protection for ozone layer (Gurung, 2057 BS.). In the other hand, environmental crisis is not minimizing in the world. As the result we can say only the global knowledge/ conventions are not able to motivate the world people. So the study claims that, without integration of local and modern knowledge of environment conservation it is impossible to tie them in environment conservation as well as sustainable development.

International Non Governmental Agencies for Environmental Conservation

There are many agencies which are working for environment conservation. Some of them are given as follows:

World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF)

This institution is established in 1961 for the preservation of wildlife in the world. Its head quarter is located in Gland of Switzerland. It is functional in fifty countries. It is a profitless nongovernmental international nature conservation agency. Its main objective is to conserve sustainable natural ecosystem. Moreover, it is active in protecting different species of wildlife and promoting the use of renewable resources for sustainable development. This institution works in coordination with National Parks Department for the conservation of the endangered wild animal and plant species (Carroll (n.d). It is launching its program since 1976 in Nepal with different wildlife conservation program.

World Union for Nature Conservation (IUCN)

 This institution was established for the conservation of nature and natural resources in 1948. This is also old, non governmental institution for environmental conservation (IUCN report, 2016). The aim of this institution is to help for environmental conservation in coordination with the local Government. IUCN has organized different commissions to manage its programme effectively, such as commission on National Parks Protected Areas, Commission on Education and Communication, Commission on Environmental Laws etc.

United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP)

This institution was established in 1972 for helping institutions which are working for conservation of environment. UNEP is an active partner in the Biodiversity Programme of IUCN. It plays an important role of leadership for environment conservation (Gurung, 2057).

Due to climate change by 2050, 15-37 percent species will be endangered in rich biodiversity region (Nature Journal 2004, cited in Kalpabriksha, 2064 BS). To reduce GHGs (Green House Gases) a conference was held in Kyoto, Japan. 25 Percent of GHGs is produced only by America but America is not accepting that Kyoto Protocal. (Chaudhary; 2064 BS). In this context I remembered here the Marxist power theory. In Marx view, when there is increase in profit there rise in power which leads in controlling the politics (Haralombus, 2003).

However different thoughts and approaches have focused on sustainable use of the natural resources. The Prime Minister of Norway (1987), has forwarded his approach about sustainable development. The view was first introduced in a Report Commissioned by the United Nations, Our Common Future (1987).This is also known as the Brundtland Report (Giddens, 2009).