Understanding Environment


Edited by: Kiran B. Chhokar, Mamata Pandya & Meena Raghunathan

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  • Front Matter
  • Back Matter
  • Subject Index
  • Credits

    Project Assistance: Shriji Kurup

    Illustrations: Mukesh Acharya, Mukesh Barad, Shailesh Bhalani, Mukesh Panchal, Roopalika, Vijay Shrimali, Hemal Solanki and D.M. Thumber

    Support Services: Sarala P. Menon, Kantilal B. Parmar

    The material was reviewed by the following subject experts:

    Seema Bhatt, Independent Biodiversity Consultant

    Sumana Bhattacharya, Climate Change Consultant, Ministry of Environment and Forests Ashoke Chatterjee, former Director and Distinguished Fellow, National Institute of Design Nitya Ghotge, Director, ANTHRA

    P. Gopinath, Associate Professor, Kerala Agricultural University

    Darshini Mahadevia, Associate Professor, Centre for Environmental Planning and Technology

    M.K. Prasad, Member, Kerala Sastra Sahitya Parishad, and former Pro-Vice Chancellor, University of Calicut

    Shailaja R., Programme Coordinator, Centre for Environment Education B.R. Sitaram, Director, Zeal Educational Services

    Late R.C. Trivedi, former Chairman, Gujarat Pollution Control Board

    Centre for Environment Education (CEE) is a national institute of excellence for Environment Education supported by the Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India, and affiliated to the Nehru Foundation for Development. The main objective of CEE is to create environmental awareness among children, youth, decision makers and the general community. CEE develops innovative programmes and materials and field-tests them for their validity and effectiveness. The aim is to provide models that can be easily replicated to suit local conditions.


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    List of Tables

    • 2.1 Major types of ecosystems in the world 23
    • 2.2 India's biodiversity 27
    • 4.1 Sectorwise present and future water requirements: 1990–2050 78
    • 4.2 Specifications for drinking water quality 92
    • 6.1 Decibel levels of common sounds and effects of prolonged exposure 145
    • 7.1 Diversity of agricultural crops in India 165
    • 7.2 Diversity of domestic livestock breeds in India 166
    • 7.3 Paddy output from a half-acre plot 171
    • 8.1 Slum population of selected million plus cities, 1991 and 2001 181
    • 8.2 Level of air pollution in selected cities 185
    • 8.3 Physical characteristics of municipal solid wastes in Indian cities 188
    • 8.4 Indian cities: Waste generation per capita 188
    • 9.1 Industrial contribution of pollution by subsector in India 204
    • 10.1 Carbon emissions per year from burning fossil fuels 226
    • 11.1 India's population 243
    • 11.2 Ecological footprints 255
    • 11.3 Population share of Indian states/union territories, 2001 260
    • 12.1 Per capita GDP of selected countries (2001) 264

    List of Illustrations

    • 2.1 Ecology at various levels 19
    • 2.2 The ecosystem as a dynamic network of interactions between living and non-living components 22
    • 2.3 India: Biogeographic zones 25
    • 2.4 Energy flow 33
    • 2.5 Food chains 35
    • 2.6 Organisms at various trophic levels 36
    • 3.1 Genetic diversity gives rise to several varieties of wheat 48
    • 3.2 There are no cheetahs left in the wild in India today 54
    • 3.3 Project Tiger has helped not only to protect the tiger, but numerous other wild inhabitants of India's tiger sanctuaries as well 63
    • 4.1 Water cycle 74
    • 5.1 Consumption of energy in development of human society 105
    • 5.2 Energy ladder 109
    • 5.3 Solar panel 123
    • 6.1 Industrial effluents 142
    • 6.2 Biohazard symbol 144
    • 8.1 Thermal inversion 186
    • 9.1 India's ecomark 211
    • 10.1 The greenhouse effect 217
    • 10.2 How ozone is destroyed 232
    • 3.1 Causes and mechanics of the loss of biodiversity 55
    • 4.1 Sector-wise utilization of total water resource in India (1997) 79
    • 4.2 Increase in annual groundwater demand (cubic kilometres) 80
    • 4.3 Rapid drop in groundwater in Ahmedabad between 1960 and 1995 81
    • 4.4 Drinking water availability in rural areas 83
    • 4.5 Drinking water availability in urban areas 83
    • 5.1 India: Sources of commercial energy (1997–98) 111
    • 5.2 India: Sectoral consumption of commercial energy (1999–2000) 125
    • 8.1 India: Population distribution in rural areas, urban areas, 1951–2001 179
    • 8.2 Total number of motor vehicles in India (1951–2001) 190


    The Supreme Court of India has ruled that a course on Environment be made compulsory at the undergraduate level. Some universities have already initiated such a course; many others introduced it in the academic year beginning 2004, and still others will follow soon after. The basic purpose of the course is to create environmentally and socially aware and responsible citizens.

    The United Nations has declared the decade beginning 2005 as the Decade for Education for Sustainable Development (ESD). ESD is seen as a process that develops vision, builds capacity, and empowers people to make changes within their societies. The goal is to create citizens who can actively participate in creating a sustainable world for themselves and for future generations.

    This book tries to address both these situations.

    To live sustainably, people need to:

    • Understand how the Earth's natural systems work.
    • Access information about the state of the planet.
    • Aquire tools and skills for wise, efficient and productive environmental management.
    • Be committed to use the Earth's resources sensitively and share its bounty equitably.

    The different components of the book address these needs. The book introduces readers to some of the key scientific concepts and issues related to environment. It also sensitizes them to environmental issues and concerns. Environmental issues make better sense when one can understand them in the context of one's own cognitive sphere. The chapters in this book provide several examples and a fair amount of data. We hope this will help contextualize the information. We hope readers will also try to think about, or make an effort to find out about, similar or related examples from their own region, state, district or neighbourhood to better understand the issues.

    The book contains several ‘boxes’ of information. The boxed items in the text have been introduced to serve two functions—to expand on ideas mentioned in the text and to present related examples. They are also intended to provide a stimulus to readers to explore on their own and find out more about the topic. The book also contains several case studies. These highlight examples of individual and collective actions by citizens that have ‘made a difference’.

    At the end of each chapter are three sections for self-learning and evaluation: Questions, Exercises, and Discuss. The first section includes a list of questions, some of which are intended to get readers to review the key ideas introduced in the chapter and to test comprehension. Others are more open-ended and have been framed to encourage analytical and critical thinking. The exercises require reading and analysis of information, or gathering information through library research, field visits, surveys or interviews. The section Discuss requires students to reflect on statements and think critically; in some cases to think about the pros and cons of an issue and take a position. We hope that readers will enjoy the exercises and find the questions challenging but not daunting!

    We also hope that the book generates enough interest in the readers so that they follow environmental debates in the media, and that it creates enough concern so that they question their own behaviour from time to time, out of a concern for the environment.

    Our attempt has been to provide current data and information. But the rapidity of economic, political, social, and technological change and the constant flow of new research findings make the goal of providing up-to-date information elusive. We are aware that by the time the book is printed, some of the information will have changed. By the time the book reaches the readers, some more information and analysis might no longer be current. We are confident, however, that the ‘information age’ readers will seek out and keep abreast with the latest information and interpretation.

    All the chapters were reviewed by subject experts to ensure accuracy of information and quality. However, some errors might still remain for which the editors take full responsibility. We hope that our readers will bring these to our attention so that we can correct them in future editions.

    A Last Word

    The test of how relevant or useful this book is lies in using it. We look forward to suggestions from readers, what they think about this book, and what additional information and features they would like to see in this book in the future. Please send us this information at highereducation@ceeindia.org or write to us at Higher Education Programme, Centre for Environment Education, Thaltej Tekra, Ahmedabad 380 054.

  • Appendix 1: Environmental Laws in India

    Environmental laws are generally framed and implemented to protect natural resources. In effect, they may be framed to regulate the production or emission of pollutants, to minimize the effect of pollutants or to regulate production processes that affect the environment. However, it is to be noted that the implications of enforcing environmental laws are also reflected on the economic, political, social and cultural status of a country. Hence, laws as an instrument for enforcing cleaner and efficient practices to safeguard the environment will keep on evolving and being modified as new concepts in environment and development emerge. In a way, laws that are currently evolving in India reflect the role of an informed judiciary that is sensitive to inputs from national and global scientific research, peoples' needs and socio-economic issues.

    Given ahead is a list of the various environmental laws in India. It has been arranged chronologically to give some idea of how environmental laws have evolved in our country. We need to keep in mind the political, social and economic status of the country at the time each of these laws was being framed. There could be many challenges in fulfilling the purpose of the law. They could be apparent (inbuilt) flaws existing in the framing of the law; differences in the perception of stakeholders for the need for a particular law; inadequate understanding and awareness of complex environmental issues amongst the public, the judiciary and enforcement agencies; inadequate enforcement of the laws or the implementation machinery, etc. Therefore, it is necessary to view environmental laws from a broader perspective.

    Environmental Legislation, Acts, Rules, Notifications and Amendments

    The Constitution of India clearly states that it is the duty of the state to ‘protect and improve the environment and to safeguard the forests and wildlife of the country’. It also imposes a duty on every citizen ‘to protect and improve the natural environment including forests, lakes, rivers and wildlife’. Reference to the environment has also been made in the Directive Principles of State Policy as well as the Fundamental Rights. Over the years, the Government of India has promulgated a number of Acts, Rules and Notifications for the preservation and protection of the environment.

    Environmental Acts

    The Indian Forest Act (1927) deals with the setting up and management of reserved, protected and village forests, and controls the movement of forest produce. The Forest Act is administered by forest officers who are authorized to compel the attendance of witnesses and the production of documents [sic], to issue search warrants and to take evidence in an inquiry into forest offences. Such evidence is admissible in a magistrate's court.

    The Forest (Conservation) Act (1981) provides for the protection of and the conservation of the forests.

    The Forest (Conservation) Act (1984) primarily focuses on prohibiting or regulating non-forest use of forest land.

    The Mines and Minerals (Regulations and Development) Act (1957) provides for the regulation of prospecting, grant of lease and for mining operations under the control of the central government.

    The Atomic Energy Act (1962) requires the central government to prevent radiation hazards, guarantee public safety and the safety of workers handling radioactive substances, and ensure the disposal of radioactive wastes.

    The Insecticides Act (1968) regulates the manufacture and distribution of insecticides through licensing, packaging, labelling and transporting. It also provides for workers' safety during the manufacture and handling of insecticides.

    The Wildlife Protection Act (1972) and The Wildlife (Protection) Amendment Act (1991) provide for the protection of birds and animals and for all matters that are connected to it, whether it be their habitat or the waterhole or the forest that sustains them. These also deal with the setting up and management of sanctuaries and national parks, setting up of the Central Zoos Authority, control of zoos and captive breeding. They also control trade and commerce in wild animals, animal articles and trophies. An amendment to the Act in 1982 introduced provisions permitting the capture and transportation of wild animals for the scientific management of animal populations. Comprehensive amendments to the parent act in 1991 resulted in the insertion of special chapters dealing with the protection of specified plants and the regulation of zoos. The new provisions also recognized the needs of tribals and forest dwellers, and introduced changes to advance their welfare.

    The Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act (1974) establishes an institutional structure for preventing and abating water pollution. It establishes standards for water quality and effluent. Polluting industries must seek permission to discharge waste into effluent bodies. The Pollution Control Board was constituted under this Act.

    The Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act (1981) provides for the control and abatement of air pollution. It entrusts the power of enforcing this Act to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB).

    The Environment Protection Act (1986) was formulated in the wake of the Bhopal Gas Tragedy in December 1984. It is considered as an umbrella legislation, which was put forward by the Ministry of Environment and Forests to create comprehensive legal measures for safeguarding the environment, through the framing of rules, notification of standards, notification of environmental laboratories, delegation of powers, identification of agencies for management of hazardous chemicals, setting up of Environmental Protection Councils in the States, etc. The laws have been made so stringent that even an individual or organization not directly affected by the pollution may bring before the authorities a ‘Public Interest Litigation’.

    The Factories Act (1948) and The Amendment Act (1987) concern the working environment of the workers. The 1987 amendment empowers the states to appoint site appraisal committees to advise on the initial location of factories using hazardous processes. The occupier of every hazardous unit must disclose to the workers, the factory inspector and the local authority all particulars regarding health hazards at the factory, and the preventive measures taken. These preventive measures must be publicized among the workers and nearby residents. Every occupier must also draw up an emergency disaster control plan, which must be approved by the chief inspector. The Factories Act, after its 1987 amendment, defines ‘occupier’ as a very senior-level manager. Such a person is held responsible for compliance with the Act's new provisions relating to hazardous processes. Non-compliance exposes the occupier to stiff penalties.

    The Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Act (1989) states that all hazardous waste must be properly packaged, labelled and transported.

    The National Environmental Tribunal Act (1995) was passed to award compensation for damages to persons, property and the environment arising from any activity involving hazardous substances. The Act empowers the Centre to establish a national tribunal at New Delhi with powers to entertain applications for compensation, hold an inquiry into each such claim, and make an award determining the compensation to be paid.

    The Energy Conservation Act (2001) aims at promoting the efficient use of energy and its conservation by adopting energy efficiency measures in various sectors of the economy. Appropriate guidelines for energy conservation, creating consumer awareness and disseminating information on efficient use of energy, certification procedures, etc., have been incorporated into the Act.

    The Biological Diversity Act (2002) aims at regulating access to biological resources to ensure equitable sharing of benefits arising from their use. The main intent of this legislation is to protect India's rich biodiversity and associated knowledge against their use by foreign individuals and organizations without sharing the benefits arising out of such use, and check bio-piracy. The Act provides for the setting up of a National Biodiversity Authority (NBA), State Biodiversity Boards (SBBs) and Biodiversity Management Committees (BMCs) in local bodies. The NBA and SBB are required to consult BMCs in decisions relating to the use of biological resources/related knowledge within their jurisdiction and the BMCs are to promote conservation, sustainable use and documentation of biodiversity.

    Environmental Rules

    The Forest (Conservation) Rules (1981) provide for the protection of and the conservation of the forests.

    The Forest (Conservation) Rules (1984) focus primarily on prohibiting or regulating non-forest use of forest land.

    The Environment (Protection) Rules (1986) lay down procedures for setting standards of emission or discharge of environmental pollutants. Broadly, there are three types of standards: source standards, which require the polluter to restrict at source the emission and discharge of environmental pollutants; product standards, which fix the pollution norms for new manufactured products such as cars; and ambient standards to set maximum pollutants loads in the air, and to guide regulators on the environmental quality that ought to be maintained for healthy living.

    The Hazardous Waste (Management and Handling) Rules (1989) seek to control the generation, collection, treatment, import storage and handling of hazardous waste.

    The Manufacture, Storage and Import of Hazardous Chemical Rules (1989) define the terms used in this context, and sets up an authority to inspect, once a year, the industrial activity connected with hazardous chemicals and isolated storage facilities. The Rules spell out the responsibilities of those handling hazardous waste. Under these Rules, a hazardous industry is required to identify major accident hazards, take adequate preventive measures and submit a safety report to the designated authority. An importer of hazardous chemicals must furnish complete product safety information to the competent authority and must transport the imported chemicals in accordance with the Central Motor Vehicle Rules of 1989.

    The Manufacture, Use, Import, Export and Storage of Hazardous Micro-organisms/Genetically Engineered Organisms or Cells Rules (1989) were introduced with a view to protect the environment, nature and health, in connection with the application of gene technology and micro-organisms.

    The Hazardous Bio-medical Waste (Management and Handling) Rules (1998) bind healthcare institutions to streamline the process of the proper handling of hospital waste such as segregation, disposal, collection and treatment.

    The Public Liability Insurance Rules (1992) were drawn up to provide for public liability insurance for the purpose of providing immediate relief to the persons affected by accident while handling any hazardous substance. The Rule obligates every owner to take out an insurance policy covering potential liability from an accident. The ‘owner’ is defined to mean a person who owns or has control over the handling of any hazardous substance at the time of the accident.

    The Environment (Siting for Industrial Projects) Rules (1996) provide guidelines for the establishment of new units with certain conditions, and prohibit the setting up of some industries in certain locations.

    The Recycled Plastic Manufacture and Usage Rules (1999) were notified to regulate the use of plastic carry bags, containers, packaging materials, etc. The Rules prohibit the use of carry bags or containers made of recycled plastics by vendors for storing, carrying, dispensing or packaging foodstuffs.

    The Ozone Depleting Substances (Regulations) Rules (2000) regulate production of ODS, use and sale of ODS, export and import, and new investment on ODS.

    The Noise Pollution (Regulations and Control Rules) (2000) deal with ambient air quality standards in respect of noise for different areas/zones and enforcement of noise pollution control measures. The state government may categorize the areas into industrial, commercial, residential or silence areas/zones for the purpose of implementation of noise standards. The state government shall take measures for [the] abatement of noise including noise emanating from vehicular movements and ensure that the existing noise levels do not exceed the ambient air quality standards specified under these rules. All development authorities, local bodies and other concerned authorities, while planning developmental activity or carrying out functions relating to town and country planning, shall take into consideration all aspects of noise pollution as a parameter of quality of life to avoid noise menace and to achieve the objective of maintaining the ambient air quality standards in respect of noise. An area comprising not less than 100 m around hospitals, educational institutions and courts may be declared as [a] silence area/zone for the purpose of these rules.

    Environmental Notifications

    The Coastal Regulation Zone Notification (1991) regulates various activities, including construction. It gives some protection to the backwaters and estuaries. This regulation strictly controls development activity including tourism within a strip of 500 m from the seashore, along the entire coast of India. While some activities such as setting up a new industry and the expansion of existing factories are completely prohibited, other types of commercial activity are restricted. Building activity is regulated depending upon the level of urbanization and the ecological sensitivity of the coastal region.

    The Environmental Standards Notification (1993) gives industry specific standards adopted for effluent discharge and emissions for 24 designated industries.

    The Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) of Development Projects Notification (1994) makes it mandatory to get environmental clearance from the MoEF for 30 categories of projects including paper and pulp, dyes, cement, etc. The guidelines set out certain areas to be avoided, i.e. where these 30 industries cannot come up. These include ecologically sensitive areas, coastal areas, major settlements, flood plains, etc. The notification mandates a public hearing and requires the project proponent to submit an EIA report, an environment management plan, details of the public hearing and a project report to the impact assessment agency for clearance, with further review by a committee of experts in certain cases.

    The Dumping and Disposal of Fly Ash Notification (1999) seeks to protect the environment, conserve topsoil and prevent the dumping and disposal on land of fly ash discharged from coal or lignite-based thermal power plants.


    Act—Statute which has been approved by a law-making body; decision which has been approved by Parliament and so becomes a law.

    Rules—General order of conduct which says how things should be done.

    Notification—A formal announcement; a notice.

    Amendment—An alteration or change of something proposed in a Bill or approved in an Act.

    Sources:State of the Environment, India, UNEP 2001; <http://edugreen.teri.res.in>; Shyam Divan and Armin Rosencranz 2002, Environmental Law and Policy in India. New Delhi: Oxford University Press.

    (Compiled by Shriji Kurup)

    Appendix 2: International Environmental Agreements

    There has never been a single overarching blueprint for the evolution of international law and institutions. Environmental conventions and treaties have been adopted in response to a specific environmental challenge at a specific point of time.

    The world's governments have adopted several multilateral treaties and conventions on the environment over the past 70 years. From protecting wild animals, to reducing toxic industrial emissions, these legally-binding agreements form the basis for international environmental law.

    They also play a vital role in setting international norms and strengthening cooperation amongst countries with differing national interests. This has also in a way helped in the development of national policies and legislation, environmental-risk management and solutions.

    What are Conventions and Protocols?

    Convention is a term generally used for formal multilateral treaties with a broad number of parties. Conventions are normally open for participation by the international community as a whole, or by a large number of states. Usually the instruments negotiated under the auspices of an international organization are entitled conventions (e.g., The Convention on Biological Diversity of 1992, the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea of 1982, the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties of 1969). The generic term ‘convention’ is synonymous with the generic term treaty.

    The term protocol is used for agreements less formal than those entitled ‘treaty’ or ‘convention’. The term could be used to cover the various kinds of instruments. A protocol deals with ancillary matters such as the interpretation of particular clauses of the treaty, those formal clauses not inserted in the treaty, or the regulation of technical matters.

    A protocol based on a framework treaty is an instrument with specific substantive obligations that implements the general objectives of a previous framework or umbrella convention. Ratification of the treaty will normally ipso facto involve ratification of such a protocol.

    Other Terms

    ‘Adoption’ is the formal act by which the form and content of a proposed treaty text are established. As a general rule, the adoption of the text of a treaty takes place through the expression of the consent of the states participating in the treaty-making process.

    Acceptance and Approval

    The instruments of ‘acceptance’ or ‘approval’ of a treaty have the same legal effect as ratification and consequently express the consent of a state to be bound by a treaty. The practice of certain states is to use ‘acceptance’ and ‘approval’ instead of ‘ratification’ when, at a national level, constitutional law does not require the treaty to be ratified by the head of state.


    ‘Accession’ is the act whereby a state accepts the offer or the opportunity to become a party to a treaty already negotiated and signed by other states. It has the same legal effect as ratification. Accession usually occurs after the treaty has entered into force.


    By signing a convention, a state expresses, in principle, its intention to become a ‘party to the convention’. However, signature does not, in any way, oblige a state to take further action (towards ratification or not).

    Entry into Force

    Typically, the provisions of the treaty determine the date on which the treaty enters into force. In cases where multilateral treaties are involved, it is common to provide for a fixed number of states to express their consent for entry into force. Some treaties provide for additional conditions to be satisfied, for example, by specifying that a certain category of states must be among the consenters.


    Ratification defines the international act whereby a state indicates its consent to be bound to a treaty if the parties intend to show their consent by such an act.

    Some important international conventions and protocols


    • abiotic components: The non-living components present in the biosphere. These include soil, water, air, and energy from the various sources.
    • acid rain: Acidic fumes from automobile exhaust and industrial combustion combine with water vapour in the atmosphere and fall on the earth as droplets of acid or acid-forming compounds.
    • activist: An individual, often working in association with others, committed to bringing about change through direct action.
    • adaptation: Any genetically controlled structural, physiological, or behavioural characteristic that helps an organism survive and reproduce under a set of environmental conditions.
    • advocacy: A form of persuasion to influence opinion and policy.
    • agroforestry: Plantation on individual farmlands of appropriate tree species chosen for their fuel value.
    • appropriate technologies: Form of technology that is typically fairly simple, locally adaptable, gentle, earth-friendly, resource-efficient, and culturally suitable; that depends mostly on local resources and labour; that can be easily expanded, reduced, moved, and repaired; and whose failure temporarily jeopardizes or inconveniences a fairly small number of people.
    • aquaculture: Farming of plants and animals that live in water, such as fish, shellfish, and algae.
    • aquifer: Porous, water-saturated layers of sand, gravel or bed rock that can yield an economically significant amount of water.
    • bioaccumulation/biomagnification: The process by which certain chemicals in the environment become concentrated as they move from one organism to another in the food chain.
    • biodegradable: Substances that can be readily decomposed by living organisms.
    • biodiversity: Short for biological diversity, it is the totality of genes, species and ecosystems in a region or the world.
    • bioenergy: Short for biomass energy, it includes energy from all plant matter (tree, shrub, crop) and animal dung. Currently biomass energy is characterized by a low efficiency of use and a low quality of life due to the drudgery associated with its gathering and use. However, biomass, unlike other renewables, is a versatile source of energy which can be converted to ‘modern’ forms such as liquid and gaseous fuels (biogas, methanol), electricity, and process heat.
    • biogas digester: A device which converts organic matter such as cattle dung or agricultural waste by way of fermentation into a gas which is a 60:40 mixture of methane and carbon dioxide.
    • biogeochemical cycle: Natural processes that recycle nutrients in various chemical forms from the non-living environment, to living organisms, and then back to the non-living environment, e.g., carbon cycle, nitrogen cycle.
    • biogeographical region or bioregion: A land and water territory whose limits are defined not by political boundaries but by the geographical limits of human communities and ecosystems.
    • biological oxygen demand (BOD): The amount of dissolved oxygen needed by aerobic decomposers to break down the organic materials in a given volume of water at a certain temperature over a specified time period.
    • biological resources: Genetic resources, organisms, or parts thereof, population, or any other biotic component of the ecosystem that have actual or potential value for humanity.
    • biomass: Organic matter produced by plants and other photosynthetic producers; wood, wood wastes and by-products; agricultural and animal wastes; and municipal solid waste that can be burned to provide heat or electricity, or converted to liquid or gaseous biofuels.
    • biomass gasifier: A device in which biomass can be converted to a high-energy combustible gas.
    • biomes: Major ecosystems of the biosphere, they are usually spread over large geographic areas with distinctive climates and are characterized by a dominant vegetation and animal life.
    • biosphere: That part of the earth and its atmosphere that is inhabited by living organisms.

      The earth's surface and the top layer of the hydrosphere (water layer) have the greatest density of living organisms.

    • biosphere reserves: Areas designated by the Man and Biosphere Programme of UNESCO. These areas are meant to conserve biodiversity while allowing local communities to continue to live within the reserve and follow their traditional lifestyles.
    • biota: Living organisms.
    • biotechnology: Any technological application that uses biological systems, living organ-isms, or derivatives thereof to make or modify products or processes for specific use.
    • biotic components: All life forms present in the biosphere constitute the biotic component.
    • blow-out: The term is used to describe the explosive effect of rising oil or gas at a well that is insufficiently capped or controlled. This can happen accidentally during the exploration and production of oil and natural gas.
    • BOD: See biological oxygen demand.
    • buffer zone: The region near the border of a protected area in which some human settlement and resource use is allowed.
    • by-law(alsobye-law): Law or regulation made by a local, not a central, authority.
    • carbon sink: Land, forests and oceans which absorb carbon dioxide and act as its reservoirs.
    • carcinogen: Chemicals, ionizing radiation, and viruses that cause or promote the development of cancer.
    • carnivores: Meat-eating animals.
    • carrying capacity: The maximum number of individuals of a given species that can be supported by a particular environment.
    • catalytic convertor: A pollution-control device fitted near the exhaust pipe of automobiles to reduce the amount of carbon monoxide and hydrocarbons in the exhaust. The convertor contains a catalyst (a substance that promotes a given chemical reaction without itself being consumed or changed by the reaction) that oxidizes these compounds to carbon dioxide and water as the exhaust passes through. Catalytic convertors need unleaded petrol, which is at present available only in a few cities in India.
    • chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs): Organic compounds made up of atoms of carbon, chlorine, and fluorine.
    • city: Large group of people with a variety of specialized occupations, who live in a specific area and depend on a flow of resources from other areas to meet most of their needs and wants.
    • climate change: According to FCCC usage, a change of climate which is attributed directly or indirectly to human activity that alters the composition of the global atmosphere and which is in addition to natural climate variability observed over comparable time periods.
    • cogeneration: The production of two useful forms of energy such as high-temperature heat or steam and electricity from the same fuel source.
    • coliforms: All aerobic and anaerobic, gram-negative, non-spore-forming, rod-shaped bacteria that ferment lactose with gas formation within 48 hours at 35°C.
    • commensalism: The cooperative relationship between organisms where one partner gains from the arrangement while the other is neither benefited nor harmed.
    • commercial fuels: Fuels used commercially include the fossil fuels: oil, coal and natural gas; nuclear energy; and hydro, wind and geothermal power.
    • community: A collection of interacting populations within a specific habitat.
    • competition: The struggle between two or more individuals or populations in a habitat for the same resource.
    • compost: Partially decomposed organic plant and animal matter that can be used as a soil conditioner or fertilizer.
    • conservation: The management of human use of the biosphere so that it may yield the greatest sustainable benefits to present generations, while maintaining its potential to meet the needs of future generations.
    • contour: An imaginary line that connects points of equal value, e.g., the elevation of the land surface above or below some reference value.
    • contour bund: A narrow-based embankment built at intervals across the slope of the land on a level, that is, along the contour. It is an important measure that conserves soil and water in arid and semi-arid areas.
    • contour farming: Ploughing and planting across the changing slope of land rather than in straight lines to help retain water and reduce soil erosion.
    • core zone: The region within a protected area that is ‘sacrosanct’ and free of all human interference.
    • coriolis force: An apparent force which, due to the rotation of the earth, acts normal to, and to the right of the velocity of a moving particle in the northern hemisphere, the movement of the particle being considered relative to that of the earth.
    • covenant: A formal agreement that is legally binding.
    • DDT: Dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane, a chlorinated hydrocarbon which has been widely used as a pesticide but is now banned in some countries.
    • decomposers: Organisms that feed by degraded organic matter.
    • deforestation: The removal of trees from forested areas without adequate replanting; converting forest land to other uses such as agriculture.
    • demographic transition: The hypothesis that as countries become industrialized, they first experience a decline in death rates, which is followed by a decline in birth rates.
    • desertification: The conversion of rain-fed cropland or irrigated cropland to desert-like land, with a drop in agricultural productivity of 10 per cent or more.
    • dissolved oxygen (DO): The amount of oxygen gas dissolved in a given volume of water at a particular temperature and pressure.
    • domesticatedorcultivated species: Species in which the evolutionary process has been influenced by humans to meet their own needs.
    • drip irrigation: Also termed as ‘trickle irrigation’, it involves the slow application of water, drop by drop, as the name signifies, to the root-zone of a crop. In this method, water is used very economically, since losses due to deep percolation and surface evaporation are reduced to the minimum.
    • drought: A condition in which an area does not get enough water because of lower-than-normal precipitation or higher-than-normal temperatures that increase evaporation.
    • eco-efficiency: The production of goods in ways that damage the environment less and use less resources without increasing the cost of the goods.
    • ecological niche: The unique functions, roles and habitat of an organism in an ecosystem.
    • ecology: The study of the interrelationships among micro-organisms, plants and animals, and the interactions between living organisms and their physical environment.
    • ecosystem: A dynamic complex of plant, animal and micro-organism communities and their non-living environment interacting as a functional unit with the non-living components including sunlight, air, water, minerals and nutrients. The term implies a partly bounded system, with most interactions inside it. Ecosystems can be small and ephemeral; for example, water-filled holes in trees or rotting logs on a forest floor, or large and long-lived, like forests or lakes (IUCN 1992).
    • ecosystem diversity: Differences among groups of organisms in different physical settings.
    • ecotone: The transitional area between two or more communities.
    • effluent: Liquid waste matter like sewage or industrial discharge.
    • endemic species: A species that is native to a particular region, and found only in that region.
    • energy: The capacity to do work by performing mechanical, physical, chemical or electrical tasks, or to cause a heat transfer between two objects at different temperatures.
    • energy conservation: Reducing or eliminating unnecessary energy use and waste.
    • energy efficiency: The percentage of the total energy input that does useful work and is not converted into low-quality, usually useless heat in an energy-conversion system or process.
    • equity: Fairness in the allocation of and unhindered access to resources so that their benefits are enjoyed by all, especially the weak and the deprived.
    • erosion: The process or group of processes by which loose or consolidated earth materials are dissolved, loosened, or worn away and removed from one place and deposited in another.
    • estuary: The tidal mouth of a river where the salt water of the tide meets the fresh water of the river current. Estuaries are a delicate ecosystem.
    • ethnobotany: The study of how different human societies utilize plants.
    • eutrophication: The enrichment of a body of water with plant nutrients—mostly nitrates and phosphates—from natural erosion and run-off from the surrounding land. This leads to an increase in the growth of organisms to a level where the oxygen supply in the waterbody is depleted.
    • ex-situconservation: Preserving life forms away from the natural habitat, in a zoo, botanic garden, aquarium, gene bank or other facility.
    • exotic organism: A species, subspecies, or a lower taxon that occurs outside its natural ranges and dispersal potential.
    • extinction: The death of a species, which occurs when the last individual of the species dies.
    • flood: The rising of a body of water and its overflow on to normally dry land.
    • fluorescent light: Light generated when an electric current excites gaseous mercury atoms; these atoms then emit ultraviolet radiation that causes a chemical called a phosphor to glow.
    • fly ash: Fine particulate, essentially non-combustible material, carried out in a gas stream from a furnace, as opposed to the ash that remains at the bottom.
    • food chain: A series of organisms, each eating or decomposing the previous one.
    • food pyramid: A graphical representation of the food relationships of a community, with producers (plants, etc.) forming the base of the pyramid, and successive levels representing consumers (animals—herbivores and carnivores).
    • fossil fuel: Any substance, such as oil, coal or natural gas, generated by the decay of organic matter over millions of years.
    • gene: The basic unit of hereditary information.
    • gene pool: The collective name for all the genes of a particular population.
    • genetic diversity: The variation of genes within a species.
    • genetic engineering: The technique of altering the genetic make-up of an organism to suit a specific purpose.
    • genetically modified organism (GMO): An organism whose genetic make-up has been modified by genetic engineering.
    • geologic fault: A crack or fracture in the rocks of the earth's crust with an associated movement of the strata on either side. Faulting is caused by plate tectonics, when movements in the crust create stress and tension in the rocks, causing them to stretch and crack.
    • geothermal power: The use of steam produced naturally in deep underground wells to run a turbine and generate electricity.
    • germplasm: Genetic material, especially its specific molecular and chemical constitution, which comprises the physical basis of the inherited qualities of an organism.
    • global warming: The warming of the earth's atmosphere as a result of increases in the concentrations of one or more greenhouse gases.
    • greenhouse effect/gases: A natural effect that traps heat in the atmosphere (troposphere) near the earth's surface. Some of the heat flowing back towards space from the earth's surface is absorbed by water vapour, carbon dioxide, ozone, and several other gases in the atmosphere, and is then radiated back towards the earth's surface. If the atmospheric concentrations of these greenhouse gases rise, the average temperature of the lower atmosphere will gradually increase leading to global warming.
    • green revolution: A popular term for the introduction of scientifically bred or selected varieties of grain that, with high enough inputs of fertilizer and water, can greatly increase crop yields.
    • gross domestic product (GDP): A measure of the total flow of goods and services produced by a country's economy over a specified time period, normally a year. It is the sum of the final outputs of the various sectors of the economy (agriculture, manufacturing, government services, etc.) after subtracting inputs to production. GDP includes only domestic production. Gross national product (GNP) includes overseas production.
    • groundwater: Water that sinks into the soil and is stored in slowly flowing and slowly renewed underground reservoirs called aquifers.
    • gully plug: An artificial structure constructed on the gullies (channels) to check the speed of running water, thereby preventing erosion and increasing percolation. It can be made of wood, metal or stones.
    • habitat: A place or site where an organism or population naturally occurs.
    • hazard: Something that can cause injury, disease, economic loss or environmental damage.
    • herbicide: A chemical that kills a plant or inhibits its growth.
    • herbivores: Plant-eating animals.
    • homeostasis: The tendency of an ecosystem to return to a state of equilibrium.
    • humus: The complex mixture of decayed organic matter that is an integral part of healthy soil.
    • hydrocarbon: Organic compound of hydrogen and carbon atoms.
    • hydroelectric power(alsohydropower): The production of electricity using the force of water falling from a height. The falling water turns huge turbine blades, which in turn create the power to turn a magnet inside an AC generator.
    • hydrosphere: All the water on the earth—liquid water (oceans, lakes, other bodies of surface water, and underground water), frozen water (polar ice caps, icebergs, glaciers ice in soil), and the water vapour in the atmosphere.
    • immigration: The migration of people into a country or area to take up permanent residence.
    • incandescent light: Light generated by the electrical heating of a thin filament; as the filament heats up it gives off light, as in an ordinary light bulb.
    • insecticides: Chemicals that kill insects.
    • in-situconservation: Preserving wild plants and animals in their natural habitat, or domesticated plants and animals in their areas of domestication or cultivation, and use.
    • invasive: A species occurring as a result of human activities beyond its accepted normal distribution and which threatens valued environmental, agricultural or personal resources by the damage it causes.
    • isotopes: Two or more forms of a chemical element that have the same number of protons but different mass numbers due to different numbers of neutrons in their nuclei.
    • land-use planning: The process for deciding the best present and future use of each parcel of land in an area.
    • least-cost end-use energy planning: The planning of an energy system that delivers energy services using the least possible energy.
    • limiting factor: An environmental factor which, when in excess or insufficient amounts, inhibits the growth or reproduction of an individual or a population.
    • lumens: A measure of the amount of light produced by a light source. The efficiency of a light source is indicated by the unit lumens per watt—a measure of the relation between the amount of light produced and the amount of energy consumed.
    • mass transit: Buses, trains, trolleys, and other forms of transportation that carry large numbers of people.
    • mechanical energy: The energy of a moving object. It is the moving force behind all machinery.
    • metabolism: The ability of a living cell or organism to capture and transform matter and energy from its environment to supply its needs for survival, growth, and reproduction.
    • micro-watershed:Seewatershed.
    • monoculture: The cultivation of a single crop, usually on a large area of land.
    • mutagen: The chemical or form of ionizing radiation that causes inheritable changes (mutations) in the DNA molecules in the genes found in chromosomes.
    • mutualism: An interaction between two species in such a manner that both species are mutually benefited.
    • nalabund: A permanent structure made of stones and cement to check the flow of water in the low-lying area between two hillocks. The arrested water percolates underground, raising the groundwater level. The bund has a causeway for draining surplus water.
    • national park: A category of protected area designated under the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, e.g., Corbett National Park. It is given a high level of protection, and certain activities such as grazing are not permitted within the national park.
    • native species: A species that normally lives and thrives in a particular ecosystem.
    • niche:Seeecological niche.
    • nitrogen fixation: The conversion of atmospheric nitrogen to nitrogen compounds that can be used by plants.
    • noise pollution: Any unwanted, disturbing or harmful sound that impairs or interferes with hearing, causes stress, hampers concentration and work efficiency or causes accidents.
    • non-degradable pollutant: Material that is not broken down by natural processes.
    • non-native species: A species that has been accidentally or deliberately introduced into an ecosystem from another place, and does not naturally occur there.
    • non-renewable resource: A resource that exists in a fixed amount in various places in the earth's crust and has the potential for renewal only by geological, physical and chemical processes taking place over hundreds of millions to billions of years. Examples include copper, aluminium, coal and oil.
    • nuclear energy: A method of generating electricity in which the heat from radioactive decay is used to boil water; the resulting steam is used to spin a turbine.
    • nutrient: Any food or element an organism needs to take in to live, grow or reproduce.
    • occupational hazard: A condition in an occupation that increases the peril of accident, sickness, or death.
    • organic compounds: Compounds containing carbon atoms combined with each other and with atoms of one or more other elements such as hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, sulphur, phosphorous, chlorine, and fluorine.
    • organic farming: Producing crops and livestock naturally by using organic fertilizer (manure, legumes, compost) and natural pest control instead of using commercial inorganic fertilizers and synthetic pesticides and herbicides.
    • ozone depletion: The decrease in the concentration of ozone in the stratosphere.
    • parasitism: Individuals of one species living in or on individuals of other species.
    • patent: The sole right for a term of years to the proceeds of an invention.
    • pathogen: An organism that produces disease.
    • perpetual resource: A resource, such as solar energy, that is virtually inexhaustible on a human timescale.
    • pest: Unwanted organism that directly or indirectly interferes with human activities.
    • pesticide: Any chemical designed to kill or inhibit the growth of an organism that people consider to be undesirable.
    • pH: Numeric value that indicates the relative acidity or alkalinity of a substance on a scale of 0 to 14, with the neutral point at 7. Acid solutions have pH values lower than 7, and basic or alkaline solutions have pH values greater than 7.
    • photochemical smog:Seesmog.
    • photovoltaic cell: A device in which the sun's radiant energy (sunlight) is directly converted into electrical energy.
    • photovoltaic conversion: The conversion of the sun's radiant energy into electrical energy, usually through a device called a photovoltaic or solar cell.
    • plankton: Small plant organisms and animal organisms that float in aquatic ecosystems.
    • point source: A single identifiable source that discharges pollutants into the environment.
    • pollutants: Material or heat, the presence of which in undesirable amounts causes the contamination of air, water, or soil. It may be a natural substance, such as phosphate, in excessive quantities, or it may be very small quantities of a synthetic compound, such as dioxin, which is exceedingly toxic.
    • pollution: An undesirable change in the physical, chemical or biological characteristics of air, water, soil or food that can adversely affect the health, survival or activities of humans or other living organisms.
    • population: A group of naturally interbreeding individuals of one species of plant or animal living in a defined area and usually isolated to some degree from similar groups.
    • population density: The number of organisms in a particular population found in a specified area.
    • population distribution: The variation of population density over a particular geographic area.
    • population dynamics: Major abiotic and biotic factors that tend to increase or decrease the population size and the age and sex composition of species.
    • poverty line: A level of income below which people are deemed poor. A global poverty line of $1 per person per day was suggested in 1990 (World Bank 1990). This line facilitates the comparison of how many poor people there are in different countries. But, it is only a crude estimate because the line does not recognize differences in the buying power of money in different countries, and, more significantly, because it does not recognize other aspects of poverty than the material, or income poverty.
    • predation: The consumption of one animal by another.
    • pro bono publico: For the public good.
    • producers: These are organisms which make their own food (also called autotrophs).
    • protected area: A geographically defined area which is designated or regulated and managed, to achieve specific conservation objectives, primarily the conservation of wildlife.
    • public interest litigation: Lawsuits filed by any individual or group to seek redress or intervention in actions that are harmful to public interest.
    • radioactivity: The energy released when an atomic nucleus breaks up.
    • rainwater harvesting: The process of collecting and storing rainwater from rooftops, land surfaces or rock catchments using simple techniques.
    • recycling: Collecting and reprocessing a resource so that it can be made into new products.
    • renewable energy: Energy derived from sources which have the potential of being continually replenished, for instance, solar radiation, energy from flowing or falling water, from wind, etc.
    • renewable resource: A resource that theoretically can last indefinitely without reducing the available supply because it is replaced rapidly through natural processes. Examples include trees, grasses, wild animals, fresh surface water in lakes and streams, most groundwater, fresh air and fertile soil. If such a resource is used faster than it is replenished, it can be depleted and converted into a non-renewable resource.
    • reserves: Resources that have been identified and from which a usable mineral can be extracted profitably at present prices with current mining technology.
    • run-off: Fresh water from precipitation and melting ice that flows on the earth's surface into nearby streams, lakes, wetlands, and reservoirs.
    • salinization: The accumulation of salts in soil, which can eventually make the soil unable to support plant growth.
    • sanctuary: A category of protected area designated under the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, e.g., the Shoolpaneshwar Wildlife Sanctuary. Sanctuaries are accorded a lower level of protection than national parks.
    • seismic activity: Activity pertaining to or produced by an earthquake or other vibrations of the earth and its crust.
    • sludge: A mixture of toxic chemicals, infectious agents, and settled solids removed from waste water at a sewage treatment plant.
    • smog: Originally a combination of smoke and fog; but the term is now used to describe other mixtures of pollutants in the atmosphere. Photochemical smog, for example, is a complex mixture of air pollutants produced in the atmosphere by the reaction of hydrocarbons and nitrogen oxides under the influence of sunlight.
    • social forestry: A term used by the National Commission on Agriculture in 1976 to denote tree-raising programmes to supply firewood, fodder, small timber and minor forest produce to rural populations.
    • solar cell:Seephotovoltaic cell.
    • solar power: The process of generating electricity from the sun. Heat from the sun can be used to turn water into steam to drive a turbine, or sunlight can be used to power a solar cell.
    • solid waste: Any unwanted or discarded material that is not a liquid or a gas.
    • species: The unit used to classify the millions of life forms on earth.
    • species diversity: The variety of species within a region.
    • styrofoam: A light, resilient foam of polystyrene.
    • subsistence economy: An economic system where the primary goal is to produce enough goods to meet basic survival needs.
    • succession: The process by which ecosystems and their communities evolve over time, altered by, while at the same time altering, their local environment.
    • sustainable development: Development that ‘meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs’.
    • sustainable management: The use and management of natural resources in a way and at a rate that do not lead to the long-term decline of the resources, thereby maintaining their potential to meet the needs and aspirations of present and future generations.
    • sustainable use: The use of components of biological diversity in a way and at a rate that does not lead to the long-term decline of biological diversity, thereby maintaining its potential to meet the needs and aspirations of present and future generations.
    • symbiosis: The relationship between two or more species that have a mutual interaction.
    • synergisms: The phenomenon in which two factors acting together have a very much greater effect than would be indicated by the sum of their effects separately.
    • taxon(pluraltaxa): Any group of organisms or population considered to be sufficiently distinct from other such groups to be treated as a separate unit.
    • thermal inversion: The layer of dense, cool air trapped under a layer of less dense, warm air. This prevents upward flowing air currents from developing.
    • tiger reserve: A management category designated under Project Tiger and not under the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972. A tiger reserve may include within it national parks and sanctuaries. For example, the Ranthambhore Tiger Reserve includes the Ranthambhore National Park and the Kela Devi Sanctuary.
    • toxin: A poisonous substance.
    • traditional fuel: Firewood, dung and agricultural wastes, which are traditionally gathered and not bought. Since it is difficult to monitor, traditional fuel use is not included in most assessments of national, regional or global energy use.
    • transpiration: The process in which water is absorbed by the root systems of a plant, moves up through the plant, passes through pores (stomata) in the leaves, and then evaporates into the atmosphere as water vapour.
    • trophic level: Those organisms in a food chain that are the same number of steps away from the original source of energy.
    • tropical rainforest: A dense forest that is comprised of tall trees, developed in hot, totally frost-free conditions, where rainfall is both abundant and well distributed throughout the year. The forests are dominated by broadleaved evergreen trees, which shed old leaves and grow new leaves continuously.
    • turbidity: A measure of fine suspended matter in liquids.
    • United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC): Also called the Climate Change Convention, the UNFCCC is the centrepiece of global efforts to combat global warming. It was adopted in June 1992 at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janerio, and entered into force on 21 March 1998. The convention's primary objective is the stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system. Such a level should be achieved within a time frame sufficient to allow ecosystems to adapt naturally to climate change to ensure that food production is not threatened and to enable economic development to proceed in a sustainable manner.
    • urban growth: The rate of growth of an urban population.
    • vascular plants: Plants with a vascular system, i.e., vessels that translocate water and nutrients from roots to stems and leaves, and products of photosynthesis to other parts of the plant. They include seed-bearing plants and ferns or fern-like plants.
    • water cycle: The process by which water travels in a sequence from the air (condensation) to the earth (precipitation) and returns to the atmosphere (evaporation).
    • water table: The upper surface of the zone of saturation, in which all available pores in the soil and rock in the earth's crust are filled with water.
    • waterlogging: The saturation of the soil with irrigation water or excessive precipitation, so that the water table rises close to the surface.
    • watershed: Land area from which water drains towards a common watercourse in a natural basin. The size of a watershed forms a basis for classification into different categories. One such classification is: sub-watershed (100–500 sq km), milli-watershed (10–100 sq km), micro-watershed (1–10 sq km) and mini-watershed (less than 1 sq km). The size helps in computing many parameters, e.g., precipitation received, retained and drained off.
    • watershed development: The process of carrying out a soil and water conservation programme with optimal physical measures within the boundaries of a watershed for enhanced agricultural production.
    • watershed management: Planning development and other activities for an entire water-shed so as to maintain the overall water-flow characteristics of the area.
    • wetland: Land that is covered all or part of the time with salt water or fresh water, excluding streams, lakes, and the open ocean.
    • wind farm: A cluster of wind turbines set up to generate electricity.
    • windmill/wind machine: A device that generates electricity inexpensively, reliably, and in a non-polluting way by capturing the power of the wind. A basic windmill consists of one or more blades, a mechanism to keep the blades rotating at a constant speed in the face of changing winds, and a generator.

    About the Editors and Contributors

    The Editors

    Kiran B. Chhokar is a cultural geographer. She heads the Centre for Environment Education's (CEE) Higher Education Programme, and has been visiting faculty at the Portland State University, USA. Dr Chhokar is also co-editor of Asian Women and Their Work: A Geography of Gender and Development (1998), and is the series editor of the EnviroScope series of thematic manuals for college teachers, developed in collaboration with the World Resource Institute, USA. She is currently working with the University of Lancanshire, UK, on developing a blended learning programme on Ecotourism, Conservation and Development.

    Mamata Pandya has been working at CEE since 1985. She previously taught at Lady Shri Ram College, University of Delhi. Mamata Pandya's primary focus is on development of environmental education materials, in a variety of media, for both teachers and students. She has published extensively and her previous publications include Guide to Green Citizenship (2003) and Towards Sustainability: Learning from the Past, Innovating for the Future (2002).

    Meena Raghunathan is currently Coordinator, Networking and Capacity Building, at CEE. She has been working in the area of environmental education for over 18 years. She has been involved in the development of educational materials for teachers and students, and has over several publications to her credit including The Green Reader: An Introduction to Environmental Concerns and Issues (co-editor). Ms Reghunathan is the Vice-Chair (South Asia) of the IUCN–Commission on Education and Communication, an international network of environmental educators.

    The Contributors

    Seema Bhatt is an independent consultant working on biodiversity issues. She has worked with World Wide Fund for Nature–India in its Biodiversity ‘Hotspots’ Conservation Programme and was subsequently the South Asia Coordinator for the USAID-supported Biodiversity Conservation Network. Since 2000, she has been part of the Technical and Policy Core Group which has facilitated the formulation of India's National Biodiversity Strategy Action Plan.

    Sunil Jacob joined CEE in 1991 after completing a Masters degree in Environmental Science. He has been involved in developing environmental education material for educators and children using a variety of media, and also in conducting training programmes for pre-service and in-service professionals. His special interest is in the use of ICT for environmental education.

    Hema Jagadeesan has a Ph.D. in plant sciences from Madurai Kamaraj University. She worked at CEE from 1996 to 2000. She is currently at the Hong Kong Baptist University as Research Associate where she is working on phytoremediation of heavy metal pollution and on urban waste management.

    Shivani Jain holds an M.Sc. (Ed.) Life Science degree and a PG Diploma in Management, Ecology and Environment. She has been at CEE since 1996 where she has been primarily involved in networking, training and capacity building programmes. She has authored a manual on ecology for teachers.

    Kalyani Kandula completed her Masters in Social Work from the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai, where she worked for a year as a project officer. She joined CEE in 1996, and is currently heading their programmes in Andhra Pradesh. She has authored

    Towards a Green Future: A Trainer's Manual on Educating for Sustainable Development.

    Vivek S. Khadpekar studied architecture in Ahmedabad and did his post-graduation in Urban Studies in London. He is involved in the Urban and Cultural Heritage programmes of CEE. His area of special interest is the historical evolution of cities and its impact on their present form and environment.

    Avanish Kumar worked as a research scholar at the Environmental Sciences Division, National Botanical Research Institute, Lucknow, after completing his Masters in Environmental Science in 1996. He joined CEE in 2000, where he has been involved in developing reports, case study documents and organizing consultations for international summits and meetings. He has also been involved in projects on education for disaster preparedness.

    Kartikeya V. Sarabhai is the founder Director of CEE. He did his Tripos in Natural Science from Cambridge University, UK, and postgraduate studies at MIT, USA. He was awarded the ‘Tree of Learning Award’ of The World Conservation Union in 1988 in appreciation of his contributions to the field of environmental education and communication. He has been the Chair of the IUCN–Commission on Education and Communication for South and South East Asia, and is the Vice-Chair of the IUCN National Committee for India.

    Sarita Thakore has been working at CEE since 1997 and was involved in the writing of a teachers' manual entitled Building Blocks: From Environmental Awareness to Action.

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