The environment is complex. It’s got a lot of things; air, water, soil, rocks. Add to that living things; people, animals, plants, trees, insects. They all interact with each and every other to form what is called the ecosystem.
People have had the biggest, most profound impact on the ecosystem among all living beings that ever lived on this planet. We are intelligent beings, and we can do things no other being has ever done. Unfortunately, not everything we do is “good” with respect the the ecosystem. As I mentioned, everything interacts with everything. In big and small ways. In visible and invisible ways. Short-term and long term. The same is true for humans vis a vis. everything in the ecosystem.
It was in order to rectify and prevent the “bad” impacts that the whole concept of EIA came to be. And since it involves so many known and unknown interactions, EIA is one of the most versatile fields ever conceived.
It’s not so much a field as an amalgamations of different fields. Everything we know needs to come together for this assessment to bear fruit. And this is what I mean by “opportunities”. The opportunity for us, as humans to do so many things with EIA.
Morally, we need to ensure that our quest for progress does not push everything else in the world backwards.
- Moral aspect
This is a no-brainer, and is what is used to parade the flag of EIA. We have been doing a lot of harm to the environment, and we have no right to do so. Morally, we need to ensure that our quest for progress does not push everything else in the world backwards. It is an opportunity for us to wipe our conscience clean.
- Scientific opportunities
It gives scientists of very many fields to come together and work the way nature works; interdisciplinary collaboration. It is often seen that people stick to one field and dive as deep as they can into it. But that is never going to bring about holistic growth of human knowledge. Everything in the universe is connected to something, and our knowledge as a species needs to grow the same way. EIA studies help many fields like geology, chemistry, ecology, the science of sound, geomorphology, sociology, economy, politics to come together to study and understand just how much we affect each other.
Instead of conducting simulations and staged experiments, EIA gives us a field to test and understand our activities at ground zero. It is very much a practical study, and we need to do and observe things in order to understand them.
EIA studies help many fields like geology, chemistry, ecology, the science of sound, geomorphology, sociology, economy, politics to come together to study and understand just how much we affect each other.
- Job opportunities
This is an up-and-coming field that requires serious experts from fields that have, till today been theoretical. Experienced individuals with expertise in anything remotely affecting humans and environment are sought after like crazy. So if you are one of those people heading towards a PhD in some obscure field in geology or ecology, don’t fret. EIA is where you can apply all of your knowledge.
- Shift in our thinking
Over the last 200 years, convergent thinking has ruled the world and creativity has been relegated to the arts. This is changing, and changing fast. Businesses and corporate companies have recognized the need for creative thinking more on this here). This is flowing to other areas like education. EIA is a place to further promote this happy change.
- An opportunity for awareness
Most people are woefully unaware of the intricate ways in which we impact the world around us. EIA, if made widespread and a topic of public discussion, could do what environmentalists have been trying to do for decades; MAKE PEOPLE AWARE OF WHAT’S REALLY GOING ON IN THE ENVIRONMENT. Just to show how much of an opportunity this is, let me tell you this; I came to know of what EIA is and what it does in my 3rd year of graduation. And this was because I chose to study a subject intricately involved with nature. The world needs to know what we are doing to the environment, and EIA can give concrete evidences and examples for this.
I plan to do this in future blog posts; provide case studies of EIA so that we can together learn more about our rocky (no pun intended) relationship with the environment.
EIA can do so much, let’s make use of it.