Man has built his civilization over time based on natural resources. Since then, in course of time, as civilization has advanced, population has increased, cities and towns around the world have developed, so has the natural change in the overall way of life of human beings. Although the initial form of life has remained unchanged, it has created cracks in that absolute harmony of man with nature. Civilisation has moved away from the traditional principle of interdependent and coexistence with nature and has started to use natural resources violating rules and properties of nature and in accordance with its sweet wish. As a result, arbitrary and uncontrolled exploitation of wildlife and forest resources continues unabated.
Until the nineteenth century, the level of natural exploitation was not felt as strongly as the world's population was much less than now. But from the nineteenth century onwards, the world's population has been steadily increasing, and by the end of the twentieth century, it has grown in size tremendously. Naturally, as the population grows, so does human arbitrariness over the environment. As a result, the deterioration of the natural environment is becoming more and more evident. The over exploitation of resources by human beings is largely responsible for the loss of forests and wildlife. Since ancient times, people have been using wild nature indiscriminately. Neither plants nor wild animals and birds have been exempted from the list of human exploitation.
Global warming has reached an alarming height today as the level of greenhouse gases in the world has risen exponentially. Even the ozone layer in the Earth's atmosphere has been particularly damaged because of excessive accumulation of GHGs. The average sea level is rising every year as the polar ice caps melt. All this has a direct effect on the change of seasons. Forests and wildlife, which depend exclusively on the climate condition, are particularly affected.
A 2018 study by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) found that in the last 40 years, we have lost 60 percent of the world's biodiversity forever due to various reasons. These include certain types of aquatic animals, amphibians, birds, mammals, etc. According to another study, sea pollution alone has wiped out about 89 percent of the world's coral reefs. On the other hand, about 30% of the world's birds have become extinct due to human exploitation and pollution. For example, dodo birds and passenger pigeons can be seen only in the pages of history. Besides, in the heart of rural Bengal, as before, there are no more colourful birds but their names. In addition, the number of rhinos, black deer, toothed elephants, tigers, Asian lions, and many other animals around the world has dropped significantly.
Governments around the world have been taking various measures to protect forests and wildlife since the middle of the twentieth century. Sanctuaries have been set up for wildlife in the country. Moreover, numerous parks for various wild animals have been formed at the national level. Special emphasis is being laid on the development of forests and wildlife sanctuaries by identifying different areas in the interior of the country. On the other hand, special laws have been enacted to curb uncontrolled deforestation and smuggling of will animals.
Along with taking initiatives at the national level, the entire human race must also unite and take action at the international level because this necessity is not limited to one country or region but for the whole human civilization. Realizing this extreme truth from the middle of the twentieth century, different non-profit voluntary organizations dedicated to wildlife conservation have started to grow at the international level. A host of international laws have also been enacted which are mandatory for every country. Various organizations, such as the IUCN, have been particularly proactive in protecting forests and wildlife. Moreover, eminent personalities around the world are also putting emphasis on the urgency of wildlife preservation and afforestation.
Finally, we need to keep in mind that as much as we human beings have rights over natural resources, so also do animals and plants. According to the infallible law of the universe, no creature is self-sufficient in this world, neither human being. It is not possible for anyone to survive without dependence on nature. Mankind is only a part of this natural world. So if forests and wildlife are endangered, human civilization will also be ruined. Therefore, in the interest of civilization, people have to take the lead in conserving forests and wildlife. Above all, we must take responsibility for ensuring sustainable use of natural resources both for us and the posterity.
The writer is a student, Institute
of Water and Flood Management (IWFM), Bangladesh University
of Engineering and Technology (BUET)