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Environment provides resources which support life on the earth and which also help in the growth Of a relationship Of interchange between living organisms and the environment in which they live. It is important to realist that humans enjoy a unique position in nature due to their exceptional ability to influence and mould the environment. In the recent past the term nature has been used as parallel to word environment. It has been generally believed that nature is what man has not made. In our discussion environment and nature have been used as synonym, which incorporate most of the visible manifestation of geography.Raymond Williams defines nature as ‘the material world itself, taken as including or not including human beings. ‘ Tracing the history of the term he suggests that ‘nature’ has meant the ‘countryside’, the unspoiled places’, plants and creatures other than man. ‘ (Keywords, London, 1988.

P. 219-223). Similarly, there are several vantage points from where environment has been studied and most of us follow a complex combination of these methods. There are ecologists who are primarily biological scientists and focus on relationships between environment and the living being in general.

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Another et of scientists, generally termed as environmental scientists, try to examine the functioning of the earth and the nature of human interactions with it. Declining bio-diversity has [email protected] Com.

Com Mahayana Kumar given rise to conservationist biologists who stress application of scientific knowledge for conservation Of bio-diversity, which they rightly consider as centre of existence of life on earth. Accepting the role of human agency in the ‘deterioration of environment’, the environmentalists are suggesting scientific interventions to mitigate the ill impacts of human activities.Conservationists long with accepting the role of human activities in the deterioration of environment also recognize the needs of present and future generations of humans. They stress the prudent use of resources to ensure the present and future needs of human society. More recently, the role of disparity both economic and social within the society and among societies and nations has defined the agenda for the study of the environment by social scientists, particularly at the level of policy formulations.The traditional understanding of nature has been that it is a system created by God for the sustenance of humans.

The general belief was that the Earth was the hub of the universe and man had a central place in it. It was also believed that the environment was a static entity with little or no possibilities of change. This had been the dominant view until the advent of enlightenment in the early modern era. However, with the growth of scientific thinking and reason it came to be gradually accepted that neither the Earth was at the axis of Universe, nor the Humans were the core of the Earth.

Science also established that there has been continuous change in the nature of environment all along the history of the Earth, though the speed of change offered for different components of nature and even this speed had not been a uniform speed. This holds true for the evolution of both living and non-living components. The industrial revolution heralded a completely new era in which the term ‘environment’ attained new dimensions. The present day concerns of environmental pollution, decay of bio-diversity and the green-house effect have necessitated a redefining of the concept of the man-nature relationship.Another 2 corollary has been the problems related with the modern concept of development and resultant compulsions of conservation.

In their attempt to onshore the dwindling bio-diversity, humans started demarcating fragile ecological zones ranging from forests, wet lands, bio-sphere reserves, mangroves, etc. , as reserves to preserve not only the flora-fauna but also the physical attributes of ecological niche itself. It often led to conflicts with the communities sustaining on such resources, e. G. Forest-dwellers.

Similar kind of conflicts can be located on the sites for big-dams and ancillary activities which necessitated displacement.Therefore, it is mandatory on our part to also examine the historical evolution of social relations in their interaction tit the ecological conditions on the one hand and the multiple issues of contemporary environmental discourse on the other. The first section of this essay deals with the historical evolution of the concept; it is then followed by a discussion on the contemporary conflict between notions of development and environment; the last section traces the significance of

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