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Environmental Protection: Critical Perspectives in Science and Literature

DR. MALLESH REDDY, DR. SANJAY N. SHENDE, DR. PREMILA SWAMY D.

Environmental Protection: Critical Perspectives in Science and Literature

Environmental Protection and its Reflection in Literature

Edited by…

Dr. B. Mallesh Reddy

Assistant Professor

Department of Botany

Shree Shivaji Arts, Commerce & Science College, Rajura Maharashtra, India

Dr. Sanjay. N. Shende

Assistant Professor

Department of English

Shree Shivaji Arts, Commerce & Science College, Rajura

Maharashtra, India

Dr. Premila Swami D.

Assistant Professor & Head

Department of Humanities

Ramaiah Institute of technology, Bangalore

Karnataka, India

Dedicated to …

All the Academicians, Researchers and Activists across the globe who have been making genuine efforts for Environmental Conservation and Sustainability.

Content…

About Editors

Editorial Board

Acknowledgement

Editorial Preface

Foreword

Index- Science Section

Index – Literature Section

Research Articles

Science Section

Literature Section

About Editors

1. Dr. B. Mallesh Reddy

M.Sc., M. Phil., Ph. D. in Plant Sciences

He is working as Assistant Professor in Botany in Shree Shivaji College, Rajura, affiliated to Gondwana University, Gadchiroli, Maharashtra, India. He has 11 years experience of teaching and 10 years experience of research. He has published 11 research papers in National and International reputed Journals and has also published two books with ISBN. Organised and conducted several National and International level conferences and seminars.

2. Mr. Sanjay N. Shende

M. A., Ph. D. in English

He has 20 years experience of teaching (UG & PG) and research. He has completed a minor research project sponsored by UGC. He has published 19 research papers in various National and International reputed journals and conference proceedings. He has organised and conducted several National and International level conferences and seminars. He has authored two books on English language and literature published by International publishers.

3. Dr. Premila Swamy D.

M. A., Ph. D. in English

She is presently working as an Assistant Professor & i/c Head in the Department of Humanities, Ramaiah Institute of Technology, Bangalore. She has 14 years of teaching experience in higher education institutes of repute. She has worked extensively on Indian English Writings and her doctoral thesis is on the contemporary Indian Writer, Manju Kapur. Her field of interest includes English Language, Indian Writing in English, Subaltern Studies, Postmodern and Postcolonial literature. She has numerous research papers and books to her credit. Apart from the academic, she is a creative writer who actively engages herself in writing short stories and poems.

EDITORIAL BOARD

Sr. No.

Name

Country

Designation

1

Dr. B. M. Reddy
Shree ShivajiCollege, Rajura Maharashtra, India

India

Chief Editor

2

Dr. Sanjay. N. Shende
Shree Shivaji College, Rajura Maharashtra

India

Co-editor

3

Dr. Premila Swamy D.
M.S.Ramaiah Institute of Technology Banglore Karnataka

India

Co-editor

4

Dr. Albrecht Classen
University of Arizona, Tuckson, USA

USA

Reviewer

5

Dr. Elangovan Mamundy
Thiagarajar College, Madurai, Tamilnadu

India

Reviewer

6

Dr. Shailesh Bahadure
Dr. Ambekar College, Deekshbhumi Nagpur, Maharashtra

India

Reviewer

7

Dr. Krishna Chaitanya
Department of Humanities & Mathematics Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Technology, Hyderabad

India

Reviewer

8

Ms Priti Sharma
Govt. College, Faridabad, Haryana

India

Reviewer

9

Dr. Aslam Sheikh
N. H. College, Bramhapuri, Maharashtra

India

Reviewer

10

Dr. Prafulkumar Panda
Udala College, Udala, Odisha

India

Reviewer

ACKNOWELDGEMENT

Environmental degradation and protection are a matter of concern for all of us and the concept of this book ensued from this concern and interest.

The publication of a book on environmental protection and its reflection in literature is our maiden attempt to understand the intricacies of the concept of environment, factors causing degradation and depletion of the resources, and coping strategies for the alleviation of the global issues and the reflection of ecological concerns in literature in English. Our long-cherished desire of publishing a book on environment has been realized through this book.

We would like to acknowledge the support and cooperation extended by the people involved in this project.

At the outset, we express our sincerest gratitude to researchers and authors who contributed their valuable research and intellectuality. Without their research articles and support, this book would not have become a reality.

Our sincere thanks are due to the reviewers, namely Dr. Albrecht Classen (USA), Dr. Elangovan Mamundi (Tamilnadu), Dr. Shailesh Bahadure (Maharashtra), Ms. Priti Sharma (Haryana), Dr. Prafulkumar Panda (Odisha), Dr. Aslam Sheikh (Maharashtra), and Dr. Krishna Chaitanya (Telangana) who reviewed the articles by contributing their time and expertise and suggested modification and revisions which helped in the improvement of quality, coherence and content presentation of this book.

We are thankful to, Dr. Sambhaji Warkhad, Head of the institution for his continuous support and encouragement during the entire process of publication of this book.

We are also thankful to our colleagues, friends and family members for their consistent motivation and moral support which maintained our spirit for this academic endeavour.

Lastly, we express our sincerest gratitude to the publisher for accepting our manuscript for publication.

Editors

EDITORIAL PREFACE

Environment constitutes the things and conditions present around an organism. Environment plays a very significant role in the growth, development, and survival of all organisms. Any minor imbalance in the environment can disrupt the survival of organisms in the ecosystem. Similarly, organisms also influence the environmental conditions of their habitat. It is an obvious fact that both the living organisms and the environment are interrelated and interdependent for sustainability. A perfect balance between the two factors is indispensable for the sustenance and regulation of the life cycle on the earth.

But unfortunately, for the last few decades, this balance is being consistently damaged and it has generated several problems for the organisms as well as for the environment. Human beings are an integral part of this ecosystem and hence they are expected to live in a harmony with all the organisms and with the environment. But the human self-centeredness, high intellectuality, materialistic attitude, industrialization, modernization, and technological advancement are causing exploitation and depletion of available natural resources thus resulting in irreparable and irrevocable damage to the environment.

The damaged environment is not suitable for the survival of the organisms on the earth and it is also not suitable for human beings. Such damaging of the environment and depletion of natural resources is usually referred to environmental degradation. The degraded environment can create enormous problems in the future and may eliminate the entire human race. It requires us to be more conscious about the environment and live responsibly to foster well-being of all and make this planet a better place to live in.

This book is, therefore, a humble attempt to arouse sensibility and consciousness about the environment through scientific and literary discourses on the subject.

The portrayal of nature and environment has been one of the most common and recurring themes in world poetry since the beginning of literature. Themes related to nature and environment have found more literary space in poetry in comparison to other genres of literature. The early poetry mainly explicates the vivid beauty of nature and landscapes, its soothing effect, tantalizing sensations, and its impact on the mind of poets or beholders.

To be precise, the early poets presented nature as seen or experienced, emphasizing its beauty and impact on the mind and psyche. This tradition continued from the prehistoric period till the advent of the popular Romantic Movement in the 18th century and even thereafter. In the early literature, nature was seen as a subject of beauty, a healer, and a remedy for an escape from the dry mundane physical world of clamor, pollution, and hubble-bubble.

Nature and the natural world have been explored through many works like Hesiod’s Works and Days (8th century B.C.) Poem of Aqhat (15th cent.), Theocritus’s Idylls (3rd century), Milton’s Lycidas (1638), Virgil’s Eclogues (37-30 B.C.), The Chinese Book of Songs (10th to 15th Century), Sir Philip Sidney’s Arcadia (1580), John Denham’s Coopers Hill (1642), James Thomson’s The Seasons (1730). Later, the Romantic Movement which became much popular in the first half of the 19th century in Europe, following the 18th century which was the age of rationalism, transformed the entire perspective of looking towards nature and writing about nature. It was a revolt against classicism and up to a certain extent against rationalism. Following Rousseau’s call for ‘Return to Nature’, many romantic poets like Wordsworth, Eichendorff, Novalis, Shelly, Byron, Keats, and Coleridge expressed their emotions and manifested their imagination liberally in poetry. ‘Romanticism was a revolt against the classical restraint, intellectual discipline, and artificial standards. Romanticism did not oppose everything for which the past stood as literary romanticism proceeded from neo-classicism. A writer or an artist is neither exclusively classical nor romantic. Wordsworth was not entirely free of classicism. Pope was not wholly unromantic.’ (Agrawal, History of Romantic Movement). Romanticism was also seen as ‘Liberation of the personality’ and ‘Emancipation of Ego’ as it gave way to feelings and imagination devoid of any rules or decorum.

British and American poets like Walt Whitman, Robert Frost, Emily Dickinson, John Clare, Emerson, Henry Thoreau, William Bryant, Robinson Jeffers, Theodore Roethke, A. R. Ammons, Wendell Berry, Gary Synder and W. S. Merwin, etc. have also written about human bonding with the natural world and we find similar ideas expressed in French, Italian, German, and other poetry of that time.

Indian literature is no exception to nature writings. The early Indian poets explored the environment and nature in poetry. Although the early Indian writers have simply followed the western romantic tradition, yet they were successful in portraying the charm and beauty of the Indian landscape. Poets like Rabindranath Tagore, Sarojini Naidu, and more recent ones like A K Ramanujan have enchanted the Indian and western audience too.

Ecocriticism also referred to as ‘Green Studies’ as a school of literary thought, began in the late 20th century. Owing to the industrial revolution and over-exploitation of nature and natural resources, the environmental crisis became severe which in turn compelled the environmentalists, researchers, and theorists to find a way out. It was Cheryll Glotfelty who used the term ‘Ecocriticism’ for the first time for ‘the studies of nature writing’ during the WLA Conference in 1989, and later, he co-founded the Association for the Study of Literature and Environment (the ASLE) in 1992. Though Glotfelty was the pioneer for using the term, Ecocriticism as a formal literary theory investigating the interrelationship of the human and natural world was a result of composite efforts of many persons. According to Nick Demott, Ecocriticism as we study it today, is the result of efforts of “a slew of ecocritics galvanizing the movement — from Buell and Glotfelty to Jonathan Bate and Peter Barry — in conjunction with the invaluable works that already existed, like Walden, Silent Springs, and The Country and the City” (A Brief History of Ecocriticism). By and large, ecocriticism which emerged in the 1960s and 1970s has been established today as a perspective of looking at the interrelationship between human and nature and since then many waves of ecocriticism have been witnessed focussing on different dimensions of the ecological issues.

Keeping in mind, the present context of the global environmental crisis with so many pressing issues like climate change, pollution, use of non-degradable and hazardous materials in everyday life, a discussion on degradation and protection of the environment becomes imperative. The idea of the present book was conceived through this context of crisis. The coping strategies for environmental issues involve two dimensions—first, the scientific ways of understanding the issues and finding a solution for them and secondly to bring awareness among people through literature and media. Literature makes a powerful impact on the reader’s mind through a subtle narrative in poetry, plays, fiction, and other literary genres. This book, therefore, serves both the needs—understanding the scientific perspective of the environmental issues and also their reflection in literature for aesthetic fulfillment. This book is a curious blend of scientific inquiry, rationality, and literary mapping through scholarly research articles. The articles included in the book have been contributed by the researchers, professors, and persons from scientific and literary background. The articles provide fresh insights and in-depth analysis of the following subthemes:

1. Environmental degradation

2. Biodiversity and conservation

3. Issues of pollutions

4. Environmental protection

5. Ecocriticism

6. Eco-critical perspectives in poetry and other genres of literature

7. Environmental consciousness in literature

8. Geo-environmental predicament, issues, challenges and solutions

9. Socio-economic perspectives on environmental issues

The book comprises two sections—science and literature and it contains 20 scholarly research articles dealing with either of the two sections. The main objective of this book is to discuss and analyze the prevailing environmental issues from a scientific and literary perspective. All the research papers emphasize environmental degradation and protection along with challenges and solutions.

The first section of the book includes articles contributed by the professors and researchers belonging to the science discipline. In this section, Debashree Borthakur, Mrigendra, Jaya Sharma, Malbika Borah, Tuhin Patra have explored their ideas vis-à-vis the thematic area of the book from the scientific perspective.

Some authors in their research articles have focused on certain harmful pollutants, their sources, impact, and possible remedies to protect the environment. Debashree and Mrigendra have suggested bioremediation for the removal of harmful pollutants from the soil to improve quality of the environment. Use of plants, fungi and other microbes to recover polluted sites is called bioremediation. These organisms are capable to convert harmful contaminants into less harmful or non-harmful compounds. Such bioremediation engages various methods like Bio-stimulation, Bio-attenuation, Bio-augmentation, Bio-venting, and Bio-piles, etc. for the successful recovery of the damaged sites. The scope of environmental bioremediation can also be extended to fluoride, petroleum hydrocarbons, pesticides, explosives, and metal pollutants like lead, arsenic, and mercury. It can be engaged as better cleanup technology due to its low capital costs and environmental friendliness. Bacteria that colonize the plant roots and promote plant growth are referred to as plant growth-promoting rhizobacteria (PGPR). Application of these PGPR can reduce the use of chemical fertilizers hence protects the soil from degradation and also improve the soil structure.

Debashree and Sarmah have tested such PGPR on tea rhizosphere and found a positive impact on plant growth and yield. They isolated Actinomycetes, Azotobacter, Azospiriliium, Rhizobium, and other several bacteria and fungi from the rhizosphere of tea plants.

Jaya Sharma has suggested tissue culture for the conservation of biodiversity. Plant tissue culture is a very important, advanced, and interesting tool to conserve biodiversity. She has successfully regenerated the endangered tree plant Mallotus phillipenesis by using tissue culture techniques.

Greenhouse gasses like methane, CO2, chlorofluorocarbons are other strong factors in environmental degradation. These gases show a very longterm impact on the environment and organisms. Dr. Shejwal has suggested several means to minimize and prevent the emission of these gasses and has also suggested remedies for the treatment.

Heavy metals like lead, chromium, arsenic, cadmium, mercury, zinc, copper, cobalt, nickel, etc are very harmful to human beings and are classified as carcinogenic. Continuous exposure to these components can damage brain abilities and cause behavioural problems in children.

Malabika, in her research article, has discussed broadly one of the important heavy metal pollutants, i.e. lead and the recent techniques such as precipitation, ion-exchange, adsorption, etc. that have been developed for the removal of this harmful pollutant from the surrounding.

At present, the entire world is suffering from the COVID-19 pandemic which is very dangerous, causing a slowdown of the entire world. But, it has strengthened the environmental healthcare system by reducing global warming, pollution, transport, industrial activities and, consumption and by providing a better pace to the natural environment to flourish. Tuhin has analyzed all the positive and negative impacts of COVID-19 on the environment and concluded that the positive impact on the environment due to the pandemic is temporary and will set back as soon as life rejuvenates from this situation. So he suggests that a long term, sustainable, well planned and organized system is necessary for environmental protection.

The second part of this book, i.e. literature section comprises articles by Mr. Vishesh Kumar Pande, Kaveri Mudaliyar V A, Mr. Achal Sinha, Dr. Manoj Madavi, Dr. Nidhi Mishra, Mr. Omoniyi Timilehin Olayinka, Dr. Amol C. Indurkar, Dr. Md. Afroz Alam, Dr. Manjari Agnihotri, and Dr. Archana Gupta who have explored their ideas from a literary perspective focussing on environmental concerns of the writer/poet under study.

Dr. Indurkar outlines the theoretical framework of ecocriticism and argues that ecocriticism tries to make a tie between the human and natural world. He asserts the necessity of mass awareness among the commoners as well as the capitalistic forces to avoid the deadly and distressing predicament of human life in the years to come due to exploitative tendencies of human beings in the past years.

Mr. Visheshkumar Pande in his article discusses the meaning, scope and historical overview of the evolution of the theory of ecocriticism and portrays ecocritical concerns in the poetry of Sarojini Naidu. The researcher observes that her attachment with nature is not superficial; it is as true as the colour and smell of a rose and as sensitive as the relation of the tear to emotion. Nature has a meaning and message to convey emotion, feeling, culture, and civilization in her poetry.

Kaveri Mudliyar analyzes the relationship between nature and characters in Kaveri Nambisan’s novel The Scent of Pepper from an ecocritical perspective and also investigates Nambisan’s interconnectedness with nature.

Achal Sinha in his paper on ‘Quest Motif in Ruskin Bond’ tries to delineate ‘how human could be dispossessed of their moorings if they continue to pillage nature and environment’ He concludes that Bond seems to propose that humans should learn responsible conduct to nature resulting in an awareness of the interconnectedness of human and the sustaining wilderness.

Dr. Afroz Alam has undertaken an empirical study investigating environmental awareness among prospective teachers in the Darbhanga district in Bihar and he concludes that ‘there is an average level of environmental awareness among prospective teachers. He also notes that there is a significant difference among B.Ed. and D.El.Ed prospective teachers as well as male and female respondents. The author has also suggested some activities for enhancing environmental awareness among the target population in the study.

Dr. Nidhi Mishra introduces a recent topic of ‘Ecofeminism and Women‘s Role’ through her paper. Noting that Indian Ecofeminism is not a borrowed concept, she further construes that ‘After the Vedic period, there was a subsequent loss of reverence for the environment and concern for ecology. It is evident that women have been systematically disenfranchised from the community ownership of the natural resources and land’. She further concludes that ‘women have been systematically disenfranchised from the community ownership of natural resources and land’.

Two researchers, namely Dr. Arshad Bhat and Shyam Chakravarti have focussed on socio-economic perspectives on the environment. Dr. Bhat in his paper highlights ‘the issues and prospects of green economy for making the development of the country a sustained and sustainable one’ He discusses the initiatives of green economy in agriculture, energy, transport, water and waste and lists some of the key barriers to achieve green targets in India. He specifically mentions that ‘the green concept in a country like India is going to have positive effects on many sectors like employment generation, trade potential, agriculture and allied industries, domestic industries, etc’.

Shyam Chakravarti in his article sheds light on ‘conflict between the international trade regime and environmental conservation’, and through comprehensive discussions, he tries to elucidate how global organizations like World Trade Organization helped in this regard through intense involvement in stimulating environmental concerns which paved the way for concepts like “sustainable development” and “sustainable trade” from the perspective of globalization. Discussing the issues like World Trade Organization, Global Environmental Approaches, Environmental Implications of Globalization, Global International Standards, and Unfair Treatment, he concludes that ‘the post-pandemic global trade order should be established on environmental sustainability’.

Ominiyi Olayinka (Nigeria) discusses Environmentally Responsible Behaviour (ERB) among adolescents in, Oyo state in Nigeria. The finding of his study shows that ‘adolescents are not equipped with enough environmental knowledge, skills, and values which are capable of promoting the required environmental behaviour in adolescents’. His study recommends ‘instilling environmentally responsible behaviour and values in young ones to ameliorate the evil effects of non-challant attitude towards the environment’.

Dr. Manjari Agnihotri discusses how environmental concerns are expressed in the holy scriptures of India like Vedas, Ramayana, Ramcharitmanas and the writings of great writers and saints like Kabirdas, Ramchandra Shukl, Suryakant Tripathi Nirala, Mahadevi Verma, Jaishankar Prasad, Hazari Prasad Dwivedi. She has presented an overview of how literature, society, people, media, and other physical factors are connected with and affected by the environment.

Dr. Manoj Madavi, detailing the history of the environmental movements in India, portrays ecological sustenance as reflected in the autobiographical work of C. K. Janu. His paper attempts ‘to explore the history of environmental movements in India along with the resistance of unsung tribal worriers who sacrificed their lives for the ecological balance’. He assertively observes that ‘the marginalization and land alienation of Adivasi communities are the main reasons for ecological degradation’.

Dr. Archana Gupta has presented environmental concerns as reflected in Mahesh Dattani’s play The Tale of a Mother Feeding Her Child.

Because of the interdisciplinary approach, we hope that this book will be resourceful for researchers, teachers, and students engaged in the study of environment and literature.

***

Foreword

Albrecht Classen

University of Arizona, USA

Although we as people have almost always consistently mistreated our earth, have exploited and abused it out of disrespect, Nature continues to be available for us and responds even to some of the worst environmental damages with astounding resilience, if finally left alone, if given much time by itself, or if it receives some crucial help. The destruction of our environment has commonly been the result of human actions, but as soon as people have left, nature tends to return, as is vividly demonstrated by the vast lava fields on the Pacific islands of Hawai’i or at the slopes of many volcanoes, such as Vesuvius or Etna in Italy, or Popocatétepl in Mexico. Human time is insufficient to measure and evaluate those transformations; those occur in geological time, basically inconceivable for us in our daily lives.

Even though we as the human race have entered the Anthropocene, meaning that we have crossed the dangerous tipping point which might make it impossible for our planet to recover and to sustain itself the way it has always used to do, there is always hope, not only illusionary or fantastic, but real and pragmatic. One current example proves to be the pandemic COVID-19, which has caused untold suffering and problems for all societies across the world, but it has also triggered unforeseen productive changes in our global communication, interaction, collaboration, technology, and logistics. We will never be able to return to the time prior to 2020 as if nothing had happened; the paradigm shift has already occurred.

Nevertheless, one remarkable outcome of the pandemic has already been that scientists all over the world have feverishly collaborated to develop vaccines, and they seem to have been relatively successful in that endeavor. After all, here we face the human spirit and the human mind, our ability as humans to adapt to ever-changing natural environments, to accept challenges, and to find solutions. Evolution is not a one-way street, and humans are significant, though certainly not the only players in this world.

How might we hence manage the current threat to our global conditions? Can we hope that humankind will develop enough understanding of the meaning and implications of the Anthropocene in order to handle the imminent and nearterm tasks which are so fundamental for our survival in the future? What will our children say about us when they will look back? Will they lament our failures to secure their existence, or will they praise us for our courage and energy to do something about global warming, environmental pollution, CO2 emissions, water, energy, etc.? There is no time to lose, and if we do not respond to the crisis today our world faces currently, when will we finally turn around and accept our responsibilities to do something about it?

Optimistically speaking, I dare say that there are many good reasons to believe in our future, though it will be very different from what we have been used to. The human intellect and human creativity seem to be as limitless as is nature – unfortunately also in negative terms – and in a close interaction between both spheres, it might be realistic to assume that we will meet the challenges somehow. We know that we are in the midst of a paradigm shift, but we are not helpless and passive figures in all of this. School children and college students along with countless civic groups all over the world are energetically and diligently working toward finding solutions, studying the issues, and raising awareness about the danger of the Anthropocene, so we can assume that when they will later take on jobs and replace us in the world of adulthood, their outlook toward and interaction with the world will be different. We might still be far away from handling global warming, for instance, effectively, but the level of awareness about its danger and long-term impact on the planet earth is considerably higher today than just a few decades ago.

One of the key elements in our global struggle to survive the threats posed by the Anthropocene proves to be interdisciplinary research, that is, research that goes far beyond coordination or collaboration among, say, medicine and chemistry, or physics and meteorology. Instead, this interdisciplinarity must ultimately create bridges between the STEM fields and the Arts and the Humanities. The best analogy for this that I can think of would be the relationship between our mind and our mouth, that is, the ideas and their vocalization by means of our language, or visual and auditive representation. After all, most scientists would agree that creativity constitutes a fundamental stepping-stone for all investigations, experiments, or analyses.

Every research, whether in mathematics or philosophy, whether in microbiology or ecology, whether in literary studies or in psychology, takes its starting point from an idea, as vague or concrete as it might be. We always start with a thesis, a proposal, a concept, and then develop that further. Thus, it makes perfect sense to require from our students to take classes in literature and the arts as well in order to prepare them for the large challenges in real life, which require a lot of creativity and imagination. Ecocriticism and ecopoetry thus prove to be simply the corresponding sides of the same coin. Our natural world is the basis of all existence, but we as human beings are also cultural and spiritual beings and need to live by our ideals, principles, values, and dreams.

While ecocritics have long sounded the alarm about global warming, for instance, ecocritical writers such as Max Frisch (Der Mensch erscheintimHolocän, 1979; Man in the Holocene) have provided literary expression for the serious situation we all are finding ourselves in. Actually, poets from all over the world have already voiced deep concerns about the dramatic changes in nature brought about by people (Ecopoetry: A Critical Introduction, ed. J. Scott Bryson, 2002; Earth Shattering: Ecopoems, ed. Neil Astley, 2007). But ecocritical awareness is not only a phenomenon of our own time, as much medieval research has recently demonstrated (Connie Scarborough, Inscribing the Environment: Ecocritical Approaches to Medieval Spanish Literature, 2013; Premodern Ecologies in the Modern Literary Imagination, ed. Vin Nardizzi and Tiffany Jo Werth, 2019; Reading the Natural World in the Middle Ages and Renaissance: Perceptions of the Environment and Ecology, ed. Thomas Willard, 2020). Already pre-modern poets explored the epistemological meaning of rivers, mountains, forests, oceans, trees, animals, birds, etc. in relationship with human society. They were not yet aware about the catastrophic consequences of the Anthropocene, but they demonstrated already a high level of awareness of and respect for the profound dignity and value of nature at large, especially when they experienced crises in nature which then immediately resulted in famines, floodings, forest fires, etc.

Impressively, the current book intends to be a harbinger of a new kind of interdisciplinarity, with one section filled with studies primarily on ecocritical sustainability, and one section addressing ecopoetry (see now also Making the Medieval Relevant: How Medieval Studies Contribute to Improving Our Understanding of the Present, ed. Chris Jones, ConorKostick, and Klaus Oschema, 2020). While scientists pursue their particular task of finding ways of how to improve our natural world, how to protect our limited resources, or how to develop new ways of creating foodstuff, medicine, vaccines, or of preserving our water and air, poets and artists, and along with them scholars in the humanities are called upon to explore the aesthetic dimensions of our ecocritical approaches and to give expression for the damages done to our natural environment. Literature thus emerges, once again, as humankind’s consciousness and soul, but then also as the imaginative laboratory where we can witness the plethora of potential situations and conditions in people’s lives.

Most critically, literature or the visual arts are not simply media for human entertainment, reflecting on mundane issues or conflicts in the day-to-day interactions. They also serve in a most important fashion for the exploration of essential aspects of all existence, uncovering or exploring hidden forces, values, ideals, concerns, problems, or dangers. To reiterate a near banality, human life is not at all simply determined by its material properties. Far beyond that, there is the dimension of spirituality, of the human psyche, and of fantasy and imagination (Imagination and Fantasy in the Middle Ages and Early Modern Times, ed. A. Classen, 2020).

Already in the early Middle Ages, major theologians developed a list of the seven deadly sins, identifying thereby fundamental human shortcomings (envy, greed, gluttony, sloth, lust, anger, and pride). In essence, those sins prove to be fully in place until today, in an infinite number of combinations and varieties, constituting, in a way, the negative sides of the human psyche and worldview. They have already been addressed, of course, in countless sermons, treatises, prayers, then in legal documents, but we find the best engagement with them in literary works which probe in most powerful terms interactions amongst people and also between human society and the natural environment.

We have entered, by the late twentieth century, the Anthropocene not simply by accident; the transition from the Holocene to our new era was human-made, selfcaused, driven forward by countless acts determined by sinfulness, i.e., sins against nature and sins against the principles of human life, such as the development of nuclear bombs and nuclear power stations. Pollution of our environment is ongoing, despite many laudable efforts (see the Paris Accord from April 22, 2016). The poisoning and destruction of nature is, tragically, an ongoing process. This process is accelerated today through the use of carbon fuels, through the production of endless amounts of plastic and hence garbage, through the toxic run-offs from the mining industry, through the use of fuel-driven cars, through endless forms of wastefulness, generally through human disrespect of nature at large, and finally through people’s selfishness, ignorance, and carelessness. Both scientists and scholars in the field of the Humanities are called upon to address those issues if we want to approach our own future and do not want to suffer the same destiny as the dinosaurs did.

Fortunately, due to human ingeniousness, creativity, sensitivity, ethical principles, and also due to human ability to learn and to adapt, not everything is lost; there is reasonable hope. We are not prisoners of the Anthropocene, and we can and must endeavor to handle the current challenges in a constructive and wholesome manner. The concept of sustainability as a major new branch in the natural sciences, as reflected by the scientific contributions to this volume, is already being worked on intensively. At the same time, the Humanities are beginning to contribute on their own to the deeper understanding of the relationship between human beings and the natural environment.

On the one hand, recent poets, artists, composers, and others have made major progress in addressing ecocritical issues in their works. On the other, scholars in the Humanities have also realized that the idea of ecocriticism is not only a phenomenon of our post-modern world; instead, we can draw from a long history of ecocritical poetry dating as far back as Antiquity.

In fact, employing an eco-critical lens, we have discovered that poets/writers and artists have often taken careful note of nature and its fragile relationship with human society. While previous scholarship commonly focused only on the idyllic or the dramatic presentation of nature in literary or artistic form, ecocriticism has opened our awareness also about earlier concepts regarding the great need to pay close attention to our natural environment and respect it as a loan; we do not own nature. The topic of the forest and the topic of water, as reflected in medieval European literature, for instance (see my two monographs, The Forest in Medieval German Literature: Ecocritical Readings from a Historical Perspective, 2015; Water in Medieval Literature: An Ecocritical Reading, 2018), indicate quite intensively that early forms of ecocritical awareness existed already in the pre-modern world.

Most famously, the founder of the Franciscan Order, St. Francis of Assisi (1181/82–1226), can be quoted here at length because in his famous sermons to birds he allegedly formulated:

“My sweet little sisters, birds of the sky,” Francis said, “you are bound to heaven, to God, your Creator. In every beat of your wings and every note of your songs, praise him. He has given you the greatest of gifts, the freedom of the air. You neither sow, nor reap, yet God provides for you the most delicious food, rivers, and lakes to quench your thirst, mountains, and valleys for your home, tall trees to build your nests, and the most beautiful clothing: a change of feathers with every season. You and your kind were preserved in Noah’s Ark. Clearly, our Creator loves you dearly, since he gives you gifts so abundantly. So please beware, my little sisters, of the sin of ingratitude, and always sing praise to God.” (Whitney Hopler, “Saint Francis of Assisi and His Sermon to Birds,” Learn Religions. https://www.learnreligions.com/saint-francis-assisi-sermon-to-birds-124321; cf. also https://digital.library.upenn.edu/women/tynan/poems/poem-13.html; for the full text, slightly different because closer to the original as written by Bonaventure, see online, ch. VIII, 9, at: https://www.ecatholic2000.com/bonaventure/assisi/francis.shtmlaccessed December 27, 2020).

The famous thirteenth-century Italian painter Giotto (or maybe Cimabue) depicted the saint in one of the frescoes placed in the upper part of the basilica of Assisi (1297–1299), preaching to the birds, a deeply moving image of human love for all living creatures. We could easily add here the much older teachings by Buddha, and combine all this with the vast number of late medieval manuscript illustrations commonly populated by exquisite marginal drawings of birds, berries, foliage, and all kinds of animals. Nature in all of its beauty was always in the minds of the grand masters of literature, the arts, and religion. In fact, the late Middle Ages witnessed the creation of many paintings presenting the Virgin Mary seated in the middle of a beautiful garden when a unicorn (Christ) visits her. The love for all plants, including the trees, the hedges, flowers, herbs, etc. is unmistakable in those miniature illuminations.

Much of medieval medicine was predicated on the delicate and insightful use of plants and herbs which especially members of the monasteries had planted in their gardens for specific purposes (Hildegard of Bingen, 1098–1179). In general, we could claim that the pre-modern world was much more in tune with nature than our (post-)modern society, and this simply out of necessity. Of course, we have moved from that Holocene now into the Anthropocene and thus face much more horrendous conditions that threaten the survival of us humans as a species (extreme weather, desertification, food shortage, etc.). Consequently, contemporary poetry or narratives are much more filled with warnings about the dangers to our environment commonly brought about by us people.

Contrary to many assumptions, the pre-modern world also witnessed its considerable share of terrible weather and natural catastrophes, whether we think of floodings, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, extremely cold winter or hot summers, etc. We know much more about weather patterns already at that time and are quite clear about the Medieval Warming Period (ca. 1050-ca. 1300) and the subsequent Little Ice Age (ca. 1300-ca. 1550) (The Crisis of the 14th Century: Teleconnections Between Environmental and Societal Change?, ed. Martin Bauch and Gerrit Jasper Schenk, 2020), but the dramatic transformation of our world today is a phenomenon much more dangerous for humankind and requires new forms of interdisciplinarity far beyond the STEM fields.

We have to be much more imaginative and creative in finding solutions to global problems, especially concerning the dwindling availability of drinking water and of food for the exponentially growing world population. The literary and artistic explorations of those conflicts prove to be a rather meaningful starting point also for scientists, and we can only hope that the critical exchanges between the sciences and the humanities as outlined here to some extent will continue and expand intensively in the near future (see the contributions to The Relevance of The Humanities in the Twenty-First Century: Past and Present, ed. Albrecht Classen; especially Margaret Topping, “Fighting Food Poverty through Film: Or Why Global Challenge Research Needs the Arts and Humanities.” Special issue of Humanities Open Access, June 2020; online at: https://www.mdpi.com/journal/humanities/special_issues/pas_pre).

But we as human creatures are not only the destructive force that threatens nature all over the world. We are also sensitive, inventive, creative, and fanciful. Whereas countless natural scientists are currently busily at work to approach sustainability – which also involves a radical change in the way how we build our cities, our houses, how we commute to work, or how we organize our social networking – poets, writers, journalists, essayists, philosophers, theologians, and artists offer ever more contributions to ecocriticism, paving the way for countless new concepts relevant for our future way of life.

The perspectives about this ever-changing relationship between humans and nature, certainly a fundamental precondition of all our lives, are diverse, complex, global, and integrative. For that reason, medieval literature can as much contribute to the exploration of this ecosystem as postmodern poetry or novelscan (as in the present volume). Artists and musical composers, along with architects and archaeologists, for instance, have demonstrated the power of the human mind to formulate and develop meaningful responses to the destruction of nature. The struggle continues, and it might never come to an end, but we as people, both scientists and poets, both sociologists and philosophers, both academicians and mechanics, both farmers and urbanites, are called upon to speak up and to do our part to be good managers of this world, not to spoil, rape, abuse, or waste it. There is, as far as we can tell, no other earth out there in space, and we better make sure that it will remain livable also for the future generations.

We are the guardians of our land, given to us to work on, both scientifically and creatively, both pragmatically and realistically. We are the plowers of the earth and must take good care of our fields (for the origin of this metaphor, cf. Johannes of Tepl, The Plowman, ca. 1401). As the Middle High German poet Wolfram von Eschenbach already indicated in his Titurel fragments (ca. 1220), we live in a forest and are granted a small space in it. But if we do not read carefully the signals written into the underbrush, the trees, or the leaves, or ignore words of warning arriving from the outside, we will bloody our hands and might run into the wilderness, never to return.

Human destiny is intimately tied in with nature, as we observe intriguingly in the Middle English alliterative romance of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (ca. 1370). Life does not come to an end during wintertime; it only goes to sleep and returns vigorously and vibrantly in early Spring. The protagonist realizes this when he goes through his decapitation adventure at the Green Chapel and can return home safely, though with a bloody nick by the horrible axe of the Green Knight.

Little wonder that we continue to sing during the Christmas season the timeless tune of the German carol “Oh Tannenbaum” (Oh Christmas Tree), composed by the Leipzig organist, teacher and composer Ernst Anschütz in 1824, based on a folk song by Melchior Franck (ca. 1579–1639). Both the forest and the ocean, both the meadow and the mountain slopes are with us and will stay with us, if we observe our responsibilities as human beings living within the natural world. We are only guests here on earth, and should respectfully observe its own rules, leaving behind the smallest possible footprint, particularly out of gratitude for the infinite gifts granted to us which make our lives possible in the first place.

INDEX – Science Section

Sr. No

Name of Author

Title of Paper

1

Mr. Debashree Borthakur

Green technology to remove heavy metals: mechanisms, methods and enhancements

2

Mr. Mrigendra Narayan kumar & Mr. Dimbeswar Das

Bioremediation: a useful tool for environment friendly biological recovery of oil spills

3

Mr. Debashree Borthakur

Micro-remediation: an emerging technology for degradation of pesticides, heavey metals and hydrocarbon pollutants

4

Mr. Debashree Borthakur & Dr. S. R. Sarmah

Exploration of tea rhizopheric microbes and evaluation of their beneficial activities in reducing soil pollution and maintaining environmental stability

5

Dr. Jaya Sharma & Dr. Ranjana Varma

Conservation of an endangered medicinal plant mallotus phillipenesis (lam.) Mull. Arg. Through plant tissue culture technique

6

Dr. Nana N. Shejwal

Green house gases and their management

7

Dr. Malabika Borah & Maklek Libang

Lead toxicity: a threat to human kind

8

Mr. Tuhin Patra

Covid-19: a challenge in the context of global environmental health

9

Mr. Arshad Bhat

Green Economy: Issues and Prospects in India

10

Mr. Shayam Chakraborty

Conflict between International Trade Regime and Environmental Conservation from the Perspectiveof Post Covid-19 Era

INDEX – Literature Section

Sr. No

Name of Author

Title of Paper

1

Mr. Vishesh Kumar Pande

An Ecocritical Insight into ‘The Sceptered Flute’

2

Kaveri Mudaliyar V A

The Green Halo: A Bird’s Eye View of Eco Criticism in Kaveri Nambisan’s The Scent of Pepper

3

Mr. Achal Sinha

Configuring the Self through Location, Culture and The Poetic Imagination: The Quest Motif in Ruskin Bond

4

Dr. Manoj Madavi

History Of The Environmental Movements And Struggle For Ecological Sustainance In Mother Forest-An Unfinished Story Of C.K.Janu

5

Dr. Nidhi Mishra

Ecofeminism and Women Participation in India

6

Omoniyi Timilehin Olayinka

Instilling Environmentally Responsible Behavior (ERB) in Adolescents in Akinyele Local Government Area Of Oyo State, Nigeria

7

Dr. Amol C. Indurkar

Eco-Critical Perspective in Literature: A Study

8

Dr. Md. Afroz Alam

Environmental Awareness among Prospective Teachers: A Study of Darbhanga District

9

Dr. Manjari Agnihotri

Environmental Consciousness Through Literature

10

Dr. Archana A Gupta

The Mother who dared to feed in Mahesh Dattani’s The Tale of a Mother Feeding Her Child

GREEN TECHNOLOGY TO REMOVE HEAVY METALS: MECHANISMS, METHODS AND ENHANCEMENTS

Debashree Borthakur

Research Scholar Assam Don Bosco University

Guwahati, Assam Email: debashree-borthakur85@gmail.com

Abstract

Pollutants like heavy metals, industrial waste, plastic and certain agricultural effluents affect and contaminate surface water, ground water and soil. Such increasing accumulation of toxic pollutants impacts the quality of environment and also causes stress on ecosystem. In order to solve this environmental contamination, a plantbased technology called phyto-remediation or green technology can be engaged. Phyto-remediation is based on several processes such as phyto-degradation, phytovolatilization, phyto-sequestration, rhizo-remediation, phytoaccumulation and phyto-extraction. These methods can be used for improving the quality of polluted soil and water. These green technologies offer cheap, environment friendly and simple alternatives against other conservative approaches. The present paper reviews different methods and mechanisms involved in phyto-remediation for heavy metals, and also focus on enhancement of phyto-remediation process.

Keywords: Pollutants, Phyto-remediation, Phyto-degradation, Phyto-volatilization, Phytosequestration, Rhizo-remediation, Phyto-accumulation, Phyto-extraction.

Introduction

Implementation of economic and environment friendly technologies to detoxify highly contaminated land is the main approach towards betterment of ecosystem. Greener alternatives offer economic and ecosystem rich process to remediate heavy metal, radionuclide and industrial wastes (Wu et.al., 2017). This approach can be called as ‘green remediation’ or ‘phyto-remediation’, which also includes various disciplines of plant physiology, soil chemistry, and microbiology for the cleaning up the contaminated soil and air (Sheoran et.al., 2011). Plant interactions with soil micro-biota can increase the efficiency of plants towards detoxification (Schiavon et.al., 2013; Gupta and Gupta 2017). Hence, to understand the efficiency of phytoremediation, it’s a prerequisite to have the basic knowledge of the underlying rhizosphere interactions, degradation, extraction, volatilization, physiochemical and molecular mechanisms which regulate pollutant uptake, ...

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