Environment and Sustainable Development Class 12 Notes: Your One-Stop Shop for Revision

Attention Class 12 Economics students!

Are you preparing for the CBSE 2023-24 board exam? If so, you know that Environment and Sustainable Development (Chapter 7) is an important topic. But don't worry, we've got you covered!

This blog post provides a comprehensive set of notes for the Environment and Sustainable Development chapter. These notes are clear, concise, and easy to understand. They cover all of the important concepts that you need to know for the exam, including:

  • The definition of environment and sustainable development
  • The importance of the environment for human well-being
  • The causes and effects of environmental degradation
  • Strategies for Sustainable Development

These notes are also aligned with the CBSE syllabus and exam pattern. So, if you study them carefully, you'll be well on your way to acing the exam!

Bonus: You can download these notes in PDF format for free. Just leave a comment below and we'll send you the link.

So what are you waiting for? Start studying today and ensure your success in the CBSE 2023-24 board exam!

environment and sustainable development class 12 notes

BoardCBSE and State Boards
Book NameIndian Economic Development (IED)
Chapter No.7
Chapter NameEnvironment and Sustainable Development

"Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself."

- John Dewey

Environment and Sustainable Development Class 12 Notes

Environment - Definition and Functions

Environment: Environment is defined as the total planetary inheritance and the totality of all resources. It includes all the biotic and abiotic factors that influence each other.

Functions of Environment:

  • it supplies resources (both renewable and non-renewable)
  • it assimilates waste
  • it sustains life by providing genetic and biodiversity (the most vital function)
  • it also provides aesthetic services like scenery etc.

Renewable Resources: Those that can be used without the possibility of the resource becoming depleted or exhausted. That is, a continuous supply of the resource remains available. Examples of renewable resources are the trees in the forests, fish in the ocean, water, etc.

Non-renewable Resources: Those that get exhausted with extraction and use, for example, fossil fuel, iron-ore, etc.

The environment is able to perform these functions without any interruption as long as the demand on these functions is within its carrying capacity.

Carrying Capacity: This implies that

  • the resource extraction is not above the rate of regeneration of the resource and
  • the wastes generated are within the assimilating capacity of the environment.

When this is not so, the environment fails to perform its third and vital function of life sustenance, and this results in an environmental crisis.

Many resources have become extinct and the wastes generated are beyond the absorptive capacity of the environment.

The opportunity costs of negative environmental impact are high:

  • The intensive and extensive extraction of both renewable and non-renewable resources has exhausted some of these vital resources and we are compelled to spend huge amounts on technology and research to explore new resources.
  • The decline in air and water quality has resulted in an increased incidence of respiratory and water-borne diseases. Hence the expenditure on health is also rising.
  • Global environmental issues such as global warming and ozone depletion also contribute to increased financial commitments for the government.

Are environmental problems new to the last two centuries?

Yes, because:

  • The demand for environmental resources and services was much less than its supply in the past.
  • So the pollution was within the absorptive capacity of the environment.
  • The rate of extraction was less than the rate of regeneration.
  • But with the population explosion and industrial revolution, the demand for resources for consumption as well as production went beyond the regenerative capacity, assimilating capacity, and carrying capacity of the environment.
  • Today we are facing a reversal of supply-demand situation, with the demand far too high and the supply too limited due to overuse and abuse of environmental resources.
  • The environmental issues of waste generation and pollution have become critical today.

Global Warming

  • Global warming is the gradual increase in the average temperature of the Earth's lower atmosphere.
  • It is caused by the release of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, such as carbon dioxide and methane. The atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide and methane have increased significantly since the Industrial Revolution. These gases trap heat, causing the planet to warm.
  • Factors that may be contributing to global warming include:
    • Burning of coal and petroleum products
    • Deforestation
    • Methane gas released in animal waste
    • Increased cattle production
  • Some of the long-term results of global warming include:
    • Melting of polar ice with a resulting rise in sea level and coastal flooding
    • Disruption of drinking water supplies dependent on snow melts
    • Extinction of species as ecological niches disappear
    • More frequent tropical storms
    • An increased incidence of tropical diseases
  • The Kyoto Protocol, an international agreement to fight global warming, was signed in 1997.

Ozone Depletion

  • Ozone depletion is the thinning of the ozone layer, which is a region of Earth's stratosphere that absorbs most of the Sun's ultraviolet radiation.
  • Ozone depletion is caused by high levels of chlorine and bromine compounds in the stratosphere.
  • The main sources of these compounds are chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and bromofluorocarbons (halons), which are used in a variety of products, including refrigerators, air conditioners, fire extinguishers, and aerosol sprays.
  • Effects of Ozone depletion
    • It allows more ultraviolet (UV) radiation to reach Earth's surface.
    • UV radiation is responsible for skin cancer in humans, and it can also affect the immune system and increase the risk of other health problems.
    • UV radiation can also damage crops and reduce agricultural yields.
  • The Montreal Protocol, an international agreement to ban the production and use of ozone-depleting substances, was signed in 1987.

State of India's Environment

India has abundant natural resources:

  • Rich soil: India has a variety of soil types, including the fertile black soil of the Deccan Plateau, which is suitable for cotton cultivation.
  • Water resources: India has hundreds of rivers and tributaries, as well as a vast stretch of the Indian Ocean.
  • Forest cover: India has lush green forests, which provide green cover for its population and natural cover for its wildlife.
  • Mineral deposits: India has large deposits of iron ore, coal, and natural gas, as well as other minerals such as bauxite, copper, chromite, diamonds, gold, lead, lignite, manganese, and zinc.

The threat to India’s environment poses a dichotomy

  • the threat of poverty-induced environmental degradation and
  • the threat of pollution from affluence and a rapidly growing industrial sector.

The most pressing environmental concerns of India:

  • Air pollution,
  • water contamination,
  • soil erosion,
  • deforestation
  • wildlife extinction

The priority issues identified are:

  • land degradation
  • biodiversity loss
  • air pollution with special reference to vehicular pollution in urban cities
  • management of freshwater
  • solid waste management.

Some of the factors responsible for land degradation are:

  • loss of vegetation occurring due to deforestation
  • unsustainable fuel wood and fodder extraction
  • shifting cultivation
  • encroachment into forest lands
  • forest fires and overgrazing
  • non-adoption of adequate soil conservation measures
  • improper crop rotation
  • indiscriminate use of agro-chemicals such as fertilisers and pesticides
  • improper planning and management of irrigation systems
  • extraction of groundwater in excess of the recharge capacity
  • open-access resource
  • poverty of the agriculture-dependent people.

In India, air pollution is widespread in urban areas where vehicles are the major contributors and in a few other areas that have a high concentration of industries and thermal power plants. Vehicular emissions are of particular concern since these are ground-level sources and, thus, have the maximum impact on the general population.

Sustainable Development

  • Development that meets the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of the future generation to meet their own needs.
  • Meeting the needs of all requires redistributing resources and is hence a moral issue.
  • Edward Barbier defined sustainable development as one which is directly concerned with increasing the material standard of living of the poor at the grass root level

According to Herman Daly, a leading environmental economist, to achieve sustainable development, the following needs to be done

  • limiting the human population to a level within the carrying capacity of the environment
  • technological progress should be input efficient and not input consuming
  • renewable resources should be extracted on a sustainable basis, that is, the rate of extraction should not exceed the rate of regeneration
  • for non-renewable resources rate of depletion should not exceed the rate of creation of renewable substitutes
  • inefficiencies arising from pollution should be corrected.

In 2015, the UN formulated 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) intended to be achieved by the year 2030.

Strategies for Sustainable Development

  • Use of Non-conventional Sources of Energy: Wind and solar power are good examples of non-conventional energy sources. These sources are clean and renewable, and they have a low environmental impact.
  • LPG, Gobar Gas in Rural Areas: LPG and gobar gas are clean fuels that can be used to replace wood and dung cake as fuel in rural areas. This can help to reduce deforestation, improve air quality, and conserve cattle dung.
  • CNG in Urban Areas: CNG is a clean fuel that can be used to reduce air pollution in urban areas.
  • Wind Power: Wind turbines can be used to generate electricity from wind power. This is a clean and renewable source of energy that has a low environmental impact.
  • Solar Power through Photovoltaic Cells: Photovoltaic cells can be used to convert solar energy into electricity. This is a clean and renewable source of energy that has a low environmental impact.
  • Mini-hydel Plants: Mini-hydel plants can be used to generate electricity from the energy of streams. This is a clean and renewable source of energy that has a low environmental impact.
  • Traditional Knowledge and Practices: Traditional Indian knowledge and practices can be used to develop sustainable solutions to environmental problems. For example, traditional herbal remedies can be used to treat diseases without the use of harmful chemicals.
  • Biocomposting: Biocomposting can be used to convert organic waste into compost, which can be used to improve soil fertility and reduce the need for chemical fertilizers.
  • Biopest Control: Biopest control methods can be used to control pests without the use of harmful pesticides. For example, neem-based pesticides can be used to control pests without contaminating food or the environment.
Must See:
Environment and Sustainable Development Class 12 Important Questions & Answers
Employment: Growth, Informalization, and Other Issues Class 12 Notes
Rural Development Class 12 Notes
Human Capital Formation in India Class 12 Notes
Liberalization, Privatization, and Globalization Class 12 Important Questions Answers
Indian Economy 1950-1990 Class 12 Notes
National Income and Related Aggregates Class 12 Notes
Also Read:
Class 12 Important Questions
Class 12 Notes

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