Sociological Insights into Human-Nature Relationship and Environmentalism in Northeast India

by Mahmudul Hasan Laskar

Environmentalism through environmental activism began with the first ever ‘Earth Day’ held on 22nd April, 1970 in United States of America. That was a successive event of many protests movement against the environmental destruction across the globe. First Earth Day was followed by Tasmanian Green Political Party that emerged in 1972. Tasmanian Green Political Party was the outcome of vibrant Australian Green politics erupted over the issues like, Tasmanian Hydro-electric Commission’s proposal of damming the Serpentine and Huon Rivers and preserving the Lake Pedder, the most beautiful wilderness of Tasmania. Green activism continued its opposition to another proposal of damming Franklin and Gordon River system. Green parties then emerged in Western Europe and North America. Important point here is that Green ideology-based politics has raised the issue of environmental rights along with human rights, ecological and social justice and wilderness protection. This is the benchmark of environmental activism that may be enhanced further only if environmentalism ideology gets embraced widely.

The harmony of human-nature relationship in the dense forest covers of northeast India

Photo: Udayan Borthakur

Human-nature relationship, environmentalism ideology and environmental activism in northeast India

Environmentalism ideology here refers to belief and practice in maintaining equilibrium between natural environment and manmade development. To explain further, environmentalism ideology is a set of principles that deals with the rights of nature to get nurtured naturally and the constructive concerns regarding disruption in ecology made by manmade development. Constructive concern is a concern for real action not just for slogan based publicity stunt at media. Environmental activism is the patterned action to oppose disruption in natural environment and protection of nature and wildlife that maintains consistency in building a network of participants.

Environmentalism through environmental activism is hardy visible in northeast India, even though protests related to environmental issues are organized from time to time. Such protests are the evidence of indigenous people’s consciousness regarding their inevitable attachment with nature. Protest against damming Siang River (Brahmaputra) in Arunachal Pradesh was led by the Siang People’s Forum (SPF) and Lower Siang Dam Affected Peoples’ Forum (LSDAPF) and protest against damming Subansiri River in Assam (a tributary of Brahmaputra) was led by All Assam Student’s Union (AASU) and Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS). But these organizations lack proper Green a