Functions of the Environment

Our surroundings comprise a variety of living elements (plants, trees, animals, etc.) and non-living elements (air, water, mountains, etc.). Both these types of elements affect our existence. Without them, life would not be possible. Together living and non-living elements make up the environment. The following is a detailed discussion of the functions of the environment.

Functions of the Environment

Offers productive resources: The environment provides us with tangible resources such as minerals, water and soil. These are gifts of nature. These resources act as inputs for converting natural resources into productive and useful things. In other words, the environment provides inputs for products that enhance the quality of human life. Both renewable and non-renewable resources exist in nature. Renewable resources can get renewed or replenished quickly; for example, trees and fisheries. Non-renewable resources cannot get renewed or replenished quickly; for example, fossil fuels and minerals.

Sustains life: The environment provides us with the vital ingredients that are necessary for the survival of life; for example, sun, soil, water and air. In other words, the environment supports life. The absence of such environmental elements implies an absence of life. The environment also supports biodiversity.

Assimilates wastes: Various human activities generate waste. The environment absorbs these wastes in the form of garbage.

Enhances quality of life: The environment includes surroundings such as rivers, oceans, mountains and deserts which have much scenic beauty. We all enjoy and admire the aesthetic beauty of our surroundings and this, in turn, adds to the quality of our lives. Having discussed about the meaning and importance of the environment, in the next lesson we will analyse the environment scenario in India.

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