"The earth, the air, the land and the water are not an inheritance from our forefathers but on loan from our children. So we have to hand over to them at least as it was handed over to us."Explain the implicit environment ethics in above Gandhian quote.

In the above quotation, Mahatma Gandhi has tried to explain the importance of natural resources to mankind and has cautioned people from dangers lingering over the resources due to unrestricted materialism and consumerism.
In general, we have complete ownership and rights on usage of properties inherited from our forefathers. On the other hand, when we buy a property through bank loan we have obligations to pay the loan back to bank along with interest. Until and unless we do so, we don’t have complete rights over the property.
Mahatma Gandhi has referred earth, land and water as natural resources of vital importance which we have not inherited and therefore have no sole rights over their usage and destruction. In fact, these natural resources have been termed as a loan with help of which we are enjoying a high quality of life. We have to pay back this loan along with interest. This can be done by implementing effective ways to save our natural resources, reducing wastage of resources and putting efforts to maintain ecological balance.
This quote of Gandhiji tries to inculcate behaviour of responsibility rather than behaviour of authority in dealing with the natural resources. This behaviour of responsibility on our part requires ensuring responsible production and consumption practices to preserve the environment.
Even environmental ethics guide us about the same. It talks about the ethical relational between human and environment as per which human beings are also a part of environment as other living and non-living things, and therefore they must believe in mutual respect for one another.

Question for UPSC Mains:
“The earth, the air, the land and the water are not an inheritance from our forefathers but on loan from our children. So we have to hand over to them at least as it was handed over to us.” Explain the implicit environment ethics in above Gandhian quote. {150 words, 10 Marks}

Published: April 20, 2018 | Modified:June 27, 2019

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