The environment is often perceived as being all that surrounds us; i.e. the whole of the natural and artificial elements in which the human Vie is held.
La reality is more complex, since via breathing, the food, drink, the percutaneous penetration, and certain radiations, the elements known as of the environment penetrate and modify permanently the interior medium of the living beings, this why one also now speaks about environmental Santé.
Evolutionary, relative and moderate definitionsThe word environment did not take its current direction, itself rather broad that recently.
Émile Littré in its Dictionnaire of the French language (1872 - 1877) gives him the following direction: " Action to surround; result of this action" , and evokes like former, historical direction: a sentence of XVIe S (Palissy, 255) “ And scauroit one to make one mile with through it does not go up from there to more than six, because of the environments which should be made to leave it”.
The traditional definitions of the 20th century of the environment evoke natural environment; “ the medium in which an organization functions, including the air, water, the ground, the natural resources, the flora, fauna, the human beings and their interrelationships ” (it is the French-speaking definition retained by the standard ISO 14001:1996). More largely, the environment would be the whole of the natural and cultural conditions likely to act on the living organisms and the human activities. This direction was widely diffused by the creation of, and the law Department of the Environments of environmental protection in the 3rd quarter of the 20th century.
Depuis the end of the 20th century, the common language and journalistic often evokes the economic environment , sometimes compared with natural environment where with some of its supposed " règles" ;
Il seems that one can classify the comparisons between “natural environment” and “economic environment” between two opposite visions:
- the first, is rather liberal and present the macro-environment economic and financial like the environment of the company: hostile, now mondialized, constantly changing, to which the contractor must constantly adapt. This more or less wild and competing environment where the Innovation (new ideas, new products, novel modes of communication) and the Compétitivité are easily comparable with relations of the predatory-preys types or struggle for life , is that of the “” and commercial strategy financial sharks of conquest, which justifies the “human sacrifices”, the delocalization and paradoxically sometimes the destruction of the environment.
- the second uses metaphors which evoke more harmonious, shared and negotiated relations, of symbiotic , complementary type, generating mutual benefit and durable Interactions between companies and the man, the company and natural environment.
At the end of the 20th century, in Political, or in the associative mediums, the term rather refers to the natural world or the naturality of part of the environnemnet modified by the man or such as overall perceived by the man, like resource, not, little, with difficulty, slowly or expensively renewable, and like undergoing the increasing impacts of the development and the Pollution S, the fragmenation or a destruction.
- - It evokes also the Quality of life and the Aménité S.
- - the efforts aiming limiting pollution and harmful effects (sound in particular), reducing the energy wasting, at improving the Processing the waste etc These efforts are sometimes classified in a a little vague concept; the Environnementalisme.
The human concern for its environment, inter alia, created associative movements and policies known as “ecologists”, “environmentalists” or “greens”. These movements consider a new policy or a company evolving/moving so as to reconcile human development and the restoration, the protection and a good management of the environment. Some possibly evoke the concept of écologisme, of right-hand side or left, incontestably increasingly present and recognized in our company as attests it the relative success of the Verts in Europe and the surveys which for a few years have classified the environment (according to the places and moments) with 1st, 2nd or 3rd plan of the concerns with unemployment and the fight against the insecurity.
Le environment term should not be confused with the term ecology, which refers to the Science processes and life cycles in the natural world, without limiting itself to humanity.
A modification of our Perception of the environment is related to the major, local and total stakes ecological S, which emergent strongly at the end of the 20th century in the fields of the Social, the ecology and the Politique and the culture and the knowledge…) : The word “environment” tends to take a world dimension more and more , integrating the Mondialisation and its effects and a strong dimension Prospective. This awakening in particular had like points of organ the Sommet of the ground of Rio in June 1992, follow-up of a work of inventory of fixtures translates in particular by the Millenium Ecosystems Assessment.
The relation between the man and his environment is today in the center of rough philosophical debates and epistemological S with the important socio-economic consequences. A first design Prométhée nne regards the environment as a matter to be carved, a territory to be structured, with (A) sparing. It seems that the individual and collective positions can be between two visions of the world;
- a first design of the environment which would affirm the domination of the man on the Nature from which it draws the resources enabling him to nourish itself, to be dressed and, in the broad sense, to be devoted to an industrial activity. This design receives the support of the Bible and legitimates an exploitation of the natural resources based on only economic criteria.
- One second design, opposed, which would locate the man at the level of his environment, and which insists on the responsibility for the first in good management of the resources at its disposal and on the interdependence between the human activities, the evolution of the environment and the wellbeing of the populations.
EtymologySpeaking Étymologiquement, the term “environment” finds its origin in the Greek , the Latin and the Gaulois. The term environment is polysemous, i.e. it recovers many meanings today. One must distinguish the evolution from the word (1) and the evolution of the direction (2).
- En-viron-ne-ment comes from the term “to transfer” (to turn) which finds its origin in the Greek “gyros” (circle, turn) then in its Latin transformation “gyrare” and “in gyrum”; in Latin “virare”, “vibrare” (to whirl); in Gallic “the viria” (ring, bracelet). The three origins mixed with time. “To transfer”, the Former French made “viron” meaning “turn” or “round”. Then, the prefix “of” was added to “viron” to give “approximately” (entour, around) (attested in 1080) which comes from the transformation from “in gyrum” and of “envirum” (attested in 980). Of “approximately” one made “surround” (to make the turn), attested at the 12th century. Approximately in the plural “surroundings” meant “neighborhood”. Then “with the entour” took the form of “environneement” with two “E” (attested in 1154). To lose its second “E” and to give “environment” (action to surround, result of this action) or “environments” (turns, contours, circuits, even turnings), attested 13th century at the 16th century.
- During all this etymological evolution, to transfer, viron, approximately, to surround, environneement, environment, environment, the radical “to vir” always meant the form of the “turn” and the “round-off”, which gave entour, around, contours, and by extension “all contours” even the “whole of contours”. Today the definition of “environment” still translates this idea of “turn”, of “entour”, “neighborhood”, “around”. “What is around”, it “what makes the turn”, it “what forms the turn” and it “what is in the entour” correctly translate the concept of “medium” to the local scales and the concept of “géosphère”, “biosphere”, of “écosphère” and of “technosphère” on a total scale. One can thus notice that simple “movement” (to turn, whirl, make the turn), with the simple “form” (entour, contours, ring) which would translate a “container more”, the term of “environment” little by little indicated not only the movement and the container, but also “contents”. The Anglo-American term “environment” is directly drawn from old French “environment”.
The French term “ environment ” has been put in relation to Latin for five centuries already per Robert Estienne in his dictionary French-Latin in 1539 (p.183). One reads “ environment textually there: circundatio, circonscriptio terrae, stipatio ”. The history of the word and its directions can thus go up rather far in time.
The first Anglo-Saxon technical standard of “ environment ” appeared in the Années 1920: natural conditions (physical, chemical, biological) and cultural (sociological) likely to act on all the living organisms and the human activities. Then the use of the term “environment” developed starting from the Années 1960 to include and mean currently the biotic natural resources (fauna, flora) and abiotic (air, water, ground) and their reciprocal interactions, the aspects characteristic of the landscape and the goods which the cultural heritage composes.
Environment; relative concept
- the environment would be thus the medium in which the individual evolves/moves, this medium including the Air, the Eau, the ground, their interfaces, the Natural resources, the fauna, the Flore, the mushrooms, the Microbe S and the human beings, the ecosystem S and the Biosphère.
From a more sociological point of view, the environment is the physical environment, builds, natural but also the human environment consisted the family, the friends, the tribe, the district, the village, or any group, community and company (of which undertaken, administration, etc).
The physical limit between the individual and “what is around him” is difficult to determine. Two examples can illustrate this fuzzy limit:
- Our Peau seems to be a material barrier likely to be the limit between our interior medium and “the external environment”. However, to each inspiration, the air of our environment enters in us, loses oxygen and arises enriched out of steam and carbonic gas which come from the interior of ourselves. Some of the absorptive oxygen molecules will be included in our organization. Others will be rejected in the form of. The same applies to the food and the excretion, and more subtly for the Hormone S absorptive or emitted by the plants or the animals. Even our hearing and our vision make “enter” of environmental information (waves and vibrations) in us. Many electromagnetic waves right through cross us without impact, others do it with more impact. It is understood here that the environment influences the individuals, species and process which it includes, but that also, it is permanently modified by them.
- It is not because there is a ground, a atmosphere and a Hygrométrie which are appropriate to them that trees in a forest. The trees also largely contributed to produce and fix the ground on which they live. They contribute to produce oxygen in air and a higher hygroscopy (cf evapotranspiration). This ground results essentially from the decomposition from their sheets or died needles, from the deadwood, and the bacteria and mushrooms symbions or the species which they shelter. The ground and the forest landscape are not that the environment of the trees, they are also their production.
The concept of environment is thus relative, but it in particular makes it possible to indicate vital resource S and aménitaires that it is necessary to protect around us. It also makes it possible to indicate alive systems which surround us, necessary so that the Espèce S can remain there, and so that the majority of these natural resources can be renewed.
Evolution of the perception of the environment
The awakening of the existence of a finished and fragile environment deserving our interest and a protection seems to be developed by vagueness and in a different way according to the times and the cultures.
In the past: Certain interpretation animists of the world, or attitude such that the Bouddhisme locally seem to have supported a certain respect of the life and natural resources, but the concept of environment such as we know it does not seem to be raised by the ethnologists nor by the historians.
L' Art (Poetry, Drawing, engraving and Painting in particular.) was in Asia and occident a first vector of a particular value given to the environment, and in particular to the Paysage S.
La literature relative to discovered unexplored territories developed the astonishment, scientific curiosity or ethnological for other environments, “exotic” .
Au 19th century, in occident, the romanticism exalté the Naturalité of the environment and the beauty of the wild landscapes, sometimes in the opponents with the landscapes and the misery of the working, urban worlds and périurbains industrial.
Since two centuries: In occident, the colonial wars , the first and especially at the second Industrial revolution, but also the world wars then the Cold war seem - in a contexe of demography and exponential growth - to have little by little contributed to make emerge a collective conscience of an invaluable planet, even fragile, with the finished limits.
L' conflict background of 19th and 20th centuries generated a saving in war which doped the heavy industry, but which also accelerated the exploitation even the overexploitation of many natural resources which became increasingly strategic. With the arms race and in particular with the weapons of massive destruction whose Atomic bomb, appears in the years 1970 the fear of a third and last World war which could destroy any higher form of life on planet. It is also the time of visible ecological catastrophes (successions of oil slicks) which sensitize the public and certain decision makers with the protection of the ecosystems. In same time the crises oil (of which that of 1975) make include/understand or admit an increasing dependence of the economies and countries with limited resources of which the Pétrole, the drinking water, wood, the fishing resource, soils that can support vegetation…
Après a phase marked by a revolt shared against great pollution (oil slicks in particular), followed real effort of fight against certain pollution (purification of waste water, prohibition of massive pollutant emissions in nature.), the attention goes now towards less visible pollution (after-effects of the Catastrophe of Tchernobyl, POP S, Pesticide S, Perturbateurs endocriniens.).
Environment and knowledge: the perception of the environment also evolved/moved with a better knowledge by all and each one of planet.
Ceci was already manifest being studied the 16th century with discovery and by the occident of very new terrestrial and maritime territories in Africa, Asia and South America, then with their sometimes brutal exploitation during the colonial period, which little by little put at evil the myth “good savage” but also the myth of the infinite prodiguality of nature.
D' other territories (Arctic and the Antarctic) and an immense and unknown underwater world showed one surround characterized by a stronger otherness and sometimes a more obvious brittleness. They were respectively in particular popularized by Paul-Emile Victor and the commander Cousteau.
Dans same time the retrospective knowledge of the “paléo-environment” progressed with the Paléoécologie and the update of scientifically indisputable evidence of last major ecological crises which made disappear during million from years, with 5 recoveries at least, up to 80% of the planetary biodiversity. This science of the past in addition showing the bonds strong which bind the environment and the Climat.
New media and tools: They allowed changes of prospect and paradigms, by upsetting the vision by the man of its environment. It is the case of the television and its thousands of documentary naturalists, but also air photography, then satellite as well as modeling Prospective. Protection and discovered Environment a long time were confused with that the landscapes ; At the end of the 19th century, it is the development of the car which shows in Europe a strong interest for the remarkable Paysage S as spaces to discover before they are degraded, paradoxically besides by the Route S. As example the Automobile Club of France was an important vector of sensitizing to discovered new landscape, but while contributing to return them less wild and visited more and more.
The USA create the first national parks. A law (park bill) is voted by the Congress and is signed by President Abraham Lincoln the June 30th 1864 creating Yosemite Grant. who will become in 1872 the first National park. 42 years after (in 1906) France its first law votes on the protection of the Paysage, translating the growing interest of the individual perception of a quite environmental collective. It is the beginning of the analyzes of the quality of the landscapes, of natural environment or semi-natural (including agricultural). Thereafter, the evolution of the law and its application shows the importance of this perception (classification of the loops of the the Seine painted by the impressionists for example). It is still at that time the landscape, and not the ecosystem which guide the choices of the elected officials and the sites to be protected. Little by little, whereas science progresses, the services rendered by the environment take importance, justifying another environmental protection, fascinating of account the functionalities and operating and the ecological impact strength conditions of the ecosystems, with the protection of an ecological network, a grid or a green screen, rather than of natural reserves alone, which were insufficient, fault of respect of the integrity écopaysagère.
Surveys: In the industrially developed countries, they show that for a major share of the population:
- the environment as felt with the daily newspaper less and less natural or rural and increasingly urban, is built and controlled;
- the environment is controlled by the community, even privatized, but less and less acts for the individual who undergoes it more and more (artificial environment);
- the environment is less one natural object known and exploited by each one (at the 18th century, 85% of the population lived of its direct use - agriculture, fishing, sylviculture… - against less than 15% at the beginning of the 21e century);
- the environment is perceived more and more like a finished, and either inexhaustible or renewable resource ad infinitum;
- the environment is a community property, which we have the duty to bequeath to the future generations (cf concepts of sustainable development, bearable or of convivial decrease).
Changes of paradigms: the environmental concern passed in a few centuries of the world of art and the esthetic emotion to that of the concerns scientific and citizens, and of the Tactique S and Stratégie S policies, local and world.
La environmental concern was local and regional with 19th and beginning of the 20th century (national parks, reserves). It became total, including the Climate change, with the emergence of the idea of a world environment “ Community property ” or “Public property” strongly validated in Rio in June 1992, at the time of the Sommet of the Earth. Many treaties of environmental protection for summer have signed under the aegis of UNO or more regional authorities, but they to date slowed only down the increasing degradation of the planetary environment.
La environmental concern takes an increasing place in the life of the child via the education with the environment. It becomes an object of reflection and shared proposals, until in the Gouvernance of the countries, as for example in France the Grenelle testifies some to the environment (2007) and in the world the development to the Agenda 21. New fields still appear with for example in the years 1990, vis-a-vis the exponential growth of public lighting, a sensibiliation with the brittleness of the night Environnement vis-a-vis the phenomenon known as of luminous Pollution. Perceptions of the environment probably still will evolve/move, in particular under the constraint of the urban development (Métropole S, Périurbanisation, HQE, urban environment. It becomes major stakes for the companies, developers and decision makers as for the citizens.
- the concept is initially space, but each one understands intuitively that the environment also results from the long story of the Co-evolution of the species on planet. To speak about the “prehistoric” environment, one speaks about Paléo-environment. Its comprehension is useful to include/understand for example the consequences of the regression of the biodiversity or the climatic modifications.
- the environment is “total”; at the same time near and total, and on the ground, the close and total environment is modified permanently by the beings which there live, the processes which are held there and of the external influences (the solar activity, etc).
For a geographical scale and at a given time, it gathers the whole of the abiotic factors (Physique S, chemical) and biotic biological, ecological and social likely to have a direct or indirect, immediate or differed effect (future) on the living beings, ecological, éco-landscape processes and the human activities and quality of life.
Actually, the direction of the word also varies according to the culture and the socioprofessional category of that which employs it. Thus, a Industrie L will initially see in the term environment a reference to “Pollution”, whereas a tallies rather thinks “tallies of life”, that a Artisan or trading will think “city”, while a farmer imagines “vicinity”, and a “Natural” employee. Large a local government agency (area, department) will think ecosystem, ecology of the landscape, Trame green, whereas a small commune sees the question of the management of water and waste, or noise pollutions or vicinity, or of the green areas”… where the sociologist will evoke the home environment or of work…
The term environment for these reasons is disputed by some ecologist S and ecologists, who see there in particular a connotation too anthropocentrist. They will rather speak - for example - ecosystems, of biomes, biogeography, of biosphere, even of “symbiosphère” .
World ecological crises
See also: Ecological catastrophe
Many recent events highlighted various problems affecting planet. Among those most frequently quoted:
- the Climate warming related to the Greenhouse effect
- the hole of the Layer of ozone
- the Deforestation
- accelerated regression of the Biodiversity
- the management of the Waste S
- the management of the Water
- the problem of the water resources
- the Regression and impoverishment of the soil
- the Atmospheric pollution
- the Dryness S
- the oil slicks
- the industrial catastrophes
- the nuclear accidents
A report/ratio of OECD listed the problems “which call an emergency action”: surpêche, destruction of the forests, retreat of the biodiversity, climate change, chemicals present in the environment, the air pollution and of water, the level reached and to come from transport, etc
International days relating to the environmentThe world or international days are often officialized by the United Nations. Here those concerning an environmental stake or the nature conservation.
20 or March 21st, day of the equinox: Day of the Earth
- March 22nd: world Day of water
- May 13rd: International day of the whale
- May 22nd: International day of the biodiversity
- June 5th: world Day of the environment
- June 8th: World Day of the Ocean
- June 17th: World day of the fight against the turning into a desert and the dryness
- September 16th: International day of the protection of the Layer of ozone
- September 22nd: Day without car
- October 8th: International day of the prevention of the natural disasters
- at the end of November: Day without purchase, not officialized, initiated by associations
Associations concerning the environmentAmong many the association S and active governmental organizations on the questions of environment, one finds: In France, associations can be “approved with the title of the environment” by the ministry for Ecology and Sustainable development. In fact association S controls by the law of 1901 contribute to reveal problems or to find and test solutions in the fields of protection of nature and the environment and the improvement of the framework of life (their vigilance is exerted on the whole of the territory).
There exist also associations concerning education with the environment and sustainable development (EEDD).
Trades of the environmentMany trades result from the environmental concerns. Among the latter can be quoted the Engineer in industrial environment. An engineer in industrial environment has the role of finding solutions so that the Entreprise S are respectful environment or at least standards dictated by the State in this field. For that, it has several tools at its disposal: environmental impact studies, the files ICPE (Installations Classified for Environmental protection) and the Series of the ISO standards 14000. The trades of the environmental audit can also be quoted.
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