The environment is the surrounding within which we humankind live. Humans and the environment are interdependent. The environment around all the humans were created for their benefit and they were given the responsibility of taking care of the environment as well -“The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it“, this is what the Bible says.
But the biggest question arises here – “How do humans take care of the environment?” Or if we specify it more of a personal level, then the question may be, “How do I take care of the environment?” Or “What is my bit for the environment?”
While trying to understand what is my environment first, I came across the term environmental psychology which is explained – Environmental psychology is an interdisciplinary field that focuses on the interplay between individuals and their surroundings. The field defines the term environment broadly, encompassing natural environments, social settings, built environments, learning environments, and informational environments.
Now, the term environmental psychology gave me a clear picture of my surrounding, that is my environment and how I can improve it for myself as well as for the future generation that will follow after me.
Let me give some imageries before I talk about – ‘my bit for the environment’.
Mostly people from joint families talk louder than the people brought up in nuclear families. Why and how does that happen? When there are more people in a family, one tends to speak louder to another to communicate well overlapping other conversations between other family members in that same family.
Think about the people in the slums and the ones living on the streets… they play loud music and scream around speaking coarsely. But those of us living in a proper house tend to play music with a moderate volume and have manners to speak gently. The reason is the same – to let our messages conveyed overcoming the noises all around us.
At home when our soft voices are not heard by the person we are talking to, we shout or scream after two or three failed attempts to communicate gently. I get a reaction from the other members at home when I shout, “Why are you shouting?” My responses to them goes like this, “Because you are not able to hear my soft, gentle voice”. I shout a lot as I was brought up in a joint family.
But when I was contemplating about my paternal family, I see they all speak gently than my maternal family. They even shun shouting. I tried to find out the reason behind it. One reason could possibly be, in my paternal joint family we all gather during vacations once in a year but in our maternal joint family, all the members live together throughout the year.
Why am I talking about speaking loudly, shouts, high pitched sound, etc.? Because sound has terrible effects on human health ultimately causing damage to the environment as a whole, according to the definition of environmental psychology. The social settings are disturbed because of the effects of high-pitched sound or noise.
Noise pollution impacts millions of people on a daily basis. The most common health problem it causes is Noise Induced Hearing Loss (NIHL). Exposure to loud noise can also cause high blood pressure, heart disease, sleep disturbances, and stress. These health problems can affect all age groups, especially children. Many children who live near noisy airports or streets have been found to suffer from stress and other problems, such as impairments in memory, attention level, and reading skills.
Noise pollution also impacts the health and well-being of wildlife. Studies have shown that loud noises cause caterpillars’ hearts to beat faster and bluebirds to have fewer chicks. Animals use sound for a variety of reasons, including to navigate, find food, attract mates, and avoid predators. Noise pollution makes it difficult for them to accomplish these tasks, which affects their ability to survive.
The above description is about the effects of high-pitched unwanted sound or noise on our environment at large but it has adverse effects on a very personal level as well. When in the family we shout, people in front of us get irritated and shout back at us. And the tension keeps building up with further shouting and loud responses.
The Bible instructs us like this –
A soft and gentle and thoughtful answer turns away wrath,
But harsh and painful and careless words stir up anger.
And we all know, harsh and careless words are always spoken with loud voices (though there is gentle venom as well).
So, my bit for the environment is to promote gentle voices in the family as well as in the community I live in while I force my own voice to go down as much as possible. Sadly, I always speak in a loud voice. And it is a constant struggle for me to speak gently and wisely. I am striving hard. I am sure for the sake of my social settings, my surrounding, my environment I would change my habit.
Are you ready to follow it too – “How gentle and soft can I be?”