That the environment has been steadily deteriorating -- be it the air we breathe, the water we drink, the soil that supports us in myriad ways, or the diversity of plant and animal life that surrounds us -- is common knowledge. Looking back to think ahead -- the first report of TERI?s ambitious ?GREEN India 2047? project -- seeks to set forth the extent of degradation of India?s natural resources -- water, soils, forests, and biodiversity -- during the first 50 years of its independence and assesses the damage in economic terms. It also takes air pollution, water pollution, and solid wastes into the scheme of the study. A chapter on ?development and lifestyles? shows how economic progress has led to lifestyles that are increasingly consumption-oriented, with its inevitable impacts on the environment.
The report quantifies degradation by assigning monetary values to its impacts, which makes it possible to weigh the losses against the possible gains from avoiding or abating the losses. It concludes by pointing towards the path to sustainable development, namely DISHA (?direction?, in Sanskrit): Directions, Interventions, and Strategies for Harnessing Action. The 350-page report -- supported by charts, maps, and diagrams, with a complete overview -- is a must-read for policy-makers, corporate executives, politicians, planners, media persons, the scientific community, and the concerned citizenry. [Also available is a 52-page summary of this landmark report.]