Nature’s Balancing Act

Nature’s Balancing Act

समुद्रवसने देवि पर्वतस्तनमंडले ।

विष्णुपत्नि नमस्तुभ्यं पादस्पर्शं क्षमस्व मे

Mother Earth, who has the ocean as clothes, adorned by mountains and forests,

And is the consort of Lord Vishnu,

I bow to you to please forgive me for touching you with my feet.

The Vedas have endowed us with a vast array of knowledge that range from environmental protection to ecological balance to rainfall cycles, and just about every phenomenon that occurs on planet Earth. Our ancestors believed in ‘sanrakshan’ – mindful of the society’s role towards sustainability and ecological preservation.

Unfortunately, since the world seems to have grown around us, we have forgotten to fear the invisible cause-effect relations that drive our reality. Now, despite receiving light nudges and warnings across centuries, our collective ignorance in pursuit of creature comforts has lead us to cause irreversible damage to Mother Earth and she is done with throwing us humans helpful hints.

Transverse Impact of Climate Change

A clear, impartial observation highlights the impact climate change has had not only on the current Covid19 Crisis era but has been felt for many decades, amplifying with each year and observed on a worldwide scale. We have always sensed the wrong and harm we have inflicted on nature for centuries. Mother Earth has had many warriors and champions, they warned us, threatened us but humanity never heeded.

Now that nature has taken matters into its own hands and we have been – as a species – driven into hiding and we need to press the refresh button. Things can’t go back to the ‘old ways’ so we have to look, learn, adapt and evolve. From factories to everyday grocery shopping – nothing can stay the same. Burning fossil fuel, the Amazon forest fires, bush fires as well as rising sea levels can no longer be terms we simply find bound between pages inside dusty, old libraries. The wrath of nature has brought these facts closer to home and impacted our everyday lives.

As per the World Health Organization (W.H.O.), fuel emissions alone kill an estimated 7 million people worldwide every year. The ice caps are melting and the sea-water levels are rising by 7 to 8 inches on average since 1900, slowly swallowing land and homes while fueling more inland flooding. From our homes to health to food scarcity if we don’t learn to adapt and grow – extinction isn’t a far off concept.

Playing a balancing game with nature

Humans are driven by comfort and are constantly challenging Mother Nature. Human activities like urbanization, deforestation, infrastructure building, etc. have led to severe decline of pristine natural environment. Rapid ice melting to glaciers floating along with an ever increasing human population had led to depleted biodiversity and loss of multiple essential natural habitats.

From polluting the water to excessive vehicular use, we as a species have pushed a multitude of flora – Silphium, Rhynia, Sigillaria – and fauna – the Black Rhinoceros, White Dolphin, Passenger Pigeon – towards absolute extinction. We have destroyed the balance between several ecosystems whose stability is amicably interdependent.

So then the question arises – ‘Can we undo our harmful actions?’

Even though the answer isn’t quite as straightforward as a yes or a no we need to try.

The solution, it seems, lies in one simple concept –  Harmonious Sustainability.

Luckily a lot of research and holistic studies have been done for us. Extensive studies on the ‘Charak Samhita’ with special focus on the third chapter on epidemic diseases could be a start. It elaborates on living together as one with nature and learning how to notice warning signs.  

Technology has brought us far. By rebuilding the world and marrying it to nature through eco-friendly methods is a successful step forward. From celebrating renewable energy to growing with plants and trees in their natural habitat to co-existing peacefully with other species are some foundational ideas that encourage Sustainable Living.

Just have faith and take a step forward. For now, Nature has begun to heal; let’s not miss this chance to create a sustainable future for the many generations that are yet to come.

विश्वंभरा वसुधानी प्रतिष्ठा हिरण्यवक्षा जगतो निवेशनी ।

वैश्वानरं बिभ्रती भूमिरग्निमिन्द्रऋषभा द्रविणे नो दधातु ॥६॥

She (Mother Earth) is All-Bearing, She is the Producer of all Wealth,

She is the Foundation on which we live,

She is of Golden Bosom, the Dwelling Place of the World,

She holds The Universal Fire within Her,

May the Mother Earth bestow on us the splendour of that Fire and make us strong.

Returning to Our Roots; Restoring Our Earth; Renewing Our Future

Returning to Our Roots; Restoring Our Earth; Renewing Our Future

माता भूमि पुत्रोहं पृथिव्या

During the Vedic period, we used to live in harmony with nature. The Vedas have several references on environmental protection, ecological balance, weather cycles, rainfall phenomena, the hydrologic cycle, and related subjects that directly indicate the high level of awareness of the seers and people of that time.

Rig-Veda states that “the sky is like father, the earth like a mother and the space as their son.” The universe consisting of the three is like a family and any kind of damage done to any one of the three throws the universe out of balance.

It is also stated in Upanishad that “The God who exists in the universe, lives in air, water, in fire and also in trees and herbs, men should have reverence for them.” 

In fact, man is forbidden from exploiting nature. He is taught to live in harmony with nature and recognize that divinity prevails in all elements, including plants and animals. The Rishis of the past have always had great respect for nature. Theirs was not a superstitious primitive theology. They perceived that all material manifestations are a shadow of the spiritual. 

But unfortunately, Today Indian rivers are the destination for waste produced by hundreds of industrial units, our cities have become gas chambers, oceans have become the dump yard for plastics and rapid urbanization leads to deforestation. The greed of mankind has led to grave danger to the future of the environment.

Mahatma Gandhi said –

“The world has enough for everyone’s need, but not enough for everyone’s greed.” 

The effect of global warming and climate change are well emphasized in global narratives and India can neither remain unaffected nor be a mute spectator. 

The punishing long and scorching summers and uneven rainfalls are just the latest indicators that we need to do more to hold back climate change. Solutions to control such devastations are within our reach, but to capture them there is a need to take urgent consolidated actions across every level of society and build a future for our coming generations that are sustainable and resilient.

We are all responsible as individuals, in terms of changing our habits and living in a way that is more sustainable. Now is the time for people in every facet to raise their voices and urge each other to take a historic first step towards a sustainable future. We must reduce carbon emissions to the point where we hold global warming to no more than an additional 1.5 °C.

In our journey towards carbon-neutral, the private sector will play a key role in accelerating global decarbonization by setting science-based targets to reduce emissions within their operations and value chains. Moving ahead, we need deep and sustained decarbonization of the industry at all levels—Hard to abate sectors, food production and consumption, transportation, construction, manufacturing, and retail. To do this, we require new and innovative solutions that transform the way stakeholders engage with the natural world. Industries must switch to green & sustainable energy like solar & wind. One tool that could help the ‘hard to abate’ sector is green hydrogen & green ammonia.

Every country, city, financial institution, and company should adopt plans for transitioning to net zero emissions by 2050 and take decisive ACTION NOW.

Our PM Shri Narendra Modi always says – India believes in वसुधैव कुटुम्बकम.

Means ‘The whole Universe is one Family’

He has made a paradigm shift to a “whole-of-society” approach by involving and engaging sub-national and local governments, civil society organizations, local communities, people in vulnerable situations, and the private sector. 

With his motto of ‘Sabka Saath Sabka Vikaas’ (Collective Efforts for Inclusive Growth), serious efforts have been made in the county to develop a robust SDGs localization model centered on adoption, implementation, and monitoring at the state and district levels.

We have Science with us; technology is with us. We just need to step up to combat climate change. Azadi ka Amrit Kaal is a make-or-break year to confront the global climate emergency.

Let’s UNITE and FIGHT for a sustainable future.

We must turn this momentum into a movement.

Jai Hind