As the festivities of Diwali envelop us in its warmth and light, I am drawn to the timeless words of Sant Kabir:
जब मैं था तब हरी नहीं, अब हरी है मैं नाही,
सब अँधियारा मिट गया, दीपक देखा माही |
Reflecting on this, it strikes me that Diwali is not just an external celebration but a call to our inner selves. It is a reminder to dissolve the ego and arrogance that hold us back and embrace the divine clarity that comes with true knowledge.
Awakening the Shakti Within:
What does it mean to awaken the Shakti within? To me, it is the realisation of our inner potential and strength that can lead us from inertia to dynamism, from darkness to light. This Diwali, let us pledge to embark on this inward journey together.
A Collective Rise Above Inertia:
Diwali’s essence is the victory of light over darkness. How do you interpret this in your personal and professional life? How can we, as a community, leverage this time to lift each other from complacency to action?
The Unifying Spirit of Diwali:
This festival knows no barriers—it is a time when all divisions melt away into the light of unity and love. How will you extend this unifying spirit beyond the festival and into everyday life?
Commitment to a Sustainable Future:
At Avaada Group, we are lighting a lamp for a sustainable future. This Diwali, let us renew our commitment to clean energy, decarbonisation embodying the true spirit of the festival in our endeavors for a greener tomorrow.
Your Role in the Sustainable Path:
As we light our diyas, let us consider our role in the path towards sustainability. What actions can we take to ensure that the light of clean energy becomes the cornerstone of our future development?
This Diwali, let us illuminate more than just our homes. Let us light up the lamp of knowledge within and embrace the path of unity, health, and prosperity.
Call to Action:
I invite you to share how you will be awakening your inner Shakti and contributing to a sustainable future. Let us engage in a conversation about transformation, growth, and the true meaning of enlightenment.
Wishing you and your loved ones a blessed and insightful Diwali. May your year ahead be as bright as the Diwali lamps.
This decade represents a critical juncture, a moment of profound choice that will shape the future we leave for generations to come. The undeniable effects of human-induced global warming are not a distant threat; they are here and now, irreversible and destined to worsen as long as we continue to release greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.
We are already witnessing the real-world consequences that scientists had forewarned us about the alarming loss of sea ice, the retreat of glaciers and ice sheets, rising sea levels, and more frequent and intense heat waves. The severity and pace of these changes, along with associated risks, are inextricably linked to our near-term actions on mitigation and adaptation. Every increment of global warming exacerbates the threats, losses, and damages that communities around the world will face.
Global temperatures are on the rise, driven by the accumulation of greenhouse gases that trap heat in our atmosphere. Droughts are extending their grip, becoming longer and more extreme on a global scale. Tropical storms are gaining in ferocity as ocean waters warm. As temperatures climb, mountainous and polar regions are losing their snowpack, and what remains melts at an accelerated rate. Across the board, glaciers are receding at an alarming pace. In fact, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports that the changes we are witnessing in our global climate are unprecedented in human history, and some of these changes are irreversible for hundreds to thousands of years.
What Lies Ahead?
The future is undeniably warming. At the United Nations Climate Change Conference in November 2021, nations pledged to do more to combat climate change. Their commitments, if fulfilled by 2030, would still lead to approximately 2.4°C of warming by 2100. Despite efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, this temperature rise is still expected.
Given the trajectory of warming and the increasing frequency of extreme weather events, it is clear that a child born today will experience a world marked by melting snow and ice, rising sea levels, acidic oceans, more severe weather events, shifting ocean currents, changing cloud patterns, risks to marine life, and threats to life on land.
This year marks the first global stocktake of the Paris Agreement, which evaluates global progress toward climate goals. The urgency for transforming our global energy systems to align with the 1.5°C target has never been greater, as global CO2 emissions reached a record 37 Gt in 2022. While momentum for low-emission hydrogen is growing, cost constraints and demand uncertainties still pose challenges.
Optimism Amid Despair
We find ourselves at a pivotal moment in history where the choices we make today will determine our course. This decade is our chance to avert the most catastrophic consequences of climate change and chart a course toward a net-zero future.
Limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) is still achievable but demands rapid, far-reaching transformations across all sectors, from energy production and buildings to industry, transportation, agriculture, land use, and coastal management. Immediate scaling up of carbon removal and climate finance is essential.
Today, we are witnessing a growing coalition of countries, cities, businesses, and institutions committed to achieving net-zero emissions. More than 100 countries, including China, the United States, and the European Union, have proposed or considering net-zero targets. More than 3,000 businesses and financial institutions are aligning with scientific climate targets. Nearly 1,000 cities, 1,000 educational institutions, and 400 financial institutions have pledged to halve global emissions by 2030 as part of the Race to Zero initiative.
This pivotal moment also offers the opportunity to diversify and expand supply chains for renewable technologies without harming the environment. Investment trends show that renewable energy sources such as solar, wind, wave, and geothermal power are adaptable to diverse climates and have the potential to enhance energy sovereignty.
Time is running out, and we are in a race against the clock. To spur low-emission hydrogen production, projects are multiplying rapidly and could increase annual production to 38 Mt by 2030, up from less than 1 Mt in 2022. More than 40 countries have adopted hydrogen strategies, but cost inflation and policy delays are impeding scale-up.
To meet the Net Zero Emissions by 2050 Scenario outlined by the International Energy Agency (IEA), we must stimulate demand for low-emission hydrogen, which currently represents less than 1% of global hydrogen production and must grow over 100-fold by 2030.
While progress has been made in providing financial assistance to developing nations and promoting joint research and development, we must further align policies to create demand for clean technologies and foster dialogue on trade in sectors critical to the transition. In many sectors, participation in key cooperative initiatives falls short of a global market majority.
To achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement and sustainable development, developing countries require a seven-fold surge in clean energy investment by 2035.
In a hopeful sign, clean energy investment hit a record high in 2022 and continues to grow substantially. The global recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and the response to the energy crisis have driven clean energy investment to exceed USD 1.7 trillion in 2022. For every dollar spent on fossil fuels, USD 1.7 is now invested in clean energy, a significant shift from the 1:1 ratio of five years ago. Solar PV and electric vehicles are driving further growth in clean energy investment in 2023.
This surge in clean energy investment has the potential to create millions of green jobs, particularly benefiting women and youth in developing countries.
Our goals are within reach, and we can safeguard the future, but it hinges on translating our commitments into tangible action.
Dussehra, known as Vijayadashami, isn’t just a celebration; it’s a spiritual journey that touches the hearts of millions across India. It’s a time to look deep within ourselves, transform, and conquer the inner demons we grapple with daily. In this blog, we’ll dive into the heart of Dussehra’s symbolism and how it can guide us on this very personal quest to defeat the Ravana within.
The Nine Days of Navratri
Navratri, the festival leading up to Dussehra, weaves together divine energies across nine days, each representing three fundamental qualities of our existence.
Life often presents us with three primary states of mind:
- Craving and Longing– During these times, we yearn for worldly or spiritual experiences. The early days of Navratri, characterized by tamas, remind us to channel these desires positively.
- Dullness and Inertia– Occasionally, we find ourselves in a state of inertia, devoid of desire or joy. Dussehra calls us to break free from this inertia and rediscover the joy within.
- Contentment and Joy – The ultimate aim of this celebration is to shift from longing to contentment and from inertia to joy. It underscores that the path to joy lies in the victory of our higher self over pettiness and narrow-mindedness.
Following the profound nine days of Navratri, we step into the auspicious realm of Dussehra. It is a time not only to rejoice in the victory of Lord Rama over the demon king Ravana but also to embark on an introspective journey, where we confront our inner battles and aspire to conquer the ‘Ravana within.’ Let us journey towards the blissful realization of our oneness.
Devotion and Reverence
Dussehra isn’t just about conquering external demons; it’s also about embracing devotion and reverence for the world around us. It serves as a reminder to honor our bodies, minds, and everything we encounter daily. By treating them with reverence, we lay the foundation for success in all our endeavors.
Peeling Away the Veils of Ignorance
To truly imbue our Vijayadashami celebration with meaning, we must strip away the veils of ignorance. This involves recognizing our true identity as souls inherently endowed with divine qualities of peace, love, and cooperation. This realization empowers us to conquer the inner adversaries residing within our consciousness:
The Ten Villains We Must Conquer
- Vivash (Impulsiveness):Impulsiveness often leads to hasty decisions and actions without considering their consequences. Conquering Vivash involves practicing mindfulness and cultivating the ability to pause and reflect before making choices.
- Krodha (Anger):Anger is a destructive force that can harm both ourselves and others. Conquering Krodha involves learning to manage and channel anger constructively, fostering patience and forgiveness.
- Moha (Delusion):Moha refers to attachment to material possessions and the illusion of permanence. Conquering Moha means recognizing the impermanence of worldly things and finding contentment in the present moment.
- Lobha (Greed):Greed is the insatiable desire for more and more, often at the expense of ethical values. Conquering Lobha involves practicing generosity and appreciating the value of what we already have.
- Dwesh (Hatred):Dwesh represents hatred and aversion towards others. Conquering Dwesh involves cultivating love, empathy, and understanding for all beings, even those with whom we may have conflicts.
- Chitta (Will)– Let us direct our willpower towards spiritual evolution.
- Maatsarya (Envy):Envy arises from comparing ourselves to others and feeling inadequate. To conquer Maatsarya, we must appreciate our unique qualities and focus on self-improvement rather than unhealthy competition.
- Ahamkar (Ego):Ego is a sense of self-importance that can blind us to our faults and limit our personal growth. Conquering Ahamkar involves practicing humility and recognizing that we are part of a larger whole.
- Sanshay (Indecisiveness):Indecisiveness stems from doubt and lack of self-confidence. Conquering Sanshay involves self-awareness, self-trust, and making decisions with conviction.
- Aalas (Lethargy):Lethargy represents laziness and a lack of enthusiasm or energy. To conquer Aalas, one must develop discipline, set clear goals, and cultivate a strong work ethic.
As we worship the goddesses and burn effigies of Ravana during this festival, let us also take the opportunity to conquer the inner demons and bring light to our lives. In this journey, Dussehra becomes more than just a festival; it becomes a path to inner transformation and spiritual growth.
In the world where the undeniable impacts of climate change confront us, we stand at a critical crossroads. The evidence is unequivocal: our planet is undergoing unprecedented transformations, and ominous warning signs are vividly displayed in the climate data.
This past summer served as a stark reminder, as record-breaking heatwaves, devastating floods, and unexpected tropical storms became distressingly commonplace. The charts illustrating climate data appear to be awash with red, signalling a planet in crisis.
However, amidst this climate turmoil, there is room for optimism.
Why we should be optimistic?
Several nations have made remarkable progress in transitioning to renewable energy sources. Exemplary countries such as Albania, Iceland, Paraguay, and Norway now generate nearly all their electricity from renewable sources. Europe, as a whole, is also making significant strides, with many nations poised to meet their renewable energy targets well ahead of schedule.
India, in particular, has emerged as a standout in the realm of renewable energy. It ranks fourth globally in renewable energy installed capacity, encompassing wind and solar power. India has set ambitious targets, aiming to achieve 500 GW of non-fossil fuel-based energy by 2030. This commitment represents the world’s most substantial expansion plan in renewable energy, showcasing India’s unwavering dedication to combating climate change.
Furthermore, India has witnessed an astonishing 396% surge in non-fossil fuel capacity over the past 8.5 years, reaching over 179 GW, constituting 43% of the country’s total capacity as of July 2023. This growth underscores a resolute commitment to the adoption of renewable energy.
On a global scale, 2023 promises a historic surge in renewable capacity additions, with an unprecedented increase of 107 GW. Leading the charge are regions such as Europe, the United States, India, and China. China, in particular, is poised to take the lead, accounting for nearly 55% of the global additions in renewable power capacity.
While the pathway forward may vary for each nation, the most pivotal collective step we can take is to elect leaders who prioritise swift and decisive action to reduce emissions. Government policies play an indispensable role in steering us away from the alarming red indicators on the charts.
A notable legislative achievement is the Inflation Reduction Act passed by the Biden administration, a significant milestone in U.S. climate legislation. This law sets the United States on a trajectory toward net-zero emissions and offers hope for a more sustainable future.
Moreover, green hydrogen presents immense promise as a clean energy source. Its extensive history, high energy density, and absence of direct emissions position it as a viable solution to our energy needs. Although investments in green hydrogen have been limited, especially in the Global South, there is promising growth on the horizon.
By 2030, investments in green hydrogen in the Global South are projected to reach $200 billion, with countries like India, South Africa, and Egypt leading the way. The Indian government’s commitment to initiatives like the Green Hydrogen mission reflects a broader global shift towards sustainable energy sources.
In conclusion, while the rising global emissions may dishearten us, these charts also offer a glimmer of hope. They illuminate the progress we have achieved and the potential for a brighter future if we amplify our efforts. We stand at a pivotal moment in the battle against climate change, and the global objective of limiting warming to 1.5°C remains within our grasp. With the right actions, this decade can set us on a path toward a sustainable and resilient planet.
Navratri, a vibrant festival celebrated with much fervour across India, is not just a spiritual occasion but also a scientific phenomenon, deeply connected with energy and seasonal transitions. This nine-night festival is not merely a religious event but also a period that encapsulates scientific principles and practices that can enhance physical, mental, and spiritual well-being. Let us delve deeper into the science behind Navratri and explore what the modern Bhartiya can learn and implement from this ancient celebration.
- Physical Rejuvenation through Fasting:
- Astronomical and Seasonal Transition: Navratri aligns with crucial astronomical events: Equinoxes and Solstices, which are pivotal in marking the change of seasons. Each of the four Navratris is associated with a particular seasonal transition, such as the onset of summer or winter.
- Detoxification and Immunity: The change of seasons, especially during Sharada Navratri, is often linked with a dip in immunity and a spike in infections. Fasting and consuming a saatvik diet during Navratri act as a detox, giving the digestive system a break and enhancing the body’s ability to fight diseases.
- Mental Rejuvenation and Psychological Benefits:
- Combatting Negative Emotions: Navratri is also a period for mental detoxification by focusing on eliminating negative emotions like anger, lust, greed, and jealousy.
- Psychological Impact of Fasting: Fasting is not merely a physical activity but also a mental one. It helps strengthen willpower, enhance focus, and provides a platform for introspection and self-discovery.
- Spiritual Rejuvenation:
- Connecting with Cosmic Energies: The nights of Navratri are considered potent for spiritual practices. Devotees engage in meditation, prayers, and various rituals to connect with the divine feminine energy.
- Balancing Physical and Spiritual Aspects: The practice of worshipping different forms of Goddess Durga symbolises the victory of positive spiritual energy over negative earthly aspects.
What Modern Bhartiyas Can Learn and Implement:
- Embrace the Concept of Detoxification:
- Physical Detox: Adopting the practice of intermittent fasting or periodic detox, especially during seasonal transitions, can enhance physical health and immunity.
- Mental Detox: Allocating time for mental health, practicing mindfulness, and focusing on eliminating negative thoughts and emotions are crucial.
- Balancing Lifestyle with Nature’s Cycle:
- Aligning with Natural Rhythms: Understanding and respecting the natural and astronomical cycles and aligning one’s lifestyle accordingly can promote holistic well-being.
- Seasonal Eating: Adopting a diet that corresponds with the seasonal produce and climate can enhance digestion and immunity.
- Spiritual Practices for Mental Peace:
- Meditation and Yoga: Incorporating spiritual practices like meditation and yoga into daily life can provide mental peace and clarity.
- Connecting with the Divine: Engaging in spiritual practices, regardless of religious beliefs, can provide a sense of purpose and direction.
- Community and Togetherness:
- Celebrating Together: Festivals like Navratri promote community bonding. Celebrating, even in small ways, can foster a sense of belonging and togetherness.
- Cultural Preservation: Upholding traditions and understanding the science and wisdom behind them ensures that they are preserved for future generations.
In essence, Navratri, while being deeply rooted in spirituality and religion, offers a plethora of scientific wisdom and practices that promote well-being on multiple levels. Modern Bhartiyas, while navigating through the hustle and bustle of contemporary life, can imbibe these practices to enhance their physical, mental, and spiritual well-being, thereby leading a balanced and harmonious life.