Saturday, April 23, 2011

Be Sensitive to your Environment

Today being World Mother Earth Day, let us pledge to nurture and care for the environment.

Development is imperative, but a short-sighted approach is often the cause of great harm. Sustainable development is that which keeps in mind the long-term effects and benefits of any programme.
Short-sighted development is a disaster. Ravaging natural resources without a long-term vision will destroy the ecology, which is the very source of life. The purpose of development should be to support and sustain life. With the bigger picture in mind, all development plans will factor in the ecology, sociology and psychology. Then the very process of development becomes a conscious endeavor to preserve the planet and its resources. The health of our planet is of utmost importance.

Environment consciousness is inbuilt in the human system. Throughout history, Nature ( prakriti) has always been adored in India; mountains, rivers, the sun, the moon, the trees have been revered. In fact, ancient cultures all over the world have exhibited a deep reverence for Nature. For them, God was not in temples or churches, but was inherent in Nature. It's only when we start moving away from Nature that we start polluting Nature. Today there is a pressing need to revive the ancient practice of honouring and conserving Nature.

Many are of the view that damage to ecology is an inevitable by-product of technological progress. But that is not necessarily so; actually, a sustainable growth is assured only if the ecology is protected. Science and technology should not be regarded as anti-environment; rather, we need to find ways of maintaining harmony in environment while progressing in science and technology. This is the biggest challenge of this century.

Just observe Nature; the five elements of Nature are opposed to each other. Water destroys fire, fire destroys air. Then there are so many species in Nature - the birds, reptiles, mammals; all these different species are hostile towards each other and yet Nature balances them out. We need to learn from Nature; how Nature digests waste material and produces something more beautiful. Similarly, it is not technology and science that pose a hazard, but the waste material generated by technological and scientific processes.

We need to find methods to consume the waste and develop non-polluting processes, such as harnessing of solar energy. A return to traditional methods such as organic and chemical-free farming will go a long way in preparing the ground for healthy development. Tradition, technology, trade and truth are the four key factors, which need to be revived time and again. Unless they are revived, the whole meaning for which they were initiated will be lost; ancient and modern methods should be synergised. Despite advances in the field of chemicals and fertilisers, the ancient Vedic technology of using cow urine and cow dung continue to be one of the best ways to cultivate crops. Several studies have shown that natural farming leads to enhanced yield.

The latest technology needn't always be the most economically viable or efficient technology. We need to look into the merits; just because something is new, it is not necessarily good and just because some thing is old, it need not be discarded.

There can be no sustainable development in a society full of stress and violence. A disease-free body, a stress-free mind, a violence-free society and a toxin-free environment are vital elements of sustainable development. If we have to keep opening more and more hospitals and prisons as society develops, it does not augur well. Access to more hospitals beds and availability of more prisons are not signs of development.

Sustainable development also means freedom from all types of crimes. Destroying the environment, cutting down trees, dumping toxic waste, using non-recyclable materials is also a crime. Environment is our first body, then comes the physical body and the mind, the mental sheath. You have to cater to all the three levels.

In reality, man's greed is the greatest pollutant. Greed stops man from sharing with others. Greed also obstructs the preservation of ecology; man is so greedy, he wants to make quick profits and achieve quick results. This greed not only pollutes the gross, physical environment but also contaminates the subtle atmosphere; it stimulates negative emotions in the subtle mind. These negative vibrations, once compounded, give rise to unrest in society. Negative feelings of hatred, anger, jealousy are the root cause of all disasters and misery in the world, whether they are economical, political or social in nature. People should be encouraged to treat the planet as sacred, to treat trees and rivers as sacred, to treat people as sacred, and to see God in nature and in people. This will foster sensitivity; and a sensitive person can't but care for nature. It is basically insensitivity that makes a person act callously towards environment. If a person is sensitive, he will nurture environment, thereby eradicating pollution.

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