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How to stop cutting the branch we are sitting on?

July 31, 2011

Earth counts time in billions of years. Do you know, it took our Earth 4 billion years to make trees – Trees that in the chain of species trees are a pinnacle, a perfect living structure. They defy gravity – growing perfectly towards the Sun that nourishes their foliage.

And we, we humans as some say are only 200,000 years old.

Taking from the Earth only that was strictly necessary, for a long time the relation between the Earth and humans was evenly balanced. For a long time the economy seemed to like a natural and equitable alliance. But in the last few hundred years we changed the face of the world. Despite our vulnerability we conquered most of habitats and took swaths of territory, like no other species before us.

And what is happening now?

  • That 20% of the world’s population consumes 80% of the resources – you and I being part of this 20% and yet vying for more, more and more goods and comforts.
  • That the world we live in spends 12 times more on military expenditure than on aid to those dying the poor countries.
  • That there once was a time when we could have drunk from any well and any river that flowed. Today, 5000 people die every day because of dirty drinking water. 1 billion people do not have access to clean drinking water. Water that once used to be free, costs more than wine in some countries.
  • That mighty river of Jordan is now nothing more than just a trickle. Due to this river’s fate the Dead Sea goes down one meter every year, forming islands of salts in between.
  • That Jordan’s fate is not unique. Across the planet one major river in ten no longer flows into the sea for several months in a year. And yet in Las Vegas a thousand liter of water is consumed per person per day.
  • That nearly 1 billion poor people go hungry every day, while some of us spend thousands on one meal while discussing about holistic development and the same poor people. And yet over 50% of the grain traded around the world is being used for animal feed and biofuels.
  • That 40% of the arable land has suffered from long term damage and every year 13 million hectares of forest disappear
  • That One mammal in 4, one bird in 8, and one amphibian in 3 are threatened with extinction. Species are dying out at a rhythm 1000 times faster than the natural rate.
  • That three quarters of the fishing grounds are exhausted, depleted or in the dangerous decline.
  • That the ice cap is 40% thinner than it was 40 years ago.
  • That in Delhi, capital of India, around 3000 people die every year just because of the air pollution.

Do we know that the cost of OUR actions is high and others play a price without being actively involved.

Yes I know, I am sorry for putting all the figures up here again. Have we not read this time and again, seen it in various environment documentaries and movies? Environmentalists across the planet have been shouting on the top of their voices about the same for more than 60 years now. Then what is the point of putting this up again?

Some one has said that a single human can knock down every wall and change the time to come. I am writing this to share with you a few things that we can do, a few things that some people (some people who are the part of 20%) have already started doing –

  • Some have reduced the usage powered vehicles, while some have also stopped using their own personal vehicles. They use cycles and use them more often along with public transport. The people working for Green Peace are not allowed to own personal vehicles.
  • Some have stopped consuming water from the water bottles these big corporations sell. They take their own water bottles with them. We could use that especially while travelling by trains (where most of us drink and throw the bottles outside). No, they do not get recycled. Only 1% of the plastic we throw is recycled.
  • Some have taken a step back and look at what they really need. Some have started studying the trap of consumerism that the system wants us to get into. They wonder if they really need Gucci bags, big Sony flat screens, latest smart phones, and new clothes every year?
  • In Ladakh before 1960, people used to wear shoes made of Yak skin (one pair was all they needed for the whole life). They used to carry a little pouch with them with a needle and a thread and whenever the shoes will get a little torn, they would sit and sew them. Today we throw Nike shoes after using them for a year or two. Some have decided to take a step back and slow down.
  • Some have decided to take a break and see what world would they be leaving for their children and grand children – the children, who might never get to see any real forests full of life, full of a variety of wild flowers, birds and animals.
  • Some have decided to spend more time with nature and reduce the time they spend sitting in front of TV or on net.
  • Some have reduced consuming chips, chocolates or anything that is packaged in plastic wrappers. Some have decided not to drink water or tea from use and throw plastic glasses. These wrappers are choking the Earth. And No, again they do not get recycled. Only 1% of the plastic we throw is recycled.

Some have decided to take sometime to think about how smallest of their action can help the people survive. A little less plastic and people get more land for agriculture. A little less usage of the powered vehicles and not many will get asthma, not many will die of the air pollution.

A little step is all that we need. Isn’t it? It is up to us what to write next, together.

Part of information taken from a movie – Home

8 Comments leave one →
  1. August 1, 2011 01:40

    While some have realized and are taking the corrective actions, there is huge amount of people being newly entrapped into the system who were not in it before from lower socio-economic order. The only solution I can think off is of spirituality that can take the minds off from this of the masses and make it concentrate on personal spiritual growth and understanding ,as well as realise the beauty of living in harmony with nature at slow and natural pace.
    Also, its not just that our children will not be able to see forests and variety that we must preserve them. One has to develop the vision of comparing one’s body as a system to earth as a system with humans being different cells of this system. We are all life forms intricately interlinked with one another, and sub parts of one larger earth consciousness. We breathe out CO2, plants intake that, we intake O2 released by them. The microbes working in soil enrich it with minerals required by us and all animals, and they feed on our excreta.The animals feed on waste of agriculture and give us milk, and theri waste again being utlised for agriculture. If one would go in details, there is so much and rather very intelligent interlinkings in the system, which we for our egoistic benefits have broken. Its like one cell of our body saying, I will not allow the fluid flowing through me to reach the other next cell and will store it. This would result in death of the next cell(s) for lack of fluids and this cell itself will burst after a certain time and die. Thats what we are doing. Each cell ,each organ performs its own unique function and is not jealous off, or neither wishes to occupy the place of another, and thus harmony called body is able to gain life.


    • August 1, 2011 07:02

      I loved what you wrote in the second paragraph… Realizing the inter-connectedness is so important and is so beautiful. I remember a day, I was volunteering at Deer Park (a beautiful monastery turned institute in Bir). I was sitting beside a small plant thinking about the same thing that you have written about. I kept sitting there for a few hours just observing the plant and it’s small world. It was such a perfect world and everything was working so cohesively. The bees, earthworms, butterflies, small and big ants and loads of other insects living harmoniously with each other. It made me realize what J Krishnamurty had repeated time and again – on how we too are part of the nature and how nature works its way through us.


  2. R Basu permalink
    August 1, 2011 13:50

    Reading your blog after a long time. It was really touching. Just want to say that this for me would not be read and forget post, it did have an impact on me and I will surely be part of these some – some who have decided to take a break and see what world would they be leaving for their children and grand children – the children, who might never get to see any real forests full of life, full of a variety of wild flowers, birds and animals. Thanks a lot


    • August 1, 2011 20:35

      That would be so nice 🙂 Thank you for appreciating and hope you will be happy doing whatever it be


  3. Weit permalink
    August 2, 2011 11:37

    It is so good to see such things coming up now.. people getting up to realize in different parts of different countries which makes me fee that change will come and come soon.. Really appreciate the effort


  4. August 3, 2011 22:23

    Saying that i liked the post would be useless now, just keep writing.

    one more thing that i follow and you may to do that if you find it right.
    When you are walking avoid walking on grass or any vegetation because as you walk you destroy the grass cover by your feet and that life giving green cover is gone forever. Also avoid walking on mud, or unlaid path as there will be insects crawling there which might be killed. Besides there might be a seed inside the soil which can grow to become a tree.


    • August 4, 2011 11:35

      it is never useless to say you like 😉 Yes, what you write is what is also written in Jainism.. I have seen some Buddhist monks walking mindfully aware of what they are stepping on, on and off stopping and picking up a small bug and keeping it on a plant.. It is beautiful to see how aware and compassionate they inherently are.


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