On 21 June 2020, I completed writing about my anxieties in twenty talks as planned. No more. It happened that on the following morning I had two surprises. First, I heard a meteorologist on the BBC commenting on climate warming and what could happen next. The solution he proposed is that we should sit down and talk. That infuriated me. Isn’t that exactly what the world has been doing for over half a century? Since the first climate conference in Geneva that I partly attended, I have been following the work of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Thousands of all sorts of climate experts and political strategists of the world have been sitting and talking on numerous occasions. Alas! Nothing has been done to make Earth breath clean air. She is sicker than ever before. No country is prepared to give up even a tiny bit of its greed. It is clear that the growth of industry and commerce is the priority and basis of the power struggle at all levels, political and commercial. Holding talks serves only to further delay action to alleviate the pressure on Earth.
The second surprise was Manjinder’s message from the small village in Punjab where he lives. He daringly told me to stop beating about the bush and to bravely prescribe the known cure for saving my Earth. He furnished with this story:
“Greedy and arrogant humans have ignored their mother Earth that has been feeding them lovingly. They continue to insult her. Benevolent mother Earth never imagined that humans would so cruelly abandon her on the sick bed.
One day, a human-son came to know that mother Earth was sick. He rushed to see her. Her shrivelled state brought tears to his eyes. Wiping his tears, he asked her, “Who has brought this calamity on you? Dear mother, you were so beautiful. Your pure waters cured so many illnesses, your air rejuvenated we humans. We have beautified ourselves with diamonds, gold, rubies and other precious gifts you have given us. You have given us food through the ages. But who has brought you to this pitiable condition?”
Tenderly and with much patience Earth replied:
“O my son, I do not feel the burden of the sky-high mountains;
Nor my heart saddened by the weight of forts, houses and palaces;
Nor by the mass of oceans filled by rivers, and streams;
Nor does the weight of trees laden with fruit upset me.
I shelter innumerable living beings in total freedom.
I feel no weight of their dwellings.
But ungrateful persons are a burden on me.
They are the evil of evils.” (Bhai Gurdas, poet-philosopher, 1551–1637)
The sensitive human-son, dazed by what she said, asked her, “Please mother Earth, who is responsible for driving you to such a state. I’ll wipe them out from this Earth.”
Earth reconfirmed lovingly, “O my son, I’m burdened by ungrateful human beings. Having forgotten their mother, they have been exploiting me and making a mess of everything, leaving massive problems for the future. All I needed was a little care and respect. By making their own needs boundless they are killing themselves and making me sicker.
Poor crushed Earth!
This simple story made the solution very evident to me. It is impossible to radically change the manner and criteria of our economic, social and human systems as our experts demand. They are too complex. The entire burden, therefore, falls on human beings. Therefore, humans are obliged to become simple and natural beings swimming with the flow of nature and behave as true Homo sapiens, that is wise men.
To cure my sick Earth, the virulent BHG must be weakened if not entirely eradicated. Economists can easily show (unless frightened of losing their jobs) that continued proliferation of BHG will require more resources of all types, thus making Earth weaker and sicker. Obviously this will require that humans mollify their inner demons and those of their enterprises. This can be achieved by:
- Reducing undue importance to anthropocentricism.
- Being in harmony with nature, other living beings, and the environment.
- Rectifying the error that humans are superior to nature and its master.
- Accepting that the African savannah is the cradle of human beings and not Noah’s Arc of the Middle East.
- Being pro-life and not only pro-human life.
This is not an expression of pessimism, but a yearning of hope transmitted to those who want to save Earth, its nature, air, water, and all sorts of life: wild animals, birds, insects and plants. This seems to be the only light that can obliterate darkness and bring happiness to human beings.
My best wishes to all defenders of nature.