Not a breath of clean air
On 21 June 2020, I completed writing 20 Talks about my anxieties. The following morning, I heard a meteorologist on the BBC commenting on climate warming and what we should do next. He proposed that we should sit down and talk. That infuriated me. Isn’t that what the world has done for over half a century? Since the first climate conference in Geneva that I partly attended, I have followed the work of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Thousands of climate experts and political strategists of the world been talking on numerous occasions. Alas! not a breath clean air. Earth is sicker than ever before. No country wants to give up even a tiny bit of its greed. Clearly the growth of industry and commerce is the priority and the basis of the power struggle – political and commercial.
Stop beating around the bush
The same morning, I received young Manjinder’s curt message from the small village in Punjab. “Stop beating around the bush. Bravely prescribe the known cure for sick Earth”. To encourage me, he sent 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.
Mollify inner demons.
The solution became clear to me. But how can I radically change the complex economic, social and human systems the experts demand? The entire burden, therefore, falls on human beings, the real culprit. The Earth cannot be cured unless the humankind minimises its I-ness by simple living and swimming with the flow of nature and behaving like a Homo sapiens.
Evidently, the virulent BHG must be weakened if not entirely eradicated. For once, instead of promoting development, can the economists declare that continued proliferation of BHG will require more natural resources, making Earth weaker and sicker? This will encourage humans to mollify their inner demons and those of their enterprises. To achieve this:
- Reduce egoistic anthropocentricism.
- Harmonize with nature and its other living beings.
- Rectify the error that humans are superior to nature and its master.
- Recognize that the African savannah is the cradle of human beings and not Noah’s Arc of the Middle East.
- Be pro-life and not only pro-human life.
This is my yearning to those who want to save Earth, its nature, air, water, and all sorts of life: wild animals, birds, insects, and plants. To me this is the light that can obliterate darkness and bring happiness to human beings.