THE global environmental crisis is no longer a myth but a clear statement of facts. People are advocating recycling and alternate systems of power, but this will only help in a minor way. I’m not trying to belittle these efforts. Windmills, solar panels, etc., are very crucial interventions, but we are not yet looking for solutions; we are only looking to slow down the disaster. This means we don’t want the disaster to happen in our lifetime; we want to gift it to our children. We are trying to lift a tonne of weight with a little finger; we want to handle a massive problem with small incentives here and there.
If we as humanity are serious about this looming environmental disaster, we need to come to terms with the fact that all ecological problems have sprung from irresponsible human reproduction. Because of science and technology, natural selection no longer applies to us. In most countries today, we are capable of seeing that every child that is born largely survives. In many parts of the world, the infant mortality rate has plummeted. Essentially, medical science has postponed our deaths, but we are refusing to postpone the births. Yes, the average child-bearing age of women has been climbing, but with the world population at 7.4 billion, this is not an effective postponement.
Either we consciously handle this issue or Mother Earth will do it for us in a cruel manner. Right now, Mother Earth is not even supposed to flex her muscles. She cannot even sneeze or else a hundred thousand people will die because they have built towns around live volcanoes! We are wonderful, but we are too many. We need to reduce our wonderfulness.
The estimated population in 2050 is 9.5 billion, which means all of us will have to live at 40 per cent less resource than we are right now enjoying. I’m not talking about gold, diamonds or oil. I am talking about water, food and air to breathe. Per capita, today we have only 30 per cent of the potable water that an Indian citizen had in 1947. By 2025, we will have only 20 per cent of that. That means your morning bath will be with a single bottle.
The planet has an enormous capability to recoup from the damage that it goes through, but we have to allow a certain amount of time for this. In 40 years, if all the countries come together to bring down human population by 25 per cent, that itself is a great solution. This is definitely achievable, but you cannot expect people to change by themselves. Laws are needed. Laws will not happen unless there are strong, responsible, ecological movements oriented towards solutions. Right now, the problem between nations is: “Okay, I’m willing to change the law and restrict my country, but what about you? You are not willing to do it, but you want to benefit from my laws.” So nobody is doing it. Who is to bell the cat? We must develop a large-scale movement that is conscious that there is no other enemy sticking out somewhere there-we are the enemy. It must be action-oriented to gain respectability in the world, at the same time it should be an international movement where there is so much pressure on the governments that they will change the laws, step by step.
Fundamentally, the source of environmental disaster is that we think life upon this planet is human-centric. But worms, insects, birds and other animals are far more important than us. We are led to believe that we will live well because of the economic growth happening in our country. No. We will live well if everything is green and beautiful, and the water is flowing and the air is pure. This idea has to go into every human being’s mind. Unless we recognise every life as life, there is no solution. The essence of the spiritual process is just this-seeing all of it as just a manifestation of life.
Sadhguru, a yogi, is a visionary, humanitarian and a prominent spiritual leader(www.ishafoundation.org)