The year 2018 is special. Unlike other years that the UNO assigns for specific global causes to arouse awareness and action, 2018 is earmarked for: nothing! Well, not really; since the “Let’s Do It” Foundation, networking in 150 countries, has petitioned UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, to declare 2018 as the “Year of a Clean, Healthy Planet”. Great!
December-end, I participated in the 1oth World Confluence of Humanity, Power, and Spirituality organised by SREI Foundation of the Dr. H.P. Kanoria family, engendering discussions on spirituality and its significance for society, ecology, business, politics, etc. Former-President of India Pranab Mukherjee, two governors and a rainbow of religionists contributed their mite to explore initiatives for a cleaner, greener earth.
At an interfaith session Spirituality and Nature—Climate Change, anchored by Sir Mark Tully, ex-Bureau Chief of BBC, Pujya Swami Chidananda Saraswatiji and Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswatiji represented Hinduism, Dr. Mohammad Aslam Parvaiz presented the Islamic view, and I added a Christian perspective.
“Yeh man mange more” Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswatiji said, “Is the root of climatic crises.” Man’s mind is a wellspring of needs and desires. Our materialistic “more, more” mantra can only be satisfied by manufacturing more. This results in pollution, felling of trees, industrial wastages, etc. She advocated a change of mindset with meditation and a lifestyle embracing vegetarianism.
Pujya Swami Chida-nanda Saraswatiji stre-ssed that in Hinduism: (a) every yag?a symbolizes divine benevolence and human surrender; (b) it’s more important to “be” than to “have”, and, (c) purity creates balance; pollution, imbalance. He added: “Our ‘shelves’ are full (of goods) but ‘selves’ are empty.”
Dr. Parvaiz said: “Three important commands of the Quran to care for the environment are: (a) we, human beings, are created as “trustees” of creation. (b) Earth’s resources are for all people. (c) Allah expects humankind to restore balance in creation by being charitable and equitable in all our relationships.
Reiterating the Christian viewpoint that God created all creatures to be interconnected and interdependent, I said climate change could be countered only if I/We change. (a) “C” for “Cleanup” of our environs, (b) “H” seeking “Harmony” of the divine-human-cosmic; (c) “A” anchoring to our “Absolute Aadhaar”: God; (d) “N” for “Networking”with all peoples; (e) “G” for “Global Goodwill” and (f) “E” ensuring “eco-friendly” environs for everyone.
Sir Mark Tully opined: “Religious worldviews can stall climate change because they acknowledge that our world and all that is in it is sacred. They demonstrate that care for nature has to be an essential factor in the way we live our lives. If religious leaders spoke in one voice they would protest with unique power.” Let’s do it, together! In 2018, let’s work for a clean, healthy home: our common homeland, mother earth....