Revisiting Environmental History: Who Set the Timer?
A certain spark of wisdom can enlighten the mind and reset the existing thoughts in it. Such a moment blessed me when a good friend of mine visited last weekend and we had a very enriching discussion on the history of global environmental movement. So far, I have heard of a western (read modern) environmental movements and the Indian versions as well. According to the former, the environmental movement began with the Industrial Revolution while the latter credits it as back as to the reign of the Great Emperor Ashoka himself.
The Book of Genesis talks about how God created the whole universe and the story of human first walking on the Earth. I believe in the divine power that started off the whole earth mechanism and its beautiful functioning. Nature is a witness to it, and time is the most obedient entity of all creation. Time & tide waits for none…true because it follows only God’s divine plan. The sun always rises in the east & sets in the west…Rivers always flow downstream…raindrops always fall down…mention all laws in physics and it will convince you of a greater force setting all things at work.
True environmentalism can only spring from an understanding that it is not us who controls nature but vice versa. Nature is much a bigger force for us to handle or control it to adjust to our so called ‘developmental needs’. We cannot save environment…but only allow ourselves to be saved by understanding the mechanism of nature and live in obedience to its laws.
Allow me to share a theory on the facts of environmentalism dating back as early as 1445 BC. The most read book in the world till date, the Bible, talks of how the Creator assigned duties to mankind and desire all His creation to exist in harmony. The third book in The Bible, Leviticus chapter 25 verses 3 & 4 states, “Six years you shall sow your field, and six years you shall prune your vineyard, and gather its fruit; but in the seventh year there shall be a Sabbath to the LORD. You shall neither sow your field nor prune your vineyard.”
How amazing it is to know that the land was consecrated holy and allowed to rest on the seventh year, as God did on the seventh day after completing His work of creation. But no doubt, I am sure a thought is disturbing many of you after reading this. What will they eat on the seventh year if they don’t do farming or use the land…WHAT?
I believe it’s not a disregard to what we need but it’s a beautiful example of how God cares of us and hence cares for all that we need or require to survive. By taking care of the land and blessing it, will the circle of existence of all entities in this world be kept intact. Human being failed to understand & comprehend the wisdom that sets the earth and universe in motion.
Continuing with the same book, let us see the answer to our doubts. Leviticus chapter 25 verses 20 to 22 mentions, “And if you say ‘what shall we eat in the seventh year, since we shall not sow nor gather in our produce?’ then I will command my blessing on you in the sixth year, and it will bring forth produce enough for three years. And you shall sow in the eighth year, and eat old produce until the ninth year; until its produce comes in you shall eat of the old harvest.”
How stupid and unreasonable of us to think that we can handle the bigger force and divine mechanism. Our stupidity and lack of wisdom has brought forth many ills we can ever imagine and our negligence towards nature has also hampered a goodwill relation with other fellow beings. Why do you think we boast of creating the atom or nuclear bomb which can destroy the whole earth, and not stop a tsunami that sweeps away our pride? Why do we make five year developmental plans, and not stop the threatening disease like swine flu from touching human lives? Why do we only lament and work to reconstruct a place, and not the earth quake that shook our trust?
Ever wonder and ponder upon our relation with nature! We talk of climate change so often these days but ever wonder what change we really need. I will leave these thoughts with you hoping it will spark your mind and bring some enlightenment.
Earth Rise image courtesy Al Gore via The Climate Project India