It’s Earth Week. I remember when it used to be just Earth day. I also remember when there was no such occasion. It seems society has come a long way in its thinking and attitude toward Mother Earth, or are we going back to our original thinking. It’s seems that from the Industrial Revolution onwards, nature, the earth, our environment have been placed on the end of our priority list and our own personal comforts, ambitions, and goals first. I’m not trying to get into a history debate about the causes and effects of the Industrial Revolution. There have in fact been many many many positives effects of it. I think ideally there should be a balance of both.
Thoughts of Earth Week led me to a passage from the book Welcome Home – Krishna Camp. I felt it very relevant to the cause. Here goes –
…There are many persons who are very aware of the ecology in this day and age. It has become perhaps the number one topic of discussion throughout the world because it is the topic that involves all of us equally. We may have so many theological differences like the Jews and the Christians and the Muslims and the Buddhists and the Jains and the Hindus and the Sikhs and the Zoroastrians. There may be so many different doctrinal approaches to God, but ultimately whether it is theological or political we can somehow or other say, “Well, l have my differences. So l will keep away from you and we can forget it.” But, when it comes to the problems of the ecology, we all share the same condition of life. As Chief Seattle said in his beautiful letter to the president, “lf you pass your refuse in your bed, you have to sleep in it.” The earth is our bed. It always has been, and it always will be as long as we live here. Therefore, the problem of the pollution of the air, the pollution of the waters, the pollution of the environment in so many ways, really is a manifestation of the pollution of the minds of men.
This creation is like a mirror, and it will reflect whatever is the condition of our hearts. If our hearts are full of desire for exploitation, for greed, if we are not finding contentedness in peace with the natural gifts that God has provided, then no matter how many political meetings and no matter how many rallies, ultimately we are going to express this exploitative mentality by destroying the environment around us.
The real solution is that first of all, we have to harmonize with the nature within our own hearts, otherwise, all of our ambitious arrangements are futile. It’s like when you have a disease. You can put a bandage over what appears to be an infection, but as long as the disease is in the blood, the bandage just hides the problem. It does not solve the problem. The solution of the problem must come through a change of heart. We first have to understand nature before we can live in harmony with nature. This is God’s nature. The Lord has created. The Lord has maintained. The Lord provides the air to breathe, the light of the sun and the moon. The Lord provides the fresh, clear, sparkling waters that fall from the sky and fill the lakes and the rivers and streams. Until we understand how to live in harmony with God within our hearts, we are simply part of the problem of this world. To live in harmony with God, the first thing which is required is that we become humble. We have to become humble, understanding the greatness of God and the insignificance of ourselves. We have to become humble in knowing that we are one hundred percent, twenty-four hours a day, depending on the gifts provided by the Lord, and to reciprocate with the Lord with our feelings of love in everything we do, in everything that we think, and in everything we say…
(Radhanath Swami, Lecture at the National Rainbow Gathering, taken from Welcome Home – Chapter 2)