Life can only come out of life and only life can sustain life. Our environment is our first sheath, followed by physical body, mind, intuitive sheath or subtle environment and the Self.. We have to cater to all the five sheaths. The Earth changes constantly, but what humankind has done with the environment is unfortunate. Earthquakes, tsunami, and all these disasters are a result of this. If we don’t care for the environment and take care of our planet, it will create more and more challenges for us.
Environment consciousness is inbuilt in the human system. Historically, nature (or prakriti) has always been adored in the ancient traditions of the world; mountains, rivers, the sun, the moon, the trees have always been honored. It’s only when we start moving away from nature that we start polluting nature. We need to revive the ancient practice of honoring and conserving nature.
The popular belief is that damage to ecology is an inevitable byproduct of technological progress. But it is not necessarily so; in fact, a sustainable growth is assured only if the ecology is protected. Science and technology should not be regarded as anti-environment; rather, we need to find ways of maintaining harmony in environment while progressing in science and technology. This is the biggest challenge of this century.
Sustainable development is that which keeps in mind the long-term effects and benefits of any program. Ravaging natural resources without a long-term vision will destroy the ecology, which is the very source of life. The purpose of development should be to support and sustain life. With the bigger picture in mind, all development plans will factor in the ecology, sociology and psychology. Then the very process of development becomes a conscious endeavor to preserve the planet and its resources.
Just observe Nature; the five elements of Nature are opposed to each other. Water destroys fire, fire destroys air. Then there are so many species in Nature - the birds, reptiles, mammals; all these different species are hostile towards each other and yet Nature balances them out. We need to learn how Nature digests waste material and produces something more beautiful. Destroying the environment, cutting down trees, dumping toxic waste, using non-recyclable materials is a crime.
Who can stop polluting the earth? Someone who is aware, someone who knows, someone who respects the earth. Respecting the earth needs a big heart, respecting inanimate objects needs a greater heart. Only when one can respect human beings can one respect animals and then material objects. A certain level of awareness, certain level of awakening is essential for this to happen.
It is basically insensitivity that makes a person act callously towards environment. If a person is sensitive, he will nurture environment, thereby eradicating pollution. We need to attend to the human psyche which causes pollution, whether physical or emotional. If compassion and care are kindled within the self, they reflect in the environment, a sense of sacredness follows. People should be encouraged to treat the planet as sacred, to treat trees and rivers as sacred, to treat people as sacred, and to see God in nature and in people. This will foster sensitivity; and a sensitive person can’t but care for nature. The health of our planet is of utmost importance. Earth sustains life and life should sustain the earth.