There’s so much pollution in the air now that if it weren’t for our lungs there’d be no place to put it all.
One of the first pollutants if I am right would be the sewage waste let into the water resources at the beginning of civilizational settlements. Even today the situation remains the same except that, the sewage is no more biodegradable, for it contains tonnes of other chemical waste also!
Then came the industrial revolution. We burnt thousands of tons of coal polluting the air. Again tonnes of chemical industrial waste started entering the water resources.
Next came the automobiles based on coal and petroleum. Today highest amount of coal is being burnt in China, because China wants to save costs of importing petroleum by burning its own coal! Coal is cheap compared to other resources. But at the same more polluting too. China is now even replacing US as the highest air polluter in terms of CO2.
Even in India as the middle class size is booming due to growing economy, the demand for petroleum is multiplying year by year.
Then we have the nuclear waste which are remnants of nuclear tests, nuclear reactors etc. Where to dump this radioactive material? Where else, deep inside the ground!
Then came the cheap plastics, used in everything , thrown everywhere, these non-biodegradable wastes are lying everywhere on this planet. Even in the polar regions!
So we have polluted air, land, water, every part of the planet that we have access to.
The latest victim of human greed has been the space. Ever since humans started traveling into space in modern times, space has started filling with human created debris. Satellite parts, rocket parts, human waste in space stations, everything is circling around the earth. In other words, today a huge pile of garbage is surrounding the entire earth in space not really that far away from the land! What a great tribute to Mother Earth by humans!
Henry David has said long back, “Thank God men cannot fly, and lay waste the sky as well as the earth.”. Well, it would have been a sad day for him, were he alive today.
So where lies the problem? In Science or technology?
Science is the mere knowledge we have. Technology is its implementation.
Science is divine, technology is man made.
It has been the human greed which has always resisted the mindset to invent technology that would handle the wastes created by the same technology.
Humans have always concentrated their minds on creating technology that would benefit them. But rarely have we concentrated on the technology that would help us manage the waste created by having those benefits.
In fact, the dedication to the creation of waste handling technologies should have been the same as the dedication given to creating the waste generation technology. Unfortunately humans rarely gave a thought to it.
As somebody once said, “The use of solar energy has not been opened up because the oil industry does not own the sun”.
Mahatma Gandhi said, There is a sufficiency in the world for man’s need but not for man’s greed. Its the greed of the humans which has made him concentrate only on how to swallow all the natural resources, and forget about how to compensate for the loss.
So its not that we dont have the required science to do waste management. Its simply we lack the required will to do so.
Countries competing with each other to grow their economies, the already grown countries like US refusing to sign the Kyoto protocol, in the midst of all this where there is time to think about solving pollution?
It is a shame to the humans that today we are calling ourselves a technologically advanced civilization, while the fact of the matter is that we are completely dependent on the dead bodies of our ancestors, fossil fuels like petroleum,coal etc are nothing but the remainings of ancient life on this planet! At the petrol pumps we pay for the remaining s of our ancestors to fuel our vehicles. Newspapers are dead trees with information smeared on them. Good trees are killed to print all the bad news on them. Shame shame humans. If tomorrow some aliens come and find human skin to be the best medium to print news, how would it be :)
Modern Technology, owes to ecology, an unconditional apology.
The latest in the continued assault on nature is the growing trend of shooting down old satellites in space. China did it few months back. Next week, US is planning to shoot down one of its aging spy satellite in space!
So what does it mean? The satellite will be shattered into pieces by a missile strike, and those innumerable pieces would add on to the pile of growing space debris!
Remember the Columbia space shuttle disaster? Why did it happen? One such fast moving old space debris hit the space shuttle damaging its walls. This is what we pay for ignoring the wastes we produce.
Why do we have to shoot down satellites? Cant we fit them with solar guided or other forms of mini rockets so that once the satellite has completed its usability it could be brought down back to earth safely and disposed. Obviously the earth’s gravity would fuel the descent of the satellite, all we need is a bit of extra energy to guide the descent to a safe place and for a smooth landing!
But humans are never bothered about how to handle the waste they generated.
To put it in the terms of software, almost all humans technology frameworks have no garbage collection and destructors in them, and hence most of the planet today is filled with memory leaks called pollution, and as this memory leak increases, one fine day, the application called ‘life’ running on the hardware/software system of this planet will CRASH!
Oh yes, now this IT waste too. Millions of computer monitors, hard disks, CDs, DVDs, mobile phones, chips.. How is this new silicon waste handled? Again simply dumped in any available space.
A native american proverb goes ” We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.”
Can somebody imagine, how the future generations on this planet will be cursing our generations. Probably there will be a law in the future banning the future generations from having the photos of their ancestors at home, or from praising their ancestors.
We should understand that this land, nature all belongs to a vast family of which many are dead, some are living, and countless numbers are still unborn.
In fact I think the students of future generations will have an exclusive lesson with the history of our generation, and the title of that lesson would be ‘How NOT to be a human’ :)
Wake up man, wake up. Concentrate on handling the wastes, else even humans will become a part of this waste later.
There should not be any more environmentalists on this planet, if we really want to save earth. All environmentalists should become earth warriors and say, “I am not an environmentalist, I am an earth warrior”
“We abuse land because we regard it as a commodity belonging to us. When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect” – Aldo Leopold
Which is why I like the ancient Indian vedic culture, which worships nature as God. Which is why devoted hindus dont cut trees, worship the air in the name of Vayu God, water in the name of hundreds of Goddesses, worship the rivers, worship the country as motherland, say “Taru Devo Bhava” in Sanskrit meaning Trees are Gods. Even today if you go to the villages of India one can see that every village has giant banyan trees (these trees give out a lot of oxygen) and other trees, the water resources are worshipped once or twice a year and so on. When the human psychology starts considering natural resources to be holy, naturally they will resist any moves to do any harm to it. The famous chipko movement in India where people resisted the cutting of trees by each person in the village hugging one tree, is exemplary in the world.
Hindus consider Earth to be a goddess too. Any and every form of nature is a God in Hinduism and so is the entire universe itself.
“A living planet is a much more complex metaphor for deity than just a bigger father with a bigger fist. If an omniscient, all-powerful Dad ignores your prayers, it’s taken personally. Hear only silence long enough, and you start wondering about his power. His fairness. His very existence. But if a world mother doesn’t reply, Her excuse is simple. She never claimed conceited omnipotence. She has countless others clinging to her apron strings, including myriad species unable to speak for themselves. To Her elder offspring She says – go raid the fridge. Go play outside. Go get a job. Or, better yet, lend me a hand. I have no time for idle whining.” – David Brin
The world would be a better place when everybody thinks that universe/nature itself is the God, just like the Hindus do. Instead of thinking that God is somebody who stays outside this universe and has created it.
“Christianity, with its roots in Judaism, was a major factor in the development of the Western worldview…. A basic Christian belief was that God gave humans dominion over creation, with the freedom to use the environment as they saw fit. Another important Judeo-Christian belief predicted that God would bring a cataclysmic end to the Earth sometime in the future. One interpretation of this belief is that the Earth is only a temporary way station on the soul’s journey to the afterlife. Because these beliefs tended to devalue the natural world, they fostered attitudes and behaviors that had a negative effect on the environment” – Donald G. Kaufman and Cecilia M. Franz, Biosphere 2000: Protecting Our Global Environment, 1996
“I realized that Eastern thought had somewhat more compassion for all living things. Man was a form of life that in another reincarnation might possibly be a horsefly or a bird of paradise or a deer. So a man of such a faith, looking at animals, might be looking at old friends or ancestors. In the East the wilderness has no evil connotation; it is thought of as an expression of the unity and harmony of the universe” William O. Douglas, Go East, Young Man, 1974
“The victory of Christianity over paganism was the greatest psychic revolution in the history of our culture. By destroying pagan animism, Christianity made it possible to exploit nature in a mood of indifference to the feelings of natural objects” – Lynn I. White, Jr., Science, 10 March 1967
Its disgusting to see hundreds of trees being cut in the urban dwellings to build flyovers, buildings and residential layouts. One day they will definitely fly over we humans. Lakes are being dried up to give way to huge buildings. Devout Hindus believe that closing a water resource, cutting of trees, etc to be inauspicious and that it would invite the curse of water God, tree God etc.
The earth we abuse and the living things we kill will, in the end, take their revenge; for in exploiting their presence we are diminishing our future.
Human race is no more the brain of this planet. It has become a cancer of this planet.
“If all mankind were to disappear, the world would regenerate back to the rich state of equilibrium that existed ten thousand years ago. If insects were to vanish, the environment would collapse into chaos” Edward O. Wilson
Humans build big houses and great buildings, the same way even the birds build beautiful nests. Except that the birds leave the landscape as it was before they built their nests. In other words the birds are technologically much more advanced than humans!
The urban class is today willing to pay more to go and live in cleaner greener places not for what that place has, but for what it doesnt have – Pollution
Today every day has become an Earth day. An activist is no more an isolated person who says that things are dirty and polluted. Every human should become a cleaner of the mess that he and his ancestors have created. Lets not do symbolic cleaning like saying I will give up my car, or for a day we will put off electricity etc. What we need is a permanent practical logical solution. We have the science, we need the sense, and invent the technology which would not challege nature, but would love and look after nature.
Understanding nature is not all about controlling nature, but it really is learning how to live more closer to nature so that it is protected and not disturbed/destroyed by our technologies and life styles.
We shall require a substantially new manner of thinking if mankind is to survive – Albert Einstein
Sewage, chemical waste, plastics etc are biodegradable only that it increases the time of decomposition based on the complexity of the compounds. Only that they pose a very big threat to the very existence of rivers and also affects the health of the people surrounding the environment. The worst pollutants in the world are nuclear wastes bcoz humans have not found a better solution than digging deep underground and storing there, but what if the nuclear wastes leak there and enter our ground water reserves which in turn enter the rivers. Fishes, trees,microorganisms, animals etc all will be affected. These are eaten by microorganisms and something based on parts per million factor comes into play which goes on increasing as it passes higher into the food chain and the last consumers being humans get affected the most as ppm increases several times. We should infact stop using Nuclear plants for energy bcoz it will affect us very badly later on. US puts their Nwastes underground and they are quite close to the ground water, in case there are earthquakes or something else happens there they will really pay for that.
Russia is doing a good job planning to cleanup space debris. Russians are really intelligent people or at least the intelligent ones have a good attitude. People whom I had met really thought deep before taking steps. I don’t want to say others are bad but the way they show them in movies about being so destructive. I don’t believe in that. Similarly showing Indians being stupid, well some are but so is the case with every other country. Several intelligent people just like Gurudev are there :)
Very True, nuclear waste is the most hazardous waste and can impact generations for centuries. Just look at the nuclear catastrophe in Japan, inspite of having such great technology they are still struggling to handle the crisis, radiation has got mixed into sea water, fishing not possible in those coast lines, radiation found in far away cities, in vegetables, milk, fear of radiation rain – there is simply no technology which can save from this catastrophe.
Russians are shown like that in Hollywood movies because of the cold war mindset, and Indians are shown like that because of the Colonial mindset :)