If there is one thing that constitutes the very heart and soul of the world we live in, the one thing that is the very reason of our existence on this majestically magnificent planet Earth, it is the environment that envelopes us all around, diffusing its wings across the perimeter of the surface, the only medium of our sustenance and yet so inconsequential for most of us. It’s like the very air we breathe, so trivial to consider, yet so imperative for survival.
There is nothing that can parallel itself to the beauty of our mother nature. The emerald carpets that run across the planet and emanate tranquility to the mankind, their utterly picturesque perfection, the way the scorching rays of the sun come hurtling down to the surface and strike those canopies, painting the earth around in green and gold: All speak of serenity that mankind today yearns for and yet continues to plunder.
The environment i.e. the paryavaran, as we call it in Hindi, is like a mother to us. We are born out of it and one day we will, without a doubt, merge into it. The reason we exist here today is that the environment breathes to lets us breathe. The day it stops respiring, we finish our purpose on this planet. Therefore it is of utter importance for us to save the environment.
Alas! Today our beautiful planet is being shredded into pieces by ourselves for our own selfish purposes. We intend to get the maximum out of our existing resources but in turn keep forgetting the fact that this holds sinister consequences that have the potential to lead mankind to the path of destruction. Resource Depletion, Global warming, Air pollution, Sound pollution, Deforestation, Ozone layer depletion, these are words that frequent the newspapers and scientific and academic journals alike. It saddens all of us alike to hear stories of Aral Sea, the Coast of Hawaii, North Pacific Gyre, or closer home, Mumbai’s junk beaches, the filthy Yamuna in Delhi etc. But as the momentary spirit fades away, we are back to preening in front of the mirror while the water keeps flowing off the tap or back to being tempted by the deceptive appearances of those inexpensive plastics!
Mankind is committing a massive genocide in the name of high quality living and modernity and it is time that we make it a point to rid ourselves of this ignorance and resort to healthy environment conservation practices. In this light, let us examine the concept of ecopsychology as reflected in earth-based spirituality
EcoPsychology: Mother Earth
Associating an already positive stimuli i.e. ‘Mother’ with ‘Earth’, conditions our mind to carry a belief system that internalizes care for the environment.
Ecopsychology, the term coined by Theodore Roszak in 1992 in his book The voice of the Earth, connects ecology and psychology to benefit the human psyche by exposure to natural scenic landscapes, embraces with nature that gives the sensations of harmony, balance, timelessness and stability, contends that people feel an escalation of pain and despair in response to nature’s continuing destruction, explores histories of culture embracing nature, and entwines identity with nature. This contemporary approach to ‘cure’ Nature-deficit and lifestyle disorders as well as to ‘conserve’ the nature is echoed since years in religious spirit and action through nature connection.
In keeping with the prophecy of the millennium, we must honor our sacred earth. Earth based spirituality is a spiritual and religious worldview that puts the Earth in the center of the spiritual practice, which if acknowledged far and wide will beyond doubt revolutionize, transform, expand and nuance the meaning of ‘Environment Conservation’.
Protecting nature for religious reasons is an ancient practice in many traditional societies. If we have a look at our glorious past, we will discover that our ancestors understood the meaning and the importance of merging the two entities, spirituality and environment into a single concept of Religion. Religions like Paganism, Budhism, Shintoism and Animism believe in the forces of nature and worship them. In India too, people till date worship the peepal tree, tying threads around its trunk because they deem it to be a sacred form of nature that sustains life. If we look at it in literal terms, we will understand that peepal tree is essentially one of those trees that release the maximum amount of oxygen into the environment! Parcels of uncut forest vegetation in the name of deities’ i.e. sacred groves are a model of community-based resource management, which preserves not only bio-eco-diversity, but also cultural diversity.
Years after, today people are reverting back to the old golden practices, like yoga and meditation, to transcend above the bodily, empirical, socially embedded self and bond with the environment. Earth-based spirituality helps us catch hold of our totality and integrate to coexist with our surroundings.
If we accept this point of view and connect the two entities together, then we can, as a great global family, shield our globe. It is not the economic concern that motivates people to sustain the environment; it is the deep religious reverence for nature in their ‘belief system’ that basis for long-standing commitment. I belong to the Green religion. Do you too?
Let’s Join Hands
Let us, as one, pledge our devotion by bringing the change in ourselves, the changes we wish to see in this world. One planet, one people and one soul together, in integration with environment, for one goal: Save Environment. Let’s join hands, walk together and conserve our mother earth.