We live in a world where what we imagine exerts a tremendous force on our lives. We imagine and believe in something, unite with that belief , and this belief that seemingly hangs nowhere, actually turns into something as important as the air we breathe and the water we drink.
And of course, one such example that anybody can easily understand is money. Money was brought into our world, by pure imagination. It isn’t supposed to be as crucial as air and soil. But it has become crucial.
And so, we seem to be caught up between two worlds. One that has you grounded, that is, our direct dependency on air, trees, water, fire, etc., and the other ,powerful collectively imagined realities, both of which have come to dictate our survival.
By uniting to such a huge extent, an extent to which we can know what’s happening millions of miles away from where we live, we have also expanded our perception of the world around us.
Imagination, and therefore creativity, is the greatest gift humanity has. But it’s also making us blindly walk away from our roots. All I see is a collective insanity of an idea that’s starting to get ingrained in us, without our knowledge, that we are separate from nature. We are slaughtering nature. It’s as serious as slaughtering animals or people. We are slaughtering entire forests.
The 2011 UN Secretary General’s report, “Harmony with Nature,” states the importance of reconnecting with nature: “Ultimately, environmentally destructive behaviour is the result of a failure to recognize that human beings are an inseparable part of nature and that we cannot damage it without severely damaging ourselves.”
The idea that we are different from nature, and that nature is something we have power over, is an extremely dangerous idea.
In a healthy forest, all life forms live in a certain balance with each other, they live in a biodiversity. The earth is a biodiversity. What is not seen in a healthy forest is one particular species being powerful enough to destroy multiple species it is living with. As humans, we are doing exactly that. We are trying to wield power over everything we come across. We want to harvest money and energy from everything we come across on this planet. We are undoubtedly pretty good at doing it, but what we fail to see, as suggested by our own history as well, is the long term consequences of our action.
I understand the plights of individual human lives. Individual lives are controlled by society itself, and a lot of people do not even have the mental space to reflect on how we as society, or a country are harming nature, in turn causing tremendous harm to ourselves. What I fail to understand however, is that trees, forests being extremely important for our survival is knowledge that is commonplace, they are important for the production of oxygen, they play a role in wind movements and they are the carbon sinks for this planet. Yet, such a wonderful being is not at the least respected. Trees do no harm. They stand still, tall, beautiful, and all they do is give, give shelter, a fruit, and so much more, without asking anything in return.
Biodiversity has a very delicate design of balance between different life forms. The balance among different beings is so well crafted, that life is lived its best for every being that is co-exisitng.
In his essay Tapovan (Forest of Purity), Tagore writes: “Indian civilization has been distinctive in locating its source of regeneration, material and intellectual, in the forest, not the city. India’s best ideas have come where man was in communion with trees and rivers and lakes, away from the crowds. The peace of the forest has helped the intellectual evolution of man. The culture of the forest has fuelled the culture of Indian society. The culture that has arisen from the forest has been influenced by the diverse processes of renewal of life, which are always at play in the forest, varying from species to species, from season to season, in sight and sound and smell. The unifying principle of life in diversity, of democratic pluralism, thus became the principle of Indian civilization.”
I wish for humanity to understand only a few things. We are on a self destructive curve by harming nature. There is no way we can turn ourselves around if we don’t take responsibility and work together from across countries . We must learn to take inspiration from nature around us. Nature has the most magnificent design everywhere you look, and her beings can teach us a lot if we notice them, and respect them.
We have immense power in our unity. All it takes is the right belief , for us to take the right action.
Quoting Dr. Vandana Shiva, an activist, and founder of Navdanya, -
What is Earth Democracy?
It is the freedom for all species to evolve within the web of life, and the freedom and responsibility of humans, as members of the earth family, to recognize, protect, and respect the rights of other species. Earth Democracy is a shift from anthropocentrism to eco-centrism. And since we all depend on the earth, Earth Democracy translates into human rights to food and water, to freedom from hunger and thirst.
It is high time we expand the idea of democracy to not just human society, but to everything on this planet.