Tick tock tick tock… the time is ticking away.
All one has to do is keep a check of the clock in Union Square to get an idea of how long one has before the Earth calls for a time out on humanity. We began as beings who roamed the planet in search of food for survival, and today, we stand on the same grounds, overfed yet gluttonous. The resources we shared as fellow beings at a different point in time are the same resources acting as the bone of contention between regions. We can’t get enough of oil, enough of coal or enough of anything. Nature, however, seems to have had enough of us and today, the clock ticking away in the Union Square is a reminder of the time we have to revive the dying earth to ensure the continued existence of the human world.
Taking the time we have at hand to make a difference and save ourselves from self-destruction, it is imperative that we devise a strategy capable of including the whole of humankind and channelising actions in the same direction. This is where I see the importance of faith coming in. Despite all the differences that exist among believers of different faiths, there are certain ideas that form the core of each of them. Though it is sad to see people waging violence against each other and remaining free of guilt because they believe in a distorted concept of ‘justified atrocities for faith’, I believe that nature has the power to bring them together. Then, they become daughters and sons of the same mother. Despite misinterpretations that have led to interfaith conflicts and bloodshed, if one is made to look into one’s faith, one will always come across teachings that profess respect for fellow human beings, love, harmony, peace and brotherhood, ideas that embellish every faith and makes them beautiful. Using the commonalities that exist throughout beliefs, like the beads in a necklace, they can be strung together under the universal acceptance that preservation of any form of life from destruction is when one achieves the highest form of humanity. And every religion is a result of aspirations to mould humans to live a more humane life.
The Eesavasya Upanishad, one of the holy Hindu scriptures, begin with the sloka “eesaavaasyamidam sarvam/ yath kinchith jagathyaam jagath/ thena thyekthena bunjeethaa/ maa gridhaha kasyaswid dhanam/. which asks humans to view everything in the world as that which is manifested by god. The sloka asks its readers to enjoy the bounties of nature keeping renunciation in mind and forbids greed. Similarly, if one drives one’s eyes through the scriptures of any religion, one will realise how all of them discourage materialism and promote spiritual usage of resources available. None of the faiths professes ruthless exploitation of the gifts of God so that one can live a life drowning in luxury. No church, temple, mosque or monastery says it is alright to cut down forests and fight with each other over resources that were meant for all and not some. Here, planned dissemination of religious education becomes important. More than teaching our children about how important it is to remain true to the faith to which they are born, it is important to see to it that they are taught the right ways of following it. The fact that this is not currently taking place is evident in the statistical data that shows that the world has the majority of its population believing in one faith or the other, yet sees no reduction in materialistic exploitation and inter-faith violence. So what we see here are believers who haven’t been taught the true values embedded in their beliefs. We see believers who haven’t been trained to rightly carry out what their belief system says.
When the world produces more Christians, Muslims, Hindus and Jews and believers of all other equally important faiths, they must understand the fact that their religions ask them to be responsible human beings before anything. This is a value that has to be firmly ingrained in every individual, especially on a religious basis. So, religion becomes that instrument which channelises human potential into achieving environmental stability and ensuring its protection.
Psychology says, having common problems to solve, brings together otherwise opposing communities, and helps solve differences as they understand that the other is not as different and hostile as was assumed. When we exercise faith to make people move towards environmental preservation, we are also giving them a common ground on which they get to work together. So, the environment becomes a mode of establishing peace among faiths.
As the grains of sand keep falling in the hourglass, we must realise that seven years and a half is all that is left to us before we lose our hold over the goings-on in the world. Earth is the home to which we have all been born, and nature is the mother we were fed. Rooms of regions we were given for privacy, and characters of religion we developed with time. But things had changed as we took too much without caring, and all along we believed we were preserving ourselves when the roof of our home had begun to leak, and the walls had begun to crumble. Now, we see the ticking clock, but some still prefer the ignorant sleep. It is time we bring out the real essence of the character we built and begin the renovation before the home finally collapses on us, with a groan putting an end to all the silly fights among us, pushing us to an everlasting sleep filled with nightmares of guilt and conscience prick.
– VISHNUPRIYA S NAIR
Image Source – https://climateclock.world