We need a second planet by 2030!


A Vedic Hymn to the Goddess Earth

                                                                                                                                                                             Atharva-Veda, XII,I

 Truth, greatness, universal order (rita), strength, consecration,creative fervour (tapas), spiritual exaltation (Brahman),the sacrifice, support the earth. May this earth, the mistress of that which was and shall be, prepare for us a broad domain!

 The earth that has heights, and slopes, and great plains, that supports the plants of manifold virtue, free from the pressure that comes from the midst of men, she shall spread out for us, and fit herself for us!

 The earth upon which the sea, and the rivers and the waters, upon which food and the tribes of men have arisen, upon which this breathing, moving life exists, shall afford us precedence ……….

                                                                               

The independent think tank,Global Footprint Network (GFN), insists that humanity is operating on an overdraft, having surpassed nature’s budget. According to its calculations,mankind would need a second planet to satisfy its hunger and dispose of the waste, as early as 2030.

I time travel back fifteen years to that weekend show of “Independence Day”, of that opening panorama of the low flying alien ship blotting the sun out, a technologically empowered species waiting to unleash, invade and take over our world and its resources. Are we also destined to venture out of our earth cradle on a similar mission?

As we welcome the seven billionth newborn into our midst this week, as our planet strains to host this level of humanity,many of us are left wondering whether doomsday predictions may yet come to haunt us. When Thomas Malthus forecast in the eighteenth century that our propensity to reproduce would outstrip our ability to sustain food and other resources,could it be that he was right after all and simply a few centuries ahead of the curve? While we might be able to stabilise the world population sometime in the  future, would the strain not become unbearable in the poverty stricken regions of Asia and Africa which face the fastest population growth?

Some of the red flags are already up. As Mathias Wackernagel of GFN says, “From food prices to the crippling effects of climate change, our economies are now confronting the reality of years of spending beyond our means”. Many may see this to be uncalled for scare-mongering and would repose faith in technology and Man’s creativity to provide the necessary scallop. Similar to the way Industrial and Green revolutions proved the Malthusian doomsayers wrong in the last two centuries.

But as I reflect on all of this,I wonder whether we are not missing the woods for the trees. Is this devouring of the planet’s bounty, from forests, fisheries, fresh water to minerals and oil,due to the population getting added?  Or is it more due to the ravenous greed of the existing one?

Is the “flattening of the world” as Thomas Friedman aptly puts it, bringing those additional billions of the developing world onto that level playing field? And what happens when these billions start aspiring for the materialism of the west, for that “great American dream”? Kamla Chowdhury, Professor, IIM Ahmedabad, in her Earth Charter theme provides an answer, “We live in a world which has an obsessive preoccupation with growth and unlimited confidence in new developments. We have pursued the philosophy of cancer which grows and expands on its host, eventually killing it. We are behaving like the cancer cell, killing earth by using it ruthlessly and unsustainably.”

So what is the way forward? To heal the earth, I believe we need to heal the individual. The post industrial era ushered in a societal belief of the supremacy of Science and Technology and these became the only approach to knowledge and power. In the process we have become rewired towards greed, aggrandizement and become spiritually contaminated.Methinks we need to regain the moral and ethical values to take a holistic view.

  • Perspective shift towards technologies and innovation with a human face.
  • Societal values and Economics that would cooperate with our world and its ecology rather than exploiting it.
  • Spiritual positivity and sustainability in our thinking and actions.

Can we empower ourselves to adopt a new paradigm for development based on the above values? That surely would be the biggest turning point in human history.

“The world has enough to fulfill all our needs but not our greed.”

Mahatma Gandhi

In Learning………………                                                                                                                                                  Shakti Ghosal

Acknowledgements:

  1. Global footprint Network : http://www.footprintnetwork.org/
  2. The World is flat A brief history of the  twenty-first century : Thomas L. Friedman
  3. The Earth Charter: Kamla Chowdhry.
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11 thoughts on “We need a second planet by 2030!

  1. Nice post. I study something more challenging on completely different blogs everyday.
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  2. Pingback: Where do we go from here? | ESGEE musings

  3. “..We have pursued the philosophy of cancer which grows and expands on its host, eventually killing it..” These words shocked me because in all their simplicity, they are not just powerful but so true too.

    I am washed over with a feeling of liberation as I hear both Bela and you echo the belief that I am desperately clinging on to despite people trying to yank me off it; ‘healing begins from the individual’.

    • Hi,

      Thank you for your visit and your kind acknowledgement.To really see what we are doing to our planet, one needs to visit the cities of the developing world and notice what this world is doing in its frenzy to catch up with its developed counterpart. The world seems to have got hooked on the drug, Speed. The difference is that the the effect of this stimulant does not seem to be wearing off, only getting enhanced in all its frenzy, over time. We seem to have forgotten that this is the only planet we have and there is no getting off! Also one of the reasons why the quoted comment about “… pursuing the philosophy of cancer….” comes from an Indian.

      But I carry a lot of hope. And one of the reasons is folks like Bela and you carrying the needed consciousness.

      Cheers

      Shakti

  4. This is a brilliant post, thanks for sharing! In fact I’m putting you on my blogroll – what I’ve read so far on your blog is most insightful and bears sharing.
    “To heal the earth, I believe we need to heal the individual.” To me, there is no other way. The masses will do what the masses will do – but each pinpoint in the cluster has a mind and consciousness. And though hand to hand seems a slow way to go – it’s amazing what exponential energy accomplishes when it comes to thoughts (Hundredth Monkey, anybody?).
    Also wanted to mention the film Idiocracy – if you’ve not seen it, it’s humorous in making a point about population escalation.
    So happy we found one another, Shakti. Blessings to you for taking the time to share in the ways that you do.

    • Hi Bela,

      The honour is mine to have found someone with the kind of incisive and expanded perspective which you possess.I am indeed blessed! Exponential, synergistic energy and consciousness, Wow ! Would we see it in our lifetime? I believe we can if we hold the accountability to heal and re-wire our own selves. I believe in this postivity. I believe we can and we will. We have come too far on the evolution ladder to lose out.

      No, unfortunately I have not seen idiocracy but shal look it up now.

      Cheers and have a great weekend!

      Shakti

  5. Wonderful Shakti-da.We all know it, yet we all do it;everyday. Hope we soon find the courage to swim against the tide. Thought provoking indeed, keep it flowing!

    • Dear Arunabh,

      Thank you for your encouragement. Words like yours would indeed surely keep up the flow!

      I believe we need to improve our own self awareness. This would give us the conviction to do what we believe in.

      All the best and keep in touch.

      Shakti Ghosal

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