Some people interpret God as the primordial nature of the cosmos or hold nature as the most vital aspect of God through which He manifests Himself. The cosmos and every thing within it, seen-unseen and living-non living, is made of the elements of this primordial nature. All life forms on earth are nothing but different expressions of nature. The Hindu Vedic seers had gone a long way in explaining the relationship between God and universal nature. They had realized the importance of proper use, protection and growth of nature. They understood that if we don’t take care of nature, nature cannot take care of us for the times to come. The organic life forms on earth like plants, animals, and human beings sustain and multiply under certain conditions. Any climatic and environmental change, whether natural or manmade, is bound to bring disaster to all the life forms on earth. So many hymns were composed by the Vedic saints to highlight this theme and prescribe methods for the protection of nature. Today, climate change and global warming have become global concerns. For example, Yajurveda (Y.V.13.37) mentions about the ill effects of cutting trees and the poisoning of atmosphere. It further discusses energy balance of the global eco-system. It says, “no persons should kill animals helpful to air.” All of us have to address this problem with all the seriousness that it deserves.
Earth is estimated to be 4.6 billion years old. In it’s nascent state, the earth was a fire ball full of volcanos and was incapable of generating and protecting life. Over a long period of time, the earth cooled down because of which a solid crust and a watery surface were created. Gradually, the various elements of nature like the chemicals and gasses favorable to life form were created. Between 3.8 to 4.1 billion years ago, the Earth was a planet with an atmosphere and an ocean. Life forms appeared on Earth 3.8 to 3.5 billion years ago. An evolutionary split known as Human-Chimpanzee divergence occurred about six million years ago. Thereafter, Homo Sapiens species—commonly known as human beings—came into existence 2.3 to 2.4 million years ago. Thus, it can be said that a certain ecological condition or favourable environment created different life forms on earth and sustained it.
There are certain factors that make our planet habitable. They are temperature (life on earth exists within a temperature range of minus 15 degree C to minus 115 degree C), energy (organisms use light and/or chemical energy), water (dissolves and transports chemicals and forms cells), atmosphere (traps heat, shields earth’s surface from harmful radiation and provides chemicals like Nitrogen and Carbon dioxide required to sustain life), and nutrients (essentially required to build and maintain an organic body).
These factors go through natural change. The human society is also responsible for certain adverse changes. Let us discuss about the human induced ecological imbalances that need to be checked. These are over-exploitation of natural resources he eco-system, habitat destruction, inappropriate use of agriculture and forestry, land and marine leading to imbalance in the eco-system, habitat destruction, inappropriate use of agriculture and forestry, land and marine resources, organic and inorganic pollution, urban and industrial discharge, plastics and many more pollutants. Similarly bio-invasion, which is an intentional or unintentional act perpetrated by the human beings to introduce a species that is not native to a certain eco-system is also a matter of concern. It has been calculated that about 7000 species of marine life are transported every day. Finally, climate change is one of the major factors. Climate change on earth is calculated in the geological time scale. It generally means a change in the weather and temperature pattern of the earth. Growth of human population and rapid economic development have increased the emission of green house gases which include Carbon dioxide, Methane and Nitrous Oxide. Such gases cover the lower atmosphere and absorb the long-wave (Infra Red) radiation and do not allow it to escape. They result in the warming of the earth’s surface and the atmosphere.
Presently, the human race is experiencing the adverse effects of global warming and climatic change. For protection, it has to re-condition it’s life style and reduce the exploitation and man-created pollution of nature. Each individual has to be fully aware about the future shape of things to come and contribute their best for maintaining the balance of nature. Human society needs to protect and nourish nature as the trustee of God . One can, therefore, say that service to nature is service to God.
May Shri Sai bless us.
Shri C. B. Satpathy, New Delhi