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‘ENVIRONMENT’, ‘WE’ AND ‘GOD’…
Jolly Nadukudiyil, S.J.
Today, we live in a world where there is a growing awareness towards the care and protection of the environment. Environment is most often perceived as something other than human beings, as if both human beings and environment have their own distinct existence and extinction. Is that true?
What is environment? How do we understand it? People of various walks of life and academic pursuits try to define and articulate ‘environment’ in the best way suited to them. But I want to reflect about it in my own way after being with and caring for Mother Earth closely for the last 12 years…
My basic premise is that there is only one God, one creation, one cosmos and finally one environment. I understand that the living and nonliving organisms of the creation/universe/cosmos/mother earth is the environment. In other words, environment is the wholesome creation with all its living and nonliving organisms. Every created being belongs to the realm of environment. God, creation, cosmos, universe, mother earth, environment are the synonyms of one existential reality but very often they are spoken of as if having its own separate shade of existence, and the disregard and destruction of our own life begins at this point.
Most people, especially proponents and propagators, of various religions seem to have certain religious doctrinal compulsions they adhere to that the human being is the center of creation and everything else in the world is subservient to it. Further, to make their stand stronger, they teach that other living beings such as birds and animals live on instinct but not on intelligence. So, the outcome of this belief system is that human beings become uncaring for the other living and non living beings/environment seeking self gratification and finally destruction of oneself.
If ‘human centeredness’, ‘primacy of human beings’ is the purpose of the creation of the world and its existence, just think the other way too. Human beings cannot survive without the air, water, food, trees, animals etc but all other living beings grow and flourish without human beings!.. So, who is great? Who is at the center?
Look at, observe and ponder the world around us… We feel a purposeful creation around us.. We experience a harmonious existence of created beings, an existence which is enhancing one another but not dominating and enslaving. Finally, we are led to understand that we are not the superior beings of creation, environment. We are neither superior nor inferior. We are part of one creation. We have no existence without being part of environment. Human beings and environment are intrinsically, existentially and holistically one. If this is true, it is our sacred responsibility to care for all other beings as much as we care for ourselves.
If we agree with the standpoint above, we further realise that the ‘environment’ is an integrated intrinsic extension of ones being… ones well being and ones happiness… There is no duality, and if ever it exists, it is only a mental abstraction. Caring for the environment is caring for ourselves. I am the air, birds, trees, animals, seas, rivers, butterflies, rains, thundering, lightening… I am everything that the creation/environment can hold. When Jesus, the teacher and Lord of all times was asked to name the greatest commandment in the law:
36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’[a] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is similar: ‘Love thy neighbour as yourself.’[b] 40 All the Laws and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” (Mathew 22:36-40.)
We have failed to comprehend the depth and dimension of the teaching of Jesus. Intellectually, we know that God is everywhere – omnipresent but at the gut level we believe and act as if God is confined to a particular place. (God is a ‘super person’..God moves from place to place.) Our ritualistic expressions of faith and worship are witnesses to this. From our faith dimension we know that God has created the world and we are created in the ‘image’ of God. So, if the spirit of God is dwelling everywhere, can we think of a creator without creation?.. We know the creator/God from the creation (environment) but not vice versa. So, if our faith is that God is omnipresent then it follows that the creation/environment is the dwelling place of God. Further it follows that we need to maintain the innocence/sacredness/purity of the creation…So, when Jesus teaches that ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind’, it becomes clear enough that we must love the creation/environment as a custodian but not as an owner.
The key words of the Upanishads “I am Brahman,” and “You are That,” and the teachings of Jesus, ‘Love thy neighbour as yourself’ are the two sides of one coin. We can blossom fully in as long as we take care of the environment/creation because we are the extension of God and (the image of ) God is dwelling within us. We can’t have distinct existence.. Our existence, intrinsically and substantially, depends on creation but not vice versa.
Today the greatest threat to the environment are human beings…In other words, Human beings perceive and act like environment is a distinct entity to try to overpower, dominate and abuse in order to satisfy and gratify human self centeredness. But by doing this, we kill ourselves and that is the world that we live in and are oriented towards.
Today we are living in a world of ‘speed’…We have made airplanes where we can travel faster than sound… We have discovered “God particles”.. The rich have booked their ticket to settle down on Mars… We think we have mastered the God and the universe… We are in a world where countries try to outsmart the other towards the production of supersonic mass destructive weapons under the pretext of protecting their territory and sovereignty. We have been building up industries where we produce tons of chemical manure and pesticide to enhance food crops to feed the world… GMOs (genetically modified organisms) has become the catchword for the development for a prosperous world.
The prime and basic elements which can sustain the life principle of the creation/environment is threatened at an alarming rate today more than ever before. The air is polluted, water is contaminated and food is adulterated and toxic and this is done by none other than human beings. As the days pass by we continue to dig our own grave and set the time bomb.
As the time is ticking for the explosion of the time bomb, political statements are being made by the leaders of various governments of the world community at large towards the care and protection of ecology and environment.. Agents of national and multinational companies, firms and industries producing highly pollutant and toxic products and byproducts make high claims that ‘environment safety is the motto of their business’. But in reality these are the prominent agents in the guise of care takers of mother earth, in assembling the parts of the environmental time bombs to be exploded in the future. Common men and women become the victims at the hands of the heartless politicians and profit and self oriented industrial giants do contribute in their own way towards the degradation and poisoning of Mother Earth. In brief, except for some exceptionally enlightened people, human beings play the role of neglecting the care of the environment and the only difference is the intensity, in this regard, varies.
In this given self threatening situation of human life on this planet, apparent visible signs of awareness towards the care and protection of mother earth is also taking place side by side, but a close watch on this exhibits to a large extent of pseudo care for the environment. Laws are passed and amended by the concerned government, millions of rupees are sanctioned by the government and other grant making agencies, political speeches are made, seminars and workshops are conducted, syllabus for educational institutions are made, paintings are made on the canvas and walls, photos are taken on tree plantations and circulated on print and digital media towards environmental care and protection. But all these initiatives remain mostly in the realm of the understanding that environment is distinct from human beings but the real care for the mother earth should begin and blossom with the in-depth and integrated insight that we are neither superior nor inferior among the created beings in the universe but we are integrally, intrinsically and existentially part of it as an organic wholesome.. LOVING MOTHER EARTH AND HER CREATED BEINGS IS LOVING OURSELVES AND GOD..
Scientists declare trees the state of the art technology in sequestering CO2
Our new partner Makers Do Brasil proudly wear our logo and offsetting their emissions with the Growing Air Foundation.
The prototype fully electric utility vehicle: TAPIR
This is the prototype fully electric utility vehicle, built by Gordon Foat, at the wheel, of Green MotorSport, that we drove during WAVE 2014. The vehicle, named the Tapir, will be used to transport seedlings, water etc in GAF’s first planting project, the HEART PROJECT comprising 98 hectares and 1 million trees!!! P.S. Nope, that’s not me in the passenger seat.
Growing Air Foundation takes part in the People’s Climate March Amsterdam
GAF customized Flyer for the People’s Climate March
Loud n proud at the Peoples Climate March Amsterdam. The need for clean energy has a prominent voice and must be implemented yesterday! Not quite as prominent but equally if not more important is the restoration of rain, boreal and temperate forests. Here there is also a great need for immediate implementation! Why? They are the climate drivers normalizing weather patterns, sequestering CO2, producing oxygen, cooling our planet, protecting water tables, and so much more. (Image taken @ EYE Film Museum 21-9-2014)
Do you wish to help the Heart Project plant 1 million trees on 98 hectares of degraded land in the Atlantic Rains Forest? All you need to do is hit the donate tab and follow the instructions.
Guinness Book of World Records
WAVE 2014 & GAF
This year GAF once again joined the WAVE (world advanced vehicle expedition)(http://www.wavetrophy.com/en/wave-2014/), an electric car rally, organized by Louis Palmer. By taking part I was able to bring forward the idea of the Double Edged Sword Against Climate Change. On the one edge restoration of all forests; rain, boreal and temperate with on the other edge sustainable energy and transportation.
This is the prototype utility buggy we, Gordon Foat of Green MotorSport and I were driving.
The electric engine, drive train and buggy were built by Green MotorSport with the specific idea of using such vehicles on GAF tree planting projects to transport seedlings, water etc. Driving the Tapir , the name that just fit the buggy perfectly, during the WAVE was the big test and this Tapir finished with flying colors.
GAF believes in the Double Edged Sword Against Climate Change: the restoration of our rain forests and sustainable energy and transportation. And so saying we are now planning the HEART PROJECT (see our project(s) page) to plant 98 hectares of degraded forest land in the Atlantic Rain Forest with 1 million trees. In order to transport seedlings, tools, water and people we will be using fully electric utility vehicles designed and built by Green MotorSport. Click on the link and check it out: http://youtu.be/3jSmDZPKyHw
Here is our interview on Passion for the Planet Radio U.K.:
We will be presenting the Tree of the Week very soon. Every tree to be presented in Tree of the Week occurs naturally in the Atlantic Rain Forest and these trees are also the trees GAF will be planting for the upcoming Heart Project!
The Growing Air Foundation now has a local lawyer on board who will be handling all the legalities involved in the HEART PROJECT!!! He is extremely dedicated with a clear focus of what needs to be done and how to do it. We at GAF are absolutely thrilled with his joining us!
GAF is now in the process of gathering all the necessary information for the planting project, the HEART PROJECT in the Atlantic Rain Forest. We will be posting this information as it comes in.
We made it!!! The Growing Air Foundation participated in the longest electric vehicle parade during the Zuri Fascht in Zurich, Switzerland in 2013!!! There were a total of 305 fully electric cars as well as electric motorcycles, twikes, segways and electric bicycles. GAF will be participating in the 2014 WAVE to again bring forward the Double Edged Sword Against Climate Change (DSACC)! On the one edge we hear about sustainable energy and sustainable transportation. On the other edge the replanting and restoration of our rain forests and temperate forests. One without the other is like getting into your electric car and you haven’t got a battery or going for a walk to get fresh air and there are no forests producing the oxygen we need! We need both! If you wish or your company wishes to sponsor GAF in the WAVE go to the donate page. When you make your donation add the text: for WAVE. Your name or the name of your company will be on the car that is being built for use in the GAF planting projects.
On the 20th of January 2014 the students at the Hochschule Luzern (Technical University of Lucerne) presented their research results of various methods for the business plan according to our mutual idea of achieving the projected goal. The students brought forward excellent advise as to how GAF needs to proceed successfully. Those results we will keep under our hats for now and we have been taking the necessary measures according to their findings. Great work and many thanks to the dream team of students!!!
Gordon Foat of Green MotorSport,one of GAF’s partners, and yours truly (Growing Air Foundation) have just had a very successful interview with Chantal Cooke on Passion for the Planet Radio. The broadcast date will soon be posted. Stay tuned! Unfortunately GAF was not informed of the date that the interview would be broadcasted! We are hoping to get a copy to be posted here for your listening pleasure.
GAF together with our partner, Gordon Foat of Green MotorSport will be interviewed on Tongue and Groove Radio (http://www.tongueandgrooveradio.com/) an online radio station, possibly on the 26th of September. Once the time and date are clarified the information will be posted here as well as on FB, Twitter, G+ and LinkedIn.
On the 1st of October we, Gordon and I, will be interviewed on Passion for Planet Radio (http://passionforfreshideas.com/radio-station/) an online radio station in the U.K. to talk about the WAVE rally, the Double Edged Sword Against Climate Change and what you can do to help. As soon as I know when the interview will be broadcast I shall post it here as well as on FB, Twitter, G+ and LinkedIn.
Growing Air Foundation and Louis Palmer, our partner, have begun preparations for a large forest restoration project. We have enlisted the help of a group of students from the Hochschule Luzern (Technical University of Lucerne) who will be researching various methods for the business plan according to our mutual idea of achieving the projected goal. There is more in the pipeline and as we reach each point along the way we will update you.
Gordon Foat of Green MotorSport, our partner, is in the process of designing and building a prototype electric vehicle/buggy for GAFs planting project(s) which will include a means to transport seedlings, water, workers/volunteers as well as transportation of visitors coming to learn about the rain forest. I will be going to the U.K. to see how work is going on the prototype on the 25th of September. We, at GAF, are very excited about the ev buggy and putting it and many more to use.
Louis Palmer of WAVE and Gordon Foat of Green MotorSport are now partners with the Growing Air Foundation. Check them out on GAFs Partners page here: https://growingairfoundation.org/?page_id=294
Last year, 2012, Louis Palmer of the WAVE (world advanced vehicle expedition) asked me to join the 2013 WAVE electric car rally. I decided the best way to take part would be for GAF and WAVE to join forces to bring forward the idea of the Double Edged Sword Against Climate Change (DESACC). The WAVE represented sustainable means of transportation and energy while GAF the restoration of our rain forests and temperate forests. To fight climate change with only one tool, sustainable energy wouldn’t be enough. It would be like going to battle in a tank without any ammunition! Both sustainable energy and restoration of forests was the way to go. In this way a partnership was formed as well as with Gordon Foat of Green MotorSport with whom I would be driving. Together we were the Dutch/British team. The WAVE would also be the perfect vehicle, literally and figuratively, to promote the Growing Air Foundation.
The WAVE took place beginning on the 27th of June and ended on the 7th of July. We traveled with a total of 40 teams and 3 support teams through the Austrian and Swiss Alps ending up in Zurich for the Zuri Fest. All in all it was a wonderful experience with wonderful people, excellent contacts and the best ever team mate! You can read our WAVE blog here, just scroll to the bottom to start at the beginning: http://gordonfoat.blogspot.nl/