Discarding Polluted Philosophies of Life And Adopting Healthy Philosophies
"Without a global revolution in the sphere of human consciousness a more human society will not emerge." -Vaclav Havel (Former president of Czechoslovakia)
Root of petroleum crisis, or all other man-made crises for that matter, lies in polluted philosophies of life. Mind is the place of first creation. All crises in this world, including that of resource and environment are the direct outcome of our polluted ideas about life and World. These polluted ideas lead to polluted activities which in turn lead to perplexities of different types.
From Overconsumption To Moderation Doing Away With Material Extravagance And Inefficacies Overconsumption lies at the heart of petroleum crisis. Overpopulation is not a problem, overconsumption is.
Over-consumption is a concept referring to situations where per capita consumption is so high that even in spite of a moderate population density, sustainability is not achieved. For example, the People's Republic of China has an area comparable to that of the United States of America. China's population density is 4.7 times higher than that of the USA, but its per capita energy consumption is nine times lower than that of the USA, so that in spite of its larger population, China uses only half the amount of energy consumed by the USA.
Americans constitute less than 5% of the world's population, but produce 25% of the world’s CO2, consume 25% of world’s resources, including 26% of the world's energy, although having only 3% of the world’s known oil reserves, and generate roughly 30% of world’s waste. America's impact on the environment is at least 250 times greater than a Sub-Saharan African. It was all fine as long as Americans lived that way. But the problem is that the whole World is now trying to follow in their footsteps.
So far, we have only one usable planet. The astronauts are trying to discover if there are any planets out there where we can go and live. This has not produced any results and there is no future hope in this regard either. This leaves us to face the fact that the 6.5 billion of us are dependent on the natural resources that exist here on this planet. Unfortunately, we are using those resources in an unsustainable way.
850 million humans go hungry today out of which 220 million are children. 1 in 5 humans have no access to clean drinking water. By 2050, 85% of all humans will be living in developing countries. One third of the world's visible land is affected by desertification, the degradation of productive but fragile lands which have insufficient rainfall and has been damaged by unsustainable development. During the next 100 years global temperatures will rise by 2 to 6 degrees C, resulting in coastal flooding and an increase in droughts.
More than one century of industrial development, economic growth and intensive exploitation of nature has led us to a world where we can travel cheaply to anywhere in the world, import food, clothes and materials from any country, yet we are slowly destroying the very earth which keeps us alive. Despite increase in automation, we are working harder and neglecting our lives, both internal and external, to fulfil the demands of industry. The brave new world promised to us by technology has not arrived. Instead it has led to an increased gap between rich and poor within most countries and between countries. Cultures once unique and distinct are slowly merging into variations of Western popular culture. Languages and species are dying out.
The outlook is gloomy! We have a very strong responsibility to the future which we will create. If we wish to improve the situation, we will thus have to modify our ways of life and our manner of consuming because all resources crunch is due to overindulgence. The uneven distribution of food is not due to shortages but due unbridled greed. Too much land is being exploited for cash crops, junk foods, exports, tobacco, alcohol. Agribusiness is destroying small farms, food prices are soaring, and soil and forests are disappearing fast.
Only a spiritual paradigm can help us check the imbalance of values in life and achieve real unity and peace in the world.
I Am The Lord Of All I Survey Man Is The Master Of The Universe This misguided thinking also lies at the root of the petroleum crisis. It’s hard for most people to identify this ultimate cause of the crisis, because it happens to be spiritual in nature.
This faulty paradigm of life emboldens mankind to defy nature and its complex laws. Present crisis stems from a crisis in consciousness and a spiritual vision of the universe is the key to bring our planet to a more healthy condition.
The overconsuming, overdeveloped lifestyles and industries of the ‘minority world’ have depended upon the military and economic oppression of labour and ecosystems of the ‘majority world’. For everyone on this planet to 'enjoy' the materialistic lifestyle of the average American or Australian, we would need five to six Earths in order to supply the necessary raw materials, handling of consumer and industrial wastes, and life-sustaining services such as clean air and water.
Now the present crisis of petroleum is precisely stemming from this. Asians are waking up to American dream and there is simply not enough oil to facilitate this. Hence the crunch.
Greed And Affluence Is Progress, Simplicity Is Antiquated
Mahatma Gandhi argued that "the world has enough for everyone's need, but not for everyone's greed." Oil crisis is certainly one of the most terrible offshoots of globalization and rampant consumerism.
This idea has not only finished off oil but also our environment. Forget about oil, its time to worry about water. Take the example of Bangalore, India. It is one of the cities that have been terribly affected by the indiscriminate cutting down of trees and sealing in of lakes in the name of growth and industrialization. Until about ten years ago, Bangalore was known as an air-conditioned city, without any summer practically. But in the past few years, everybody is buying air-conditioners as the temperatures have soared.
In 1961, the city boasted of 262 lakes, considered to be a part of Bangalore’s green belt. Presently only 61 of them are alive while the remaining have made way for concrete structures. Faced with acute water crisis, the city is spending 1800 crore rupees to recycle sewage. What goes out comes right back in!
Not In My Backyard Syndrome (Nimby) Also if we look from another angle, petroleum crisis originates from a degraded self-centered mentality of me and mine. On individual, social and national level, more than ever before, we have become more self-centered. I should be fine and rest of the world can go to hell. President Bush is more concerned about the cough of his dog than the death of a million Iraqis. This phenomenal selfishness, apathy and unconcern is responsible for uneven distribution of resources and irresponsible exploitation of the same.
“The richest billion people in the world have created a form of civilization so acquisitive and profligate that the planet is in danger,” says Alan Durning of the Worldwatch Institute. “The life-style of this top echelon-the car drivers, beef eaters, soda drinkers, and throwaway consumers-constitutes an ecological threat unmatched in severity.”
When you think of the world as a system, you understand that air pollution from North America affects air quality in Asia, and that pesticides sprayed in Argentina could harm fish stocks off the coast of Australia. Therefore every individual, community or nation has to realize that its destiny is inextricately connected to the rest of the world. If we are to float, we will float together, if we were to sink, we will sink together. Nature is one complex system and no nation can isolate itself from it.
We can conclude by saying that simplifying our life style and reducing consumption of petrol is one sure way of tackling oil crisis.
“Society is created by and composed of humans. Society as such is thus influenced and transformed in no small way by how humans comprehend and understand society.”
isavasyam idam sarvam yat kinca jagatyam jagat tena tyaktena bhunjitha ma grdhah kasya svid dhanam Everything animate or inanimate that is within the universe is controlled and owned by the Lord. One should therefore accept only those things necessary for himself, which are set aside as his quota, and one should not accept other things, knowing well to whom they belong. -Sri Isopanisad
The scientists are very much busy that the source of supply is being decreased. Just like petroleum. Petroleum, gas, that is diminishing. Now, whole modern materialistic civilization is depending on the motorcars and aeroplanes, transportation. So if the petroleum supply is stopped, then what will be the condition of the society? Formerly there was no need of going to see a friend thirty miles away, because every friend was within the village. Now, because we have got motorcar, we create friendship with a man who lives fifty miles away. We accept a job fifty miles away. In Hawaii our Gaurasundara was going to attend office fifty miles off. In big, big cities like New York, Calcutta, we have seen people coming to attend their offices from hundred miles off. I have seen... I have seen in England. Many workers or gentlemen, they are coming from Glasgow to London for working, by aeroplane. -Srila Prabhupada (Srimad-Bhagavatam Leture, Los Angeles, September 16, 1972)