Humanity and Environment:
Before the industrial revolution the Humans shared a harmonious and sweet relationship with the environment, in the ancient Indian times, there were songs and poems about rains, rivers, mountains, and nature in particular – as is evident in Shlokas of the Vedas. As the man started evolving, they used up the same resources of Nature and metamorphosed the human brain into the most powerful computer ever created, but we evolved at the cost of ignoring the needs of Nature and always prioritized ours to such an extent that today we need to pay (in form of taxes) the air and water as the anthropogenic activities polluted all the freebies given to us by our nature.
14 global environmental issues have been shortlisted by a group of environmental scientists along with the cost of their solution, these are categorized as “Human development” allied and “environmental clean-up”.
|Issues||Cost of Solutions ($billion)||Nature|
|Population Control||10.5||Human Development|
|Safe drinking water for all||50.0||Human Development|
|Housing for all||21.0||Human Development|
|Healthcare for all||15.0||Human Development|
|Elimination of hunger and malnutrition||19.0||Human Development|
|Eradication of illiteracy||5.0||Human Development|
|Prevention of deforestation||7.0||Environmental clean-up|
|Control of soil erosion||24.0||Environmental clean-up|
|Waving of foreign debt of developing countries||30.0||Environmental clean-up|
|Efficient use of energy||33.0||Environmental clean-up|
|Generation of non-conventional energy||17.0||Environmental clean-up|
|Control of greenhouse effect||8.0||Environmental clean-up|
|Control of acid rain||8.0||Environmental clean-up|
|Control of ozone hole||5.0||Environmental clean-up|
The scientists also pointed out the fact that the annual world budget for defence is about $1 Trillion ($1000 Billion). They suggested that if 25 percent of this budget is set aside for 20 consecutive years for human development and the environment, then these issues can be resolved – making Earth a better place to live for our future generations. All we need to think about is the budget relocation from nuclear warfare to environmental warfare caused by humanity, we need to think and discuss whether we want to use the figure of $252.5 billion for 20 years for adding minutes to human lives or not.
Balancing the Universe and Environment
Since the beginning of the technology era, humans have tapped into space and have been constantly trying to establish communications with the outside world but so far there has been radio silence. Sure some news and images of spaceships or UFO’s have surfaced in the past, but I regard them as fake because in those times there was no way to determine the authenticity of the news report, news was just news, believed by people without ranting on social media. Sure some theories like the Fermi Paradox and Multiple piles of earth exist but in my personal opinion we are all alone in this Universe.
They key to sustenance is balance in the relationship between man and nature. To have a healthy or ‘couple goals’ kind of relationship, both parties involved should respect each other, trust each other give each other the required space, help each other grow, care for each other – all of this is necessary to maintain a balance. Once this balance is disturbed, it hurts both the parties. In this case, nature did everything for humans but humans did not reciprocate accordingly, leading to a distort in balance to an extent that now we are running out on our future.
As of today, the ecological footprint (how large a land will you require to sustain yourself completely) is 1.5 – that means to sustain ourselves completely humanity requires 50% more than the Earth’s area to sustain, somehow we are surviving by using more than our annual share of the resources. Currently, we use up our resources for June and borrow from the future’s quota to get through the year.
The Kardashev Scale was introduced by Russian astrophysicist Nikolai Kardashev in 1964 that divides civilizations into three categories –
- Type I Civilization: A planetary civilization having access to all the energy of the planet or about 1017 watts.
- Type II Civilization: A stellar civilization capable of harnessing the energy of stars and sun; for example, the concept of the Dyson sphere or about 1027 watts.
- Type III Civilization: A galactic civilization consuming the energy of billions of stars or about 1037 watts.
According to this classification, humanity is at 0.73 (as we get our energy from dead plants) and in few hundred years we will reach the type I civilization. It usually takes 2500 years to transit from one civilization to another. So by the time we reach Type III, we would have used up all the resources and none left to survive, thus causing the extinction of human species.
The milky way galaxy dates back to 13 billion years but at the time of formation it would have been too volatile for any habitation, life started only 1-2 billion years later. Today the Earth is 4 billion years old, so that means there must have been millions of chances for life to exist and any one of them would have reached to Type II or III. We would have noticed them by now, hence maybe life existed before earth, maybe all civilizations in the process of becoming a ‘type’ civilization disrupted the balance and eventually faced an extinction – some at 0, some at 0.7 some at 1.6 and so on. Maybe all of them made the same mistake (lost the balance).
Maintaining a balance is quite tough, as depicted in the following Sakhi (Doha-Literature from India) by Rahim:
“Rahiman Dhaga Prem Ka, Mat Todo Chatkaay
Tute Pe Phir Na Jure, Jure Gaanth Paree Jaaye.”
It means, love/relationship is a sensitive thread – once it breaks, you might be able to tie it back but now there would be a knot in the thread that wouldn’t match the initial smoothness of the thread.
Balance is so hard to restore that according to Sanskrit literature and Hindu epics like Ramayana and Mahabharata, Lord Vishnu had to come down to Earth once in the form of Lord Rama and once in the form of Lord Krishna only to restore the balance of the cosmos. To know more about that, read my article on whales being a potential weapon to fight climate change.
We still have time to be aware of our mistakes, rectify them, and apologise to Nature. I believe humanity has the potential to restore the balance as the condition is still under control but can slip out of our hands anytime. We have what it takes to save Nature while colonising the Moon, Mars and harness energy from the stars.
Remember people together we can and we will Save the Environment.
Sources and References:
- Physics of the Future (Michio Kaku).
- Environmental Studies (R. Rajagopalan).
- Environmental Chemistry (Anil K De)