Category Archives: Environment

The Poles Shift Their Respective Positions

P.R. Sarkar
(May 31st, 1986, Kolkata) – The subject of today's discourse is, "The Poles Shift their Respective Positions." Cardinal human principles are almost unchangeable. I say almost unchangeable because they always maintain a tactual relationship with the cosmological order and so the cardinal human principles or cardinal points of human existence do not undergo any change or physical metamorphosis. But this is not the case with the physical body.

In the realm of physicality, in the arena of physical emanations, such a change may take place, and in the past took place several times in the history of this planet Earth, and also in the history of so many other planets, stars, satellites, nebula, etc. In the physical sphere change is the order of existence. In the psychic sphere, there is change in the collective structure, but because that change maintains a link with the cosmological order, with cosmic conation, it is not so prominent as that of the physical sphere.


Between pole shifts the magnetic field is bipolar stable (left),
while during and around pole shifts it is multipolar unstable (right)

Take the case of our poles: The poles may shift their positions. In the past, such a shifting took place several times — in the annals of this planet and also in the history of so many other planets. As a result of this shifting, as a result of this changing, the people say that satellites moved in and out of this earth when its outer crust, its lithospherical body, was not so solid as it is now. And some are of the opinion that as a result of this emergence of the Earth's lithospherical body, the Pacific Ocean was created. According to old astronomy and also astrology, Mars also came out of this Earth, but it did not move around the Earth as its satellite. And that is why a name for Mars is Kuja: Shani raja Kuja mantrii (Saturn is the king, Mars is the minister). Ku means earth and Kuja means born out of ku. So in the physical sphere such a change took place in the past and will take place in the future.

The poles shift their positions. Now as a result of this shifting in the past, so many times, the time taken by the Earth in moving around itself varies, and also the time taken by the Earth in the moving around the sun — that is, its year — also changed. Day and night together were not of 24 hours, and the year was not of 365/366 days. So as a result of this change in polar positions, seasonal order also changed and its relationship with Mars varied so many times. And the order of our calendar, the system of our calendar had to be changed in the past. If the poles change their positions, the time taken by the Earth to move around itself will certainly be either lessened or increased. And similarly the time taken by the Earth in moving around the sun will either increase or decrease. That is why sometimes we see the seasonal orders are not maintaining proper adjustment with the months: this shows that the shifting is taking place fast. Now as result of this change, not only the adjustment between the months and the seasons will be lost, but the environmental order as well as the ecological order of the Earth will be disrupted. And as a result of this disruption, there must be physical and biological changes in the structures of all living bodies, all living creatures, including plants. The plants of Tertiary Age could not be found in the Craterian Age. The plants and animals of the Craterion Age could not be found in later ages, such as the Pliocene, Miocene, Obligocene, Mesazoic and Caenazoic Ages, because their existence, their births and deaths also depend on ecological balance. And as a result of the change in position of the poles, some people say that in the eastern hemisphere, the north pole is moving from north to south and in the western hemisphere, the south pole moves from south to north, and it cannot be assured that their relative distance will remain unchanged. So we should be prepared for the future; we should be prepared for the resultant of these changes in polar positions, in environmental order and also in ecological structure.

As a result of this change the magnetic structure of this Earth will change, as a result of which other planets and satellites of the solar system will also undergo certain remarkable metamorphosis. And if the magnetic order is disrupted, then certain remarkable changes, certain remarkable metamorphoses in the electromagnetic vibrations of this Earth and also of the entire solar system, will occur. As a result of this type of change in the electromagnetic vibrations, human thought waves will certainly be affected.

Our progress in the arena of science depends much on the progress of our knowledge in electromagnetic waves, electromagnetic emanations. So our progress in the fields of both humanities and science will suffer much, will be much assailed as the result of this change. We should be prepared for such change, and that change may take place in the very near future.

You know, human existence is not only an existence of physicality, an existence in physical structure, it is a mesh of vibrations of so many wavelengths. So if the physical waves change, if the climatic conditions undergo a certain gigantic metamorphosis, certainly the emanations and perceptions of nerve cells and nerve fibres will be changed, and disrupted. It may be for the good, it may be for the bad, but change is a must. In the case of such a change in the physical order and also in the physico-psychic order, the change is sure to take place in the realm of spirituality. We hope that the movement — that is, the movement of humanity, and of each and every living being — is from matter to consciousness, from extroversion to introversion. So the thought waves of human beings will be more of a spiritual nature than they are at present. That is, humanity in that developed condition will be more spiritual-minded than it is at present.

The Cosmic Entity, the Supreme Cognitive Faculty, never stops His emanations in the physical, metaphysical, supraphysical and spiritual strata. In the case of microcosm, if the change is neurological as a result of physical change, then certainly the cells and then nerve fibres will function some other way than at present. Then the thought waves of the Great, the thought waves of the Supreme Cognitive Faculty, are sure to undergo some transmutation when they pass through unit human structures. And it is expected that under such circumstances the progress of human beings in the realm of introversion will be more accelerated than it is at present. If the poles in a particular small planet, like the Earth, shift their respective positions, it may be beneficial to human beings or it may not be beneficial to human beings, but it is certain that the thought waves of the Supreme will do their own duty under the changed circumstances. Humanity will be more meditative and will accept  the Cosmic Cognitive Faculty, Parama Purusa, as its object of ideation in a better and more scientific way. One must not think that anything is fixed or stationary in this universe. Everybody moves — certainly the poles move — and they have already started their function of shifting their respective positions. And you see as a result of such a change, especially if the change takes place very fast, then another ice-age may occur here on this Earth. Between the pre-condition and post-condition of the ice-age there may be a long gap — that is, the pre-age and the post-age will have a long gap between them. But we have much expectation and hope from human intellect; and we hope, if a catastrophe comes, the human intellect will be able to overcome such a catastrophe and arrange for shifting the population to some other planet having suitable environmental conditions and a better ecological order. Let humanity rise, and let this development of humanity be more and more spiritually-oriented!

From: A Few Problems Solved Part 7

Copyright Ananda Marga Publications 2011

The Coming Ice Age

P.R. Sarkar
History moves in rhythmic waves – in a systaltic flow. It moves and moves, then there is a galloping jump. Again it moves and moves again, then there is another galloping jump, and so on. All of a sudden there are galloping jumps – epoch-making eras. We are now at the threshold of this jump. We are not only at the threshold, we have just crossed the threshold of a new era. We are now at the threshold of something new – of the new age – and we are now passing through such an age. Do you realize it? We are no more at the threshold. You should be ready for great changes, otherwise balance will be lost.

In the process of movement, there cannot be steady movement. There must be acceleration – either constant acceleration or accelerated acceleration – or retardation – either constant retardation or retarding retardation. Along with this acceleration or retardation, there is a galloping jump. Before and after this jump, there is biological change, historical change, agricultural change and human psychic change.

In the history of the world, there have been two significant Ice Ages from the point of view of the development of life. Before the first of these Ice Ages there were hardly any developed animals, only undeveloped animals. There was snow and ice. After the first Ice Age there were big advances and so many ages. Animals became gigantic. After the second significant Ice Age gigantic animals disappeared – smaller animals came. The Paleocene, Eocene, Oligocene and Miocene Ages came.

We know another Ice Age is coming on the earth. It will bring an entire change in the structural side of the earth. Before the coming Ice Age there will be intellectual change and great biological change in human beings and animals – in every entity, animate and inanimate. You will find changes in the seasonal order, in the psychic arena, in the socio-economico-political and cultural spheres, in biological structure. All are undergoing metamorphosis. The poles have also started shifting. Are you ready?

After the coming Ice Age, there will be changes in tropical regions and huge biological changes – a special order shall be created. Do you feel that the seasonal order is changing and has been disturbed? The North Pole is moving closer to the tropical regions and the South Pole is coming closer to the western hemisphere on the opposite side of the tropical area. If in the eastern hemisphere the North Pole moves from north to south and in the western hemisphere the South Pole moves from south to north, what will be the effect in the earth’s hydro sphere? The polar ice will melt and the ocean levels will rise. It will have its impact on the tidal waves throughout the globe. The Pacific Ocean will become colder and then frozen. Many of the existing ports will close. The seasonal patterns will change. Rainfall and climatic variation will have an impact on flora and fauna. All these things together will have their impact on thinking processes. The number of days in a solar year has already changed from 365 to 366, but the lunar year is unchanged at 354 to 355.

As an intellectual person you should be ready for such an eventuality, for such gigantic changes. The previous time for storms in Calcutta was 6 to 9 in the evening. Now it is only 4:15 p.m. and a storm is raging. The season is changing – big climatic changes are taking place.

Once upon a time the downtrodden people of the world were under the impression that communism was the panacea for their problems. But after the communist leaders went against humanity, rationality and human psychology, and disturbed the very base of human civilization, the masses are now challenging their leaders for killing millions of innocent people. A vacuum has been created by their downfall. This vacuum should be filled by your intellect and ideology – by you boys and girls and by our PROUT. All this will be accomplished in the very near future. This brooks no delay. There is no alternative.

Why is Marxism undergoing change? In all the areas of life metamorphosis must occur. Metamorphosis is taking place not only in the realm of physicality but also in the realm of psychic structure. Changes are fast coming in the psychic arena and in all the realms of human expression. They are not only coming, they have just come. We have crossed the threshold of a new era. In the Palaeozoic Age there was no rainfall – no rain water. It was gaseous with no plants, no Sarkar Samaj, no Royalseema Samaj, no Andhra. Later a portion of Andhra and small animals came, but even then there was no coastal area and no Vishakapatnam, but Medak was there. Subsequently, there was huge rainfall. The hills were snow covered and the rivers were ice fed. The Godavari, Krsna and Kaveri rivers were ice fed. Rivers were a perennial source of water, but there were no humans. This is a glimpse of the archaeological history of Andhra Pradesh. Many big animals came – dinosaurs, brontosauruses etc. Then the Oligocene and Miocene Ages came. Then after that in the later portion of the Pliocene Age the forebears of human beings came. Human beings were first born about a million years ago. After about a million years there will be no human beings on this planet and future generations will see only the fossilized skeletons of the present generations.

Everything in this world is changing through mutation and transmutation. Mutations and transmutations take place not only in the physical but also in the psychic sphere of living beings, and also in the dormant psychic sphere of non-living objects awaiting awakening. Animate and inanimate objects are awaiting expression. In the psychic sphere gigantic changes took place after the first Ice Age. Big animals came up. After the second Ice Age there was another big change and no big animals. There were small animals. Mammoths became elephants. This age is not the age of big animals and small countries, because it is difficult to supply them with pabula. It is difficult for small countries to maintain their integrity. After the second Ice Age mammoths passed away and elephants came. The Krsna, Kaveri and Tungabhadra rivers are now part of peninsula India, but they were a portion of Gondwana land about 300 million years ago. Human beings came about one million years ago. These are examples of mutations and transmutations.

In this present age communism has disappeared leaving room for higher thoughts and higher psychic attainments. This is a natural change, not a catastrophe. Other philosophies are also sure to be vanquished. Years ago, when I was walking by the Berlin wall and said that communism must go, it was a dream, but now that dream has been transformed into crude reality. This is a natural change, not a catastrophe. Be ready for the coming changes; be prepared for them. They are something natural. They are not an unprecedented calamity or catastrophe, or a great adversity.

24 March 1990, Calcutta

Published in: PROUT in a Nutshell Volume 4, Part 17

Copyright Ananda Marga Publications 2011. All rights reserved. Published with permission

Biodiversity – Underprotected or Overprotected?

Garda Ghista
According to economics professor David N. Laband,[1] biodiversity is overprotected. He says that the public demands excessive protection of biodiversity only because most of those people do not have to pay for its preservation. It is the landowners who are made to pay for protecting biodiversity. Urban residents want aesthetic landscapes, biodiversity and animal habitats but they do not want to pay for it. They pressure Congress to pass laws compelling landowners to bear the financial brunt of maintaining ecological amenities. Landowners who bear almost the entire cost of protecting biodiversity solve the problem by having their land use changed from timber production to commercial or real estate development. In this scenario, if a landowner finds an endangered species on his property, it will be easier for him to simply shoot it and keep mum. It is a clear indication that our environmental laws need to be changed, so that all citizens share the cost protecting biodiversity.

In fact, urban residents who demand preservation of biodiversity in most cases do not put this into practice on their own properties. Instead of allowing natural flora and fauna to grow wild around their homes, they spend thousands of dollars purchasing synthetic fertilizers and pesticides to create an aesthetic, ecological desert around their homes. They support biodiversity in rural areas only so long as the cost burden falls on rural landowners and not themselves. Rather timberland owners should be provided financial incentives by the government to preserve ecological diversity on their properties.

In the timber industry, owners look for ways to harvest larger and larger amounts of timber on a smaller total acreage. However, these intensively managed forests, called plantation forests, are controlled, operated and regenerated by men and are treated with herbicides and pesticides along with occasional thinning and fire management. It has brought about substantial changes in diversity in these man-controlled plantation forests.

Underprotection of Biodiversity

On May 14, 1964, in the cloud forests of Monteverde, Costa Rica, biologist Jay Savage discovered the beautiful, pristine, golden toad. He named it Bufo periglenes, or “brilliant toad.” Dr. Savage did not know that the ecosystem of Monteverde was about to be transformed, that due to global warming caused by human beings, the moisture-bearing clouds that provided ideal shelter for the golden toad were going to rise up the mountain, leaving the toad unable to survive in the new, dryer climate. Dr. Savage did not realize that a mere 25 years later the golden toad would be gone from the face of the earth. [2] Its extinction is irreversible.

Biodiversity is crucial to human survival, and far greater efforts must get underway to preserve biodiversity.[3] When we lose particular species, when they become extinct, it affects the entire ecosystem. In addition, potential drugs that could cure modern diseases are lost forever. For this very reason, if human beings do not take care of all other life forms on our planet, it is the people themselves who will incur the greatest suffering as a consequence. While extinction of species is a normal process in nature, and while 99.9 percent of all species that once lived are now extinct, that process of extinction is a gradual one and therefore does not cause harm to those left behind. If extinction occurs in a natural gradual manner, there will be new species to replace the old through allopatric or sympatric speciation.[4] Disease, new predators, climate change, habitat loss and other factors cause the normal extinction of plant and animal life. However, what is happening today is something entirely different. Today it is the calculated actions of a few human beings – greedy capitalists for whom money is the summum bonum of life – that are causing havoc to our environment.

The unusually rapid destruction of biological diversity led the United States in 1973 to create the Endangered Species Act, expressly to protect those species that were in danger of extinction. The act banned construction projects in areas that would put particular species in danger of extinction. An example would be the halting of construction of the Tellico Dam on the Little Tennessee River in Tennessee, only because it threatened the survival of the little snail darter fish. Logging in the Northwest was halted in certain areas as it threatened to render the spotted owl extinct.[5]

Those who support protection of each and every species say that when one species goes, others interlinked with that species will also vanish. As of November 2000, the number of threatened species numbered 1,244.

International law likewise supports protection of biodiversity, as covered by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). This agreement banned trade in elephant ivory (to stop the rampant slaughter of elephants), rhinoceros horns, and banned trade in more than 5,000 other species of animals and 25,000 species of plants. Examples are primates, whales, dolphins, porpoises, sea turtles, parrots, corals, cacti and orchids. Hence at both the national and international level, citizens have met and passed laws banning construction and trade that threatens the loss of biodiversity on earth.

Another example on the part of environmentalists would be their movement to tear down dams[6] that block the path of migratory fish, such as salmon and shad. Still another example would be how urbanization and agricultural development have permanently altered the everglades of Florida by way of straightened rivers, diverted water and land drained and now used as farmland. These actions have resulted in lowering the water table, increasing the danger of fires, resulting in a greatly decreased bird population and a marked decline in the Florida panther. At present moves are underway to undo some of the damage caused by so-called development of the everglades. In 2000 Congress approved $8 billion for a 30 year project to restore the everglades to their earlier pristine condition.

Vandana Shiva, in speaking of bioterrorism and biosafety, points out that the real bioterrorism is when IMF, WB and WTO try to legislate their super control of local biodiversity in places like India. It is when they compel countries to implement structural adjustment and single cash crops that lead to real devastation and destruction of biodiversity. Shiva gives two primary causes for the global, large-scale destruction of biodiversity. The first cause is habitat destruction due to internationally financed mega-projects such as huge dams and highways as well as mining operations in biologically rich tropical forests. The second cause is the technological and economic push to “replace diversity with homogeneity in forestry, agriculture, fisheries and animal husbandry. The Green Revolution in agriculture, the White Revolution in dairying and the Blue Revolution in fisheries are based on the deliberate replacement of [biodiversity with bio-uniformity.]”[7] These two global trends led by mega-corporations and mega-organizations, appears nearly unstoppable.

The citizens’ movement for biosafety, including the imperative to study and regulate genetically modified seeds and plants into the environment, led to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity in February, 2000, where delegates created a Protocol on Biosafety.[8] In 2004, however, the US in particular has witnessed 300 major rollbacks of US environmental laws by the Bush administration, which is already having egregious effects on the air, water, public lands and wildlife. For example, in his unabashed support of factory farm corporate owners, millions of tons of untreated fecal and toxic wastes are strewed onto public lands and into public water. This corporate pollution has thrown thousands of family farmers and fishermen out of work, killed billions of fish, caused undiagnosed illnesses among consumers and meted out unbounded cruelties to the animals living in those factories.[9]

According to E.O. Wilson, while actions of human beings can be reversed, once a species of plant or animal is extinct, there is no reversal. It is gone forever. Human beings can drastically reduce their pollution of the atmosphere, soil and water, control ozone depletion and global warming. However, Wilson predicts the loss of 20 percent of the earth’s species over the next 30 years. As he points out, “… each species is a masterpiece of evolution and … has been evolving into its present state for thousands to millions of years….To wipe out species at the rate we are now … [means] to increase the extinction rate by between a hundred and a thousand times.”[10]

A stunning example demonstrating the critical essentiality of maintaining all biodiversity was the discovery of Calophyllum lanigerum inside a small tree in Sarawak, Borneo. This substance was discovered to successfully combat the AIDS virus by stopping the disease in its tracks. When biologists returned to Borneo to collect more samples, the tree was gone. It took days of searching before they found another tree of the same species. It was a rare tree bordering on extinction.

Wilson blames the destruction of natural resources on people’s drive for unlimited consumption, fueled by the capitalist dictate that consumption is the highest value. He further points out that while in the US 12 acres are required to support food production for one person, in third world countries it is one acre. However, third world countries are today keen to become second and first world countries. Where are the natural resources to support this endeavor of increasing their ecological footprint? Wilson says we need to make immediate efforts to preserve the ecological hot spots of the world – those places housing huge numbers of plants and animals that are found nowhere else on earth. Examples would be Hawaii, Madagascar, Ecuador, Brazil, the western ghats of India, the Himalayas and even coral reefs. The 1992 Earth Summit Convention on Biological Diversity possibly slowed down the destruction somewhat[11], but powerful capitalists are relentless in their drive for profit and indifferent to loss of biodiversity.

Another reason why biodiversity fails to be properly protected is because laws are passed at the national level (what to speak of the international level by bodies such as the World Bank, International Monetary Fund and World Trade Organization). The protection of biodiversity must be done at the local level, with laws passed by the local people and the burden shared by those local people. In other words, we need localization, not centralization, of laws in place for protecting biodiversity.

Biodiversity must be maintained because the flora and fauna and animals may hold cures for diseases such as AIDS, Alzheimer’s and arthritis. However, suppose plants contained no cures, suppose these flora and fauna had no practical use for human beings. What should be our attitude then towards their preservation? The neo-humanist ecologist, Prabhat Ranjan Sarkar, says two things: (1) human beings have neglected ecology at every step. It is disastrous for the simple reason that all of creation – the rivers, mountains, the air and water, wild animals, reptiles, birds and fish, and plants are all inseparably intertwined into one common society. If one part of that society is extinguished, the other parts will not be able to survive.[12] Hence the greatest folly of human beings is to destroy the biodiversity that is everywhere around them. (2) Neo-humanist philosophy says that all created beings have value. If a life force has no utilitarian value it nevertheless has existential value. It has the right to exist. It is called love for all created beings of the universe.[13] For these two reasons alone, it is inconceivable to continue to allow the wanton destruction of biological diversity around the world.

Notes

[1] David N. Laband, “Regulating Biodiversity: Tragedy in the Political Commons,” in Ideas on Liberty, September 2001.

[2] Scott Brennan & Jay Withgott, Environment: The Science Behind the Stories, San Francisco, Pearson Education, Inc. 2005, p. 128.

[3] E.O. Wilson, “Why Biodiversity Matters,” interview with Kris Christen, OECD Observer, Summer 2001.

[4] Scott Brennan & Jay Withgott, Environment: The Science Behind the Stories, San Francisco, Pearson Education, Inc. 2005, p. 123-125.

[5] According to Northern Kentucky University Biology Professor Charles Acosta, both of these projects have proceeded and the species exempted from the ESA provisions because of the “greater good” of the projects. These are probably the worst examples of the impact of the ESA in modern times, says Acosta.

[6] This and other actions by environmentalists have not been effective at all.

[7] Vandana Shiva, Monocultures of the Mind: Perspectives in Biodiversity and Biotechnology, London: Zed Books, 1997, p. 68.

[8] Vandana Shiva, “Bioterror and Biosafety,” p. 75.

[9] Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., Crimes Against Nature, New York, HarperCollins Publishers, 2004, p. 3,7.

[10] E.O. Wilson, “Why Biodiversity Matters,” Interview with Kris Christen, OECD Observer, Summer 2001.

[11] Hard evidence is not there to back up this statement.

[12] Prabhat Ranjan Sarkar, Neo-Humanism in a Nutshell: Part II, Calcutta: Ananda Marga Publications, 1991, p. 62.

[13] Prabhat Ranjan Sarkar, The Liberation of Intellect: Neo-Humanism, Calcutta, Ananda Marga Publications, 1999, p. 6.

Copyright 2011

Global Water Crisis

P.R. Sarkar
(25 March 1989, Kolkata) – At the beginning of this earth, there was absolute silence — there were no living beings or even plants. This condition continued for hundreds of millions of years, until the earth was properly formed.

Then a phase came when rain and storms started, and by a gradual process, life emerged. As a result of the rain, carbon atoms got infused with vital energy. Carbon atoms along with protoplasmic clash and cohesion formed this vital energy.

Water was an essential factor in the evolution of the planet, and now it is most essential for the survival of human beings, animals, plants and the planet as a whole. If it does not rain anywhere on earth for only one year, all life on the planet will be destroyed. This is because all creatures — from the smallest organisms to the largest animals — need water. If there is no water, first the small creatures will die, then the ecological balance of the planet will be lost. Next, human beings will also die, and soon the earth will become a barren wasteland.

The Outlook

In the near future there will be a severe crisis in many parts of the world. Many large rivers like the Ganga, the Jamuna and the Thames are already very polluted. People cannot drink this water, and if they even wash their hands in it they can become infected. The only solution is to rely on rainwater. We must collect the rainwater, develop the science of making artificial rain through helium or any other process, and bring the clouds which rain over the ocean onto the land.

Constructing more deep tube wells is not the answer. Rather, we must catch the rainwater where it falls. Many ponds, canals, dams, lakes and reservoirs should be immediately constructed to catch the rainwater and store it for drinking water. This is the only way out of the water crisis that will confront humanity in the very near future.

In the physical sphere there are two types of calamities — natural calamities and those caused by human beings. Today most calamities are caused by human beings, but sometimes natural calamities like typhoons, floods, droughts, earthquakes, etc., also occur. Although different types of calamities may confront humanity, doomsday will never happen. The very idea of doomsday is based on dogma.

The calamities caused by human beings are mainly of two types. First, many calamities are caused by the bifurcation and trifurcation of society. The bifurcation of society is exemplified by the conflict between the Israelis and the Palestinians and the recent war between North and South Vietnam. The division of India into India, Pakistan and Bangladesh is an example of the trifurcation of society.

Calamities are also caused by the destruction of the environment and the indiscriminate exploitation of subterranean resources such as coal, oil and water. One of the greatest causes of environmental destruction is deforestation. Due to deforestation, the rain clouds coming from the Bay of Bengal travel all the way across India and rain on the Arabian Sea. That is, clouds which once rained on Magadh now rain on the Arabian Sea. Consequently, the water level in the Arabian Sea is gradually rising and the Bay of Bengal is becoming more salty. The result is that the water level around the coast of India is rising, the land area of the Indian subcontinent is decreasing and soil erosion is increasing. Approximately two-thirds of the surface of the globe is water and one-third is land, but due to deforestation the water portion is increasing and the land portion is decreasing.

Another cause of environmental destruction is the exploitation of subterranean resources. Deep cavities have been formed in the earth after extracting subterranean resources, and these cavities should be properly filled. In some countries it is the practice to use sand to fill the cavities created by mining underground coal. If these cavities are left unfilled, the surrounding regions are more likely to experience earthquakes than other areas. Moreover, the unfilled cavities can severely weaken the surface structure of the earth, causing whole regions to collapse.

In some Arab countries, huge amounts of money have been made by extracting oil from under the ground. Several years ago the leaders of these countries realized that the supply of oil would not last forever, so they started to think about the future of their countries after the supply of oil was exhausted. They became concerned that the level of the water-table was falling and the sizes of the deserts were increasing. To solve this problem, they decided to import soil and sweet water to create dense forests. Now the trees that they planted are eight to ten years old, and last year it was reported that they experienced floods for the first time. Many of the local people had never seen floods before, and young children even cried in alarm at the sight of the rain!

The exploitation of subterranean water reserves is contributing to desertification in many parts of the world, and as the subterranean water level recedes, the soil near the surface dries out and plants wither and die. This has already happened in many parts of Rajasthan. Afforestation is the only solution to desertification.

Human beings have suffered from water scarcity and drought in the past, and this problem will continue unless proper care is taken in the future. If deforestation and the indiscriminate exploitation of subterranean water reserves continue, it is likely that many parts of the world will face severe water shortages from 1993 to at least the year 2000. The only way to avoid such a catastrophe is to immediately implement a decentralized approach to water conservation.

The Causes of Drought

Why do droughts occur? What are the most important causes of drought? There are three main causes. The first is the wanton destruction of plants or indiscriminate deforestation, the second is low pressure systems over oceans and big seas, and the third is sudden changes in the angular movement of the sun and other celestial bodies like comets, nebulae and galaxies.

Deforestation causes drought because it prevents the plants from nourishing the earth. The fibrous roots of plants absorb and hold considerable amounts of water which is slowly released into the soil. In the paddy fields of Bengal, for example, during the dry season water will trickle down the channels beside the fields. Where does the water come from?

It is released from the roots of the standing crops. But when the paddy and the associate crops are harvested, the supply of water dries up. Deforestation is caused by human beings, and it is within their power to solve this problem through their own efforts.

The second and third causes are presently beyond human control. In the future, with the development of the meteorological and marine sciences, human beings will be able to partially influence and overcome the second cause, but not fully. The third cause can only be controlled by Supreme Consciousness. However, if human beings follow the path of positive microvita and have the grace of Supreme Consciousness, they can also control the third cause.

How do the sudden changes in the angular movement of celestial bodies cause drought? The paths of some comets are predetermined and astronomers can ascertain their arrival dates and possible effects on the earth, but there are other comets that appear suddenly without warning. When there is the sudden appearance of powerful celestial bodies or a sudden change in their angle of rotation, their gravitational pull may disturb the seasons and the natural order of creation. For example, as a result of the strong gravitational pull of a powerful comet or meteor, clouds may not be formed. This phenomenon is called bakudasha’ in Sanskrit.

Certain deviations of celestial bodies like meteors, comets and satellites take place due to the concentration of a huge number of positive and negative microvita. Movement in universal space is subject to the movement of positive and negative microvita, and this also affects life on earth.

The angularity of the movement of celestial bodies also affects the minds of human beings. Suppose you are outside enjoying a cool breeze on a calm full moon night. A soothing, painless feeling will arise in your mind. But if the feeling continues, the nerve cells in your body may become dull, and if the experience of dullness goes beyond a certain limit, your thinking power may be impaired, even causing some psychic ailment. This occurs because the ecological balance within the human structure is lost.

Say a certain incident took place in your life at the age of eight. Now we know that there is nothing identical in this universe, only similarities. If similar circumstances reoccur after a gap of say eight years, a similar incident could take place when you are sixteen. You have to ensure that people are not put into an environment which is similar to one that caused them pain and suffering in the past, as this may adversely affect their progress in the spiritual sphere. This also applies to the physical and psychic spheres.

Human movement is movement towards ecological equipoise — towards the supreme synthesis. In the inner world, balance must be maintained as this leads to spiritual progress. Ecological order is not only for the earth but for the entire universe, and it must be maintained both within and without. The angular displacement of any celestial body may affect the human mind as well as the physical universe, so balance must be maintained between the internal and external spheres. In all aspects of human life this subtle balance must be maintained. This is ecological balance.

The Defects of Well Irrigation

I have already said that constructing more deep tube wells is not the solution to the water crisis. What are the drawbacks of well irrigation? Well irrigation causes the level of the water-table to drop, while the continuous use of well irrigation dries up the subterranean flow of water. Initially the effects of continuous well irrigation may not be easy to perceive, but eventually a fertile region will be transformed into a desert. In fact, if the subterranean water level stays at above twenty to twenty-five feet, the surface vegetation will not be affected, but if it drops below fifty feet, the surface of the earth will become a barren wasteland.

The negative effects of well irrigation include the following:

Neighbouring shallow wells dry up creating the problem of lack of drinking water.

Trees, orchards and large plants do not get sufficient subterranean water so they wither and die. Green countryside will become a desert after thirty to forty-five years of intensive well irrigation.

In some deep tube wells enemy elements — that is, elements which are harmful to the soil such as heavy minerals and mineral salts — get mixed with the water, causing problems such as salinity. As a result, the land eventually becomes infertile and unfit for cultivation. When the flow of well water stops, irrigation tanks supplied by these wells also dry up.

Well irrigation should be used only as a temporary measure because of the devastating effects it can have on the surrounding environment. Alternative methods of irrigation include river irrigation, irrigation from reservoirs, dams and small ponds, shift irrigation and lift irrigation. Irrigation water is like the apex of a spinning top. Without it, agriculture is not possible.

The Best Methods of Irrigation

The best method of irrigation is the conservation of surface water through a system of ponds, canals, dams, lakes and reservoirs. Take the example of Ra’r’h [core area of Bengal] and Orissa. The potentialities of this region have not yet been fully developed and utilized. The major portion of the wealth is subterranean, and these treasures should be properly harnessed, but practically nothing has been done in this respect. The surface potentialities should also be properly developed, but these too have been neglected.

How should the surface water potentiality in this region be utilized? The rainfall in this area is very meagre — rain only falls part of the year, and the rest of the year it is dry. Well irrigation is underdeveloped, and there is hardly any lift or shift irrigation. Sixty-five percent of the land is rocky and sandy, and traditionally only coarse grain is grown there. So in Ra’r’h we have to do two things — construct many new small-scale ponds, dams and lakes, and undertake large-scale afforestation on the banks of all water systems.

Ra’r’h has undulating land, so large-scale reservoirs cannot be easily constructed, but many small lakes and ponds can be built. Large, deep reservoirs will not be as beneficial as small-scale ponds and should not be encouraged. Moreover, large reservoirs rely on lift and shift irrigation to supply water to a system of canals. In such a system the water pressure will fall because as the water travels along the canals leading from the reservoirs to the fields, the canals will be obstructed by the hilly terrain. So, if there is a big investment in reservoirs, the money will be wasted. Instead, many small ponds and dams can be constructed with the same investment. If many small-scale dams are constructed at a cost of about one hundred thousand rupees each, this investment will give a return of hundreds of millions of rupees.

In a system of small-scale ponds and dams, any surplus water in the canals leading to the fields can be re-channelled back to a main water source to avoid wastage. Water will only be carried a little distance in a small-scale canal system, so most of the time the surrounding fields will be properly irrigated. Sometimes however, as in the rainy season, surplus water will be created which should be re-channelled back to the water source or used further downstream. Such a system will also help check flooding in the rainy season and avoid damage to the small-scale dams constructed along the rivers. Farmers should take care that they do not use excessive non-organic fertilizers, because the chemicals will pollute the water system and have a harmful effect on humans, animals, fish, plants and the environment. Organic fertilizers are preferable to non-organic fertilizers.

What is the method to irrigate a rain-shadow region? When the rain clouds move from the sea and strike high mountains on the land there is rain. The part of the mountain range which faces the sea gets ample rain, whereas the region on the other side of the range facing inland gets little rain. The region which gets ample rain is the rain-front area, while the region which gets little rain is the rain-shadow area. The entire Telengana region is a rain-shadow area, and so is the Pune region of Maharashtra.

How can the Pune region be irrigated? There are two main methods. One is to pump water up the coastal side of the mountain range so that it can run down the inland rivers, and the other is to dig a tunnel through the mountains from the rain-front area to the rain-shadow area. The second method of irrigation is far cheaper. A well constructed tunnel should last about 150 years.
Rivers

There are three types of rivers — ice fed, rain fed and subterranean fed. Ice fed rivers cause flooding when there is an increase in the temperature, whereas rain fed and subterranean fed rivers only cause seasonal flooding when there is heavy rain. However, an increase in the temperature can dry them up.

Are the rivers in Ra’r’h perennial or seasonal? Are they ice fed or rain fed, or do they get water from subterranean sources due to the high level of the artesian water? Many rain fed rivers are only supplied with water in the rainy season and not in other seasons. The rivers in central Ra’r’h are rain fed but they are also supplied with artesian water. We should not depend only on rain fed rivers, because while they may accumulate water in the rainy season, in other seasons they may dry up. And even if rain fed rivers are also fed by subterranean sources which supply water throughout the year, there should still be every effort to conserve the surface water.

There are four categories of rivers — small rivulets, rivulets, rivers and big rivers. Rivers also have three stages — the hill, plain and delta stages. Some rivers, however, do not have their delta stage in the ocean because they expire before reaching the sea. Take the example of the topography of Mithila and Magadh. In Mithila in the rainy season, sufficient water passes through rivers such as the Bagmati, Gandak and Koshi. The hill stage of these rivers is in Nepal, the plain stage is in Mithila, and the delta stage is in Bengal. The plains of Mithila contain very soft soil, which is why these rivers always change their course. No rivers have their delta stage in Mithila. To tame these rivers, the cooperation of Nepal and Bengal is required.

In Magadh, unlike Mithila, the hill and delta stages of the rivers are in Magadh, except for the Suvarnareka, which flows just on the border line between southern Magadh and northern Chattisgarh. The Koel River should be tamed through cooperation between Magadh and Kaoshal. In fact, Magadh and Kaoshal share many common problems. In controlling or taming rivers, powerful boards of experts should be established which contain representatives of all three stages. This will ensure the successful implementation of river projects. Under international law no country should be allowed to use water according to its own wish. The hill stage must consult with the plain stage and the plain stage must consult with the delta stage. Nepal, for example, must consult with the plain and delta stages of its rivers which flow through India. If there is want of cooperation among the three, the river water coming from the hills or blocked at the delta may submerge a large area of plain land. Magadh is in a relatively convenient position as both the hill and plain stages of its rivers are in Magadh.

Afforestation

The banks of all water systems should be covered by dense forests. The science behind this is that the roots of the trees retain water. When the water-table subsides, the roots of the trees slowly release water. Hence, a pond surrounded by trees will never run dry. The foliage of the trees also minimizes evaporation. Besides this, the leaves of the trees have very small pores which attract clouds, so the trees help to increase the rainfall. Only one hundred years ago there were large rain forests in Ra’r’h, and at that time in the Manbhum district the rainfall was seventy to eighty inches per year. Now it is hardly forty to forty-five inches.

A scientific programme of afforestation should include two aspects. In the first phase fast growing trees should be planted. Trees which grow to their full height in six months to two years and provide dense green cover should be selected. In the second phase, trees which take longer to grow but also provide dense green cover should be planted. This approach will quickly restore the ecological balance of a region.

Afforestation must be carried out both intensively and extensively. The best approach is to plant both fast growing and slow growing trees together. Planting only slow growing trees is uneconomic because we will have to wait thirty, fifty, seventy or one hundred years to get the desired result. And planting only fast growing trees will not provide any long term benefits. So both intensive and extensive afforestation should be done immediately. After reaching maturity, the trees can be selectively cut and sold.

Afforestation should be carried out on the banks of ponds, canals, dams, lakes, rivers and reservoirs. For example, babula [Acasia arabica Willd.] or kheyer [Acasia catechu Willd.] should be planted. In between these trees we can plant bukphul [Sesbania grandiflora Pers.], and in between these, Indian rosewood. The reason for this is that bukphul grows very fast and within five years it will be a tall tree, but babula takes a little longer to grow. Indian rosewood grows very slowly but it lives a long time. Thus, first bukphul will grow fast and attract rain which will help the other trees to grow. When it has fully matured after five or seven years it can be cut, and by this stage we will have a dense forest of Indian rosewood trees.

These trees are very useful in other respects also. For example, bukphul leaves increase the milk supply in cows, while thread can be produced from the leaves and stem. Indian rosewood trees increase the rainfall and hold water in their roots. The flowers provide a plentiful supply of honey, the leaves can be used to make plates, the sap is used to produce gum for the incense industry, and the tree may be used in sericulture to produce tasar silk. The seeds are also edible and are taken by poor people, while the honey has medicinal use and economic value, so it can earn foreign exchange as an export commodity. Piyasal [Pterocarpus marsupium Roxb.] can also be planted in between Indian rosewood trees if need be. In this way, step by step, we have to proceed.

Scientific crop management is also an essential aspect of water conservation. For example, a field of barley requires less water to grow than a field of vegetables. If there are two fields side by side, one of barley and the other of vegetables, the vegetable crop will consume only seventy-five percent of the water normally used to irrigate it. If the other twenty-five percent is allowed to run off to the barley crop, that water will be sufficient to irrigate the barley. The barley crop will not require any special irrigation facilities.

Fruit trees can store a large amount of water in their roots, so they should be planted along river banks and near paddy fields to help conserve water. After the paddy harvest at A’nanda Nagar, for example, the water flows into the two rivulets — the Alkananda and the Paragati — leaving the fields dry. After a short time the rivulets also dry up as their supply of seepage water from the fields stops. To solve this problem, fruit trees should be planted beside the rivulets. The water stored in the roots of the fruit trees will keep the soil moist and fertile. Care should be taken so that the branches of the fruit trees do not block the sunlight from the crops. If this system is followed, when the paddy is cut and the fields are drained of water, the rivulets will remain flowing. If fruit trees are planted along the banks of a river, it will always retain water.

Foolish human beings, however, have cut down all the trees along the river banks, so now many rivers have dried up. Who would believe that 150 years ago large boats used to travel along the Mayuraksi Rriver in Bengal? Today it is a small river, and in the rainy season small boats only ply along it. The forests around the river have all gone. The forest trees contain water in their root systems and release it in a controlled way which enables the rivers to flow regularly. Now you understand the utility of the forests. Adjacent to the Mayuraksi River is the Katasu village where I once saw a fossilized mast of a ship. This proves that at one time large ships used to travel along the river. I have also seen the same thing along the Damodar River. Due to deforestation, these rivers are now drying up, and consequently there is less rainfall.

The inner spirit of our water conservation programme is that the amount of existing surface water should be immediately doubled. But it is preferable if it is increased tenfold. This can best be done by a decentralized approach to water management which increases the depth, the area, or both, of water storage systems.

The first step is to increase the depth of those ponds, tanks, dams, lakes, rivers and reservoirs which are already being used for storing water. The second step is to increase the area of these storage facilities, while the third step is to increase the plantations around them. How can these plantations be increased by a factor of ten? By increasing the number of rows of plants around each water storage system five times, and by reducing the distance between each plant by half. In addition to this, many new small-scale ponds, tanks, dams, lakes and reservoirs should also be constructed. As a general rule, surface water should always be utilized in preference to subterranean water.

You must prepare yourselves. The sphere of knowledge, the span of knowledge and the expansion of knowledge starts with the self. Humanity is waiting for you. You know what you are and what the world expects from you. You have to solve all the problems in the world today. You should prepare detailed plans and programmes and act accordingly. You must be the vanguard.

Published in Ideal Farming Part 2
Copyright Ananda Marga Publications 2013

Accounting for Natural Wealth

India has become the first country in the world to commit to publishing a new set of accounts which track the nation’s plants, animals, water and other natural wealth as well as financial measurements such as GDP. The announcement was made by TEEB initiative at the biodiversity summit in Nagoya, Japan.

“The inclusion of natural wealth into general accounting is a significant step,” says Proutist Universal spokesperson Siddhayogananda Avadhuta. “This progressive initiative will generate a more comprehensive, practical understanding of the utility of socioeconomics.”

“These days it is becoming increasingly clear that Earth’s physical resources are limited and precious to us all,”Avadhuta says. “Right now the whole world is looking at an unprecedented water crisis. Limited resources are even a main cause of wars. These and other factors necessitates some regulation of wealth accumulation.”

“This new initiative would also lead to changes in the way production is taxed. I think India is showing a will to do something concrete here. In the near future, an efficient world authority may be necessary to secure proper accounting of Earth’s resources in the interest of all living beings,” Avadhuta says.

The ongoing TEEB study has documented the multi-trillion dollar importance of the natural world to the global economy, calling for wider recognition of nature’s contribution to human livelihoods, health, security, culture and also to capture the economic values of nature’s services.