Thursday, October 15, 2009

Blog Action Day '09 | Earth as Sacred Trust

. What is Blog Action Day?

Blog Action Day is an annual event held every October 15 that unites the world’s bloggers in posting about the same issue on the same day with the aim of sparking discussion around an issue of global importance. Blog Action Day 2009 is one of the largest-ever social change events on the web. This year voices are raised to call attention to Climate Change. Close to 10,000 blogs will be posting on this issue, spanning across 150 countries.

. Bangladesh and the Challenge of Climate Change

The country where I live, Bangladesh is facing a very serious challenge from Climate Change.

Bangladesh is trapped between the Himalayas in the north and the encroaching Bay of Bengal to the south. Bangladesh is most vulnerable to natural disasters due to the frequency of extreme climate events and its high population density. Floods are frequent and cause the greatest economic and human losses to the country.

Climate change poses significant risks for Bangladesh. The impacts of higher temperatures, more variable precipitation, more extreme weather events, and sea level rise are already felt in Bangladesh and will continue to intensify. The Bhola Islanders have been described as some of the world's first climate refugees, displaced because of climate change induced environmental disasters. In 1995, half of Bhola Island in Southern Bangladesh became permanently flooded, leaving 500,000 people homeless. In 2007, a Bangladeshi scientist stated: "We're already seeing hundreds of thousands of climate refugees moving into slums in Dhaka." These refugees were fleeing flooded coastal areas. In the documentary film, An Inconvenient Truth, Bangladesh is listed as one of the first countries that will lose a significant portion of its area, affecting the lives of millions of people due to the rising sea level if global warming continues.

. The Source of the Problem is Deeper than We can Comprehend

The talk of Climate Change often revolves around Green House Gases, Carbon foot-print, Electric Car, Fuel Efficiency, Price of Gas and how much the corrupt and greedy corporate circles can profit from the resources given equally to all. Often time it doesnt matter how many innocent children or women that of Iraq are killed (which recently by the way passed well above 85,000) since 2004 as a result of US invasion of the country, in order for the riches to pump gasoline in their car at a cheaper price.

Leaving aside all corruption rising from political greed and hegemony of power, even if we only focus how much damage we are causing ecologically to the planet earth, its mind shattering and heart breaking for those who in the very least understand the sacredness of this planet, the very abode for the whole family of the divine creator and the playground of ceaseless Divine Epiphany in its every atom.

"The spiritual world is not another world set apart from the natural world. It intermingles and co-exists with, and constitutes the invisible dimension of, the natural world." - Philip Sherrard, Greek Orthodox Church

The problem of the scale of destruction to this planet is greater than what we can conceive, the imbalance we are causing are irreversible in most cases and yet the real source of this problem is hardly acknowledged. The real problem is the loss of what is sacred and to forget that the planet earth is NOT a commodity like other "Stuff" which we can fool ourselves about its ownership. The Planet is NOT ours to abuse or rape as much as we inhumanely can. The Earth is a Sacred Trust to keep and humanity as a whole is the keeper of this Sacred Trust.

Or were they created out of naught, or are they the creators?
Or did they create the heavens and the earth? Nay! they have no certainty! Or are the Treasures of your Lord with them, or have they been given charge? - Quran, Chapter of Mount, 52, 34-37

I have been working on a paper about EcoSpirituality from Quranic perspective, even though Quran being revealed 1400 years ago, it still freshly offers deeper universal insight on this problem. The work is still in progress, but I borrowed in this post some glimpses from the Final Testament, Quran which touches the locus of this problem. The sense that the Earth is a Sacred Trust should and can be restored in our micro (individual) and macro (social, global) consciousness and collective human psyche even before we can dare to think that we can solve this crisis of astounding scale. The earth need to be given back the honor and be seen as a sacred trust bestowed upon humanity in the first place to restore the spiritual balance.

. Re-Turning to the vision of Oneness

Say not two, know not two, call not on two! ...
One I seek, One I know, One I see, One I call.
- Rumi

One of the root cause of the destruction of the planetary existence and its inter-dependent delicate ecological balance and that of environment is human being's arrogance which think itself separate, seeing everything other than humanity in dualistic and selfish 'us' and 'the other', 'the rest' view point.

For the mystics, the vision of Eco-spirituality is inspired by the deep gnosis of Oneness (tawhid) that permeates the entire creation, the universe and the cosmos. From the beginning of time, when human conscious was less clouded, in ancient society and traditions has always called Earth as divine mother, not to worship but to acknowledge that we are from this earthy dust just as we are born within mother's womb and while within sustained by that. The earth was respected as a sacred vessel and with technological and artificial progress we have lost this consciousness over time. It has reached to such a level that we are abusing and raping the very earth which gave birth to us, to all living beings.

Eco-Spirituality of Oneness bring the awareness that everything in this cosmos is essentially one and interdependent. Thus the very environment that we live in, every living and breathing life, every planet and even minerals, every human society and every human beings are not separate but a single entity of this oneness. Every life is sacred, so is the very environment which is pregnant with multitude of lives and giving birth to live every single moment of its existence.

"And the earth - We have spread it out wide, and placed on it mountains firm, and caused [life] of every kind to grow on it in a balanced manner, and provided thereon means of livelihood for you as well as for all [living beings] whose sustenance does not depend on you." - The Final Testament, Quran, 15:19-20

Eco-Spirituality is based in a fundamental belief in the sacredness of nature, earth and the universe. From an eco-spiritual perspective, the Divine is very much a part of creation; a part with which we can interact on a daily basis through our senses and from such experiences gain greater insight into the wonder of reality.

An egyptian sufi mystic once wrote,

Look deeply into nature,
and you will not fail to observe
the signature of the Divine written all over it.
Nothing is more visible than the Real
He is hidden only to the blind.
- Misri



Our present time is a time of unthinkable destruction, abuse and unhealthy over-consumption of the natural resources of planet earth, the only inhabitable abode of humanity in our known solar system and who knows, may be in whole galaxy!

Human race unlike any other time in history is systematically destroying the ecosystem of this planet earth, which is on a very complex and highly inter-dependent relationship.

It is not only a source of concern for scientists, environmentalists or social activists but also for many spiritually concerned minds across the globe regardless of their spiritual tradition or religious orientation. From Native Indian to Sufis all are becoming more and more concerned about this grave phenomena. There is a whole new field of consciousness coming into manifestation revolving this subject, which some people starting to call Echo-Spirituality and probably new are witnessing a new chapter in the history of human mental evolution.

. Quranic Wisdom on EcoSpirituality and Earth as Sacred Trust

In the Name of the Creator, Fashioner and Giver of Existence from Nothing

Corruption has appeared in the land and the sea on account of what the hands of men have wrought, that He may make them taste a part of that which they have done, so that they may turn back. - The Quran, Chapter of the Byzantines, 30:41

As for that Abode of the Hereafter We assign it unto those who seek not oppression in the earth, nor yet corruption. The sequel is for the righteous. - Chapter of Stories, 28:83

Seek the abode of the Hereafter in that which God has bestowed on you and neglect not your portion of the world, and be you kind even as God has been kind to you, and seek not corruption in the earth; surely! God loves not those who corrupt. - 28:77

Shall We treat those who believe and do good works as those who spread corruption in the earth;? - Chapter of the Mystical Letter Sawd, 38:28

Inspired by Quranic philosophy, Article 45 of the constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran, maintains natural resources to be national treasures (anfal / infal in Quranic term). It directly belong to God and must never be abused. On the basis of the first verse of Chapter Anfal in the Holy Quran, article 45 maintains the ownership of regions such as forests, rangelands, seas, rivers, mountains and valleys as belonging to God and His Messengers and thus reproaches the destruction of such natural resources.

. One Face

The effusion of the Real on the cosmos
Is uniform - if you understand
All these things that are visible
Are One Face - if you understand ...

To see the Face of the Real
Eye (of the heart) of Man is required.
On this mirror, the cosmos
is a peck of dust - if you understand.

- Sheikh Ibrahim



# Further:
. The Official Blog of Blog Action Day 2009
. From Blogsphere post on Blog Action Day
. Reading the world on Blog Action Day

. Working with Oneness
. Islam and Ecology
. [download] Nature Meditation by Hazrat Inayat Khan
. Global Oneness Project
. Man and Nature: The Spiritual Crisis in Modern Man
. Earthly Mother | Teaching from Essene Gospel of Peace
. Finding the locus between faith and ecology

. Climate Change | The Challenge that Bangladesh is Facing
. Climate Thinkers Blog
. Strategic migration for Bangladeshi climate refugees
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