Krishna Consciousness & Ecological Awareness


Ecuador Extends Rights to Ecosystems
January 30, 2009, 10:08 am
Filed under: Environmental Politics, Vedic Ecology

By Kate Wilson, The New York Times

A few months after Lloyd reported on the Swiss government’s conclusion that plants have rights, the Ecuadorian population went one step further and voted to change their constitution to proclaim that nature has “the right to the maintenance and regeneration of its vital cycles, structure, functions and evolutionary processes.”

The New York Times felt that the Ecuadorian concept of plants’ rights was significant enough to include it in their 8th Annual Year in Ideas list. Enquire further to find out what this could mean for conservation efforts in the South American nation.

Writing in the New York Times, Clay Risen explains this radical concept thusly:

The precise scope of nature’s rights is unclear. Referring to Pachamama, an indigenous deity whose name roughly translates as “Mother Universe,” the text puts less emphasis on defending specific species than on the rights of ecosystems writ large. And it is uncertain how, exactly, a country as poor as Ecuador can protect those rights — though observers expect to see a raft of new lawsuits against oil and gas companies.

As Risen notes, it remains to be seen if ecosystems will become protected because of the constitutional changes, but what is clear is that the local population thinks it’s worth a try. Almost 70% of Ecuadorians voted in favor of protecting nature in this method.

Ecuador drafted the changes with the help of the U.S. based Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund. Along with it’s work in Ecuador, the Fund “has assisted more than a dozen local municipalities with drafting and adopting local laws recognizing Rights of Nature.” The basis of these rights “change the status of ecosystems from being regarded as property under the law to being recognized as rights-bearing entities.”

With a world economy, partially-based on the sanctity of property rights, in a nosedive it’s possible that radical ideas like this will take hold. We’ll watch with cautious optimism that other nations will follow the Ecuadorian lead to respect and protect our interconnected planet.

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Excerpt from Light of the Bhagavata by A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
July 30, 2008, 6:00 am
Filed under: Vedic Ecology

“The wind carries the clouds to different parts of the globe, and the clouds distribute rains, to the satisfaction of the people in general, just as rich kings and merchants distribute their accumulated wealth, inspired by religious priests.”

Light of the Bhagavata, Verse 21

(c) The Bhaktivedanta Book Trust International, Inc.
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Excerpt from Light of the Bhagavata
July 12, 2008, 6:00 am
Filed under: Vedic Ecology

“Fierce torrents of rain break over the strands and the partition walls of the paddy field. These disturbances resemble those created by the seasonal opponents of the standard principles of the Vedas, who are influenced by the age of Kali.”

Light of the Bhagavata, Verse 20

(c) The Bhaktivedanta Book Trust International, Inc.
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Deep Ecology
June 30, 2008, 6:53 pm
Filed under: Deep Ecology, Vedic Ecology | Tags:

Among those who see the need for fundamental change in human consciousness are the deep ecologists.  “Deep ecology is a process of ever-deeper questioning of ourselves, the assumptions of the dominant worldview of our culture, and the meaning and truth of our reality,” say two prominent theorists of this movement, Bill Devall and George Sessions.

We agree with the deep sociologists that modern civilization raises obstacles to this process of inquiry.  “In technocratic industrial societies there is overwhelming propaganda and advertising which encourages false needs and destructive desires designed to foster increased production and consumption of goods,” say Devall and Sessions.  “Most of this actually diverts us from facing reality in an objective way and from beginning the ‘real work’ of spiritual growth and maturity.”

Deep ecologists would like to see much of the world returned to wilderness.  They also speak of the “biocentic equality” of all living things.  By this they mean that “all things in the biosphere have an equal right to live and blossom and to reach their own individual forms of unfolding and self-realization within the larger self-realization.”

Members of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, while sympathetic to some of the goals of the deep ecologists, differ with them about the ultimate sense in which all creatures “reach their own individual forms of unfolding and self-realization within the larger Self-realization.”  For the deep ecologists, this process takes place solely within nature.  The “larger Self-realization” is simply that of nature unfolding according to its own laws.  As far as humanity’s self-realization is concerned, this would amount to humans as a species taking a more humble position relative to nature and other living things.  But this holistic vision, although an improvement over humanity’s present exploitive behavior toward nature and other living beings, falls short of a genuine spirituality.  It fails to take in account the eternal identities of all living things beyond their situation in material nature.  These eternal identities become revealed not simply in relation to nature and other living things but in relation to God, who is present both in nature and beyond nature and who is the source of both nature and the living things in nature.

An equality of vision more satisfactory than that of the deep ecologists was possessed by the ancient sages of India, whose teachings the members of the modern Krsna consciousness movement follow.

“The humble sages, by virtue of true knowledge, see with equal vision a learned and gentle brahmana, a cow, an elephant, a dog, and a dog-eater [outcaste],” says the Bhagavad Gita (5.19).

A Krsna conscious person does not make any distinction between species or castes,” comments Srila Prabhupada on this text in his Bhagavad Gita As It Is.  “The brahmana and the outcaste may be different from the social point of view, or a dog, a cow, and an elephant may be different from a species point of view, but these differences are meaningless to the learned transcendentalist.  This is due to their relationship with the Supreme.”

Each living thing is not simply a material form that finds its proper place within material nature.  Each living thing is also possessed of a soul, which has an eternal relationship with God , who exists beyond material nature.  Of course, nature is the energy of God, and God is present in His energy as well as beyond it.  So it is possible for those who properly align their souls with God and with the souls of other living things to also properly align their material bodies with God’s material nature and the material bodies of other living things.  This is a more complete self-realization than that of deep ecology.

Applying a vision of the theocentric equality of all living things, the International Society for Krishna Consciousness addresses the deep philosophical and spiritual issues that touch on the self and nature, while it simultaneously introduces a way of life that situates the self harmoniously within nature.

-excerpt from Divine Nature by Micheal A. Cremo and Mukunda Goswami

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Excerpt from Light of the Bhagavata
June 24, 2008, 6:00 am
Filed under: Vedic Ecology

“A crane stands on the edge of a pond that is always disturbed by flowing water, mud, and stones. The crane is like a householder who is disturbed in the shelter of his home but who, because of too much attachment, does not want to change his position.”

Light of the Bhagavata, Verse 19

(c) The Bhaktivedanta Book Trust International, Inc.
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Excerpt from Light of the Bhagavata
June 6, 2008, 6:00 am
Filed under: Vedic Ecology

“Many plants and creepers that were almost dead during the months of April and May are now visible again in various forms, for they are nourished by their roots in the moist earth. These numberless plants and creepers resemble persons who dry up in severe penances for some material gain but then achieve their objectives and become luxuriously fat, nourished by sense enjoyment.”

Light of the Bhagavata, Verse 18

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Excerpt from Light of the Bhagavata
May 18, 2008, 6:00 am
Filed under: Vedic Ecology

“When the clouds appear in the sky the peacock begins to dance in ecstasy, as a sincere soul becomes overwhelmed with joy on the appearance of a saint at his house.”

Light of the Bhagavata, Verse 17

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