Environment and the world

Wednesday, 5 June 2019 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Climate change is one of the most pervasive and threatening issues of our time, with far-reaching impacts in the twenty-first century – Pic by Shehan Gunasekara


World Environment Day is the United Nations day for encouraging worldwide awareness and action to protect our environment. Since it began in 1974, the event has grown to become a global platform for public outreach that is widely celebrated in over 100 countries. June 5th every year is the “people’s day” for global citizens to do things that can help to take care of the world’s environment. 

In the following, we focus on things that can be done to take care of the Planet Earth. 

Climate change

Climate change is one of the most pervasive and threatening issues of our time, with far-reaching impacts in the twenty-first century.

Climate change is expected to have unprecedented implications on where people can settle, grow food, build cities, and rely on functioning ecosystems for the services they provide. In many places, temperature changes and sea-level rise are already putting ecosystems under stress and affecting human well-being.

Each World Environment Day is organised around a theme that draws attention to a particularly pressing environmental concern. The theme for 2019 is “Air pollution”. ((https://www.unenvironment.org/explore-topics/climate-change/about-climate-change)

The environment is impacted mainly by a single factor, the species Homo sapiens. In all the aspects of air, biosafety, chemicals and waste, climate change, disasters, ecosystems etc., humans are the common factor. There is much being done today to reduce the fossil fuel burn, stop deforestation, take action to reduce air pollution, support green economies, make better use of resources and much more. But the most important element of this is not under any control: the human element. 


People when referring to the word ‘world’, refer to the planet Earth as the world. It is not only ordinary people, but Presidents, Prime Ministers and other world leaders, agencies such as UN, IMF, World Bank, scientists, business community, and sports community etc. Right now, in England, 12 cricketing nations are competing to win the 2019 Cricket World Cup.

But is the world the same as the planet Earth? One day over 2,600 years ago a Yakka named Hemawatha asked the Buddha, “In what has the world arisen, in what does it associate, clinging to what in the world, in what is the world afflicted.” The Buddha replied, “In six has the world arisen, in six it makes acquaintance, from clinging to the six, in six the world is afflicted.” Here Buddha did not mean the Planet Earth, but of the six touch-agencies of humans and gods and other beings. They are the eye, ear, nose, tongue body and the mind. (Sutha Nipatha)

Present situation of human minds

How does the mind form? The Buddha said that the forerunner to mind is the Nama and Rupa. The Nama or name is of five things, feeling, perception, intention, contact, and attention. The Rupa or form is the form-perception arising from the four Maha Bhuthas, or Great Elements. The name-form illustrate our consciousness, leading to illustrated-consciousness.

The Mind is the forerunner of all things whether good or bad, the mind is the chief and mind-made are they. The negative or positive situation of the human mind are due to all these things that are happening in the six touch-agencies. One may hear things, see things, think of things considered bad for them, and build anger and hatred. 

The global situation

A look around the world tells us all that the situation is extremely volatile as far as human minds are concerned. There is strife between the US and China concerning the trade relations between the two countries, due to imposition of duty on Chinese goods by President Trump’s administration. China too have announced some reciprocal actions, and will levy import duty on $ 60 billion worth of imports from the US to China. Then, the present US administration’s action against the Chinese tech giant Huawei, Google having suspended Huawei’s access to updates of its Android operating system, and chipmakers having reportedly cut off supplies to the Chinese telecoms company after the US government added it to a trade blacklist, are also areas of concern to China. 

Then there is the tension developing between the US and Iran due to sanctions imposed by the US on Iran, and the tensions that are increasing in the Gulf region. The US has also suspended the GSP trade preference program with India, and is also threatening imposition of 5% duty on all imports from Mexico unless they stop the exodus of immigrants to the US.

Then the fighting in Syria, Libya, Yemen etc. which so far has caused the death of enormous number of civilians, the tense situations in Sudan, Afghanistan, and Palestine are all creating hatred in human minds, day after day.

There is trouble in the UK due to failings on Brexit, and which has already resulted in resignation of PM Theresa May. The post-resignation period is bound to create more acrimony in Britain. There is also a lot of bad blood between the UK and the European Union regarding the way Brexit has so far unfolded. Also it is not all OK in Europe, with Germany and France disagreeing over who should succeed Jean-Claude Junker at the head of the European Commission. 

The serpent: money

The disputes between the US and China, proposed imposition of tariffs on Mexican imports to the US, the suspension of GSP trade preference program with India, and the full re-imposition of sanctions on Iran in 2018: in all these instances the winner will be the poisonous serpent named Money. 

One day the Buddha was going on a footpath with Bhikku Ananda and suddenly said, “Serpents, Ananda, serpents.” Agitated, Bhikku Ananda looked around but could not see any serpents, and said to the Buddha, “Enlightened One, I cannot see any serpents.” Then Buddha pointed out with his right hand to a heap of gold coins (money in those days) and said, “Ananda, when a serpent bites, there are treatments available to remove the poison and cure the person bitten. But when this serpent bites, there is no cure.”

The impact on our environment

All these things that are happening are creating hatred in the minds of billions of people against others, because it is their world of the six agencies that has to suffer. The hatred is a very powerful force of very high frequency, and can impact the nature of the Four Great Elements. These four elements are also not static, but rise and cease at very high frequencies. The high frequency of hatred can impact the Four Great Elements, causing them to react negatively. The symptoms of these changes in the Four Great Elements are there to see today. In the US there is the Arkansas River flooding and bursting through a levee, extremely cold temperatures in Queensland in Australia, “red colour” warnings in New Delhi with temperature near 50 degrees Celsius in Rajasthan, heavy rains and flooding in Italy, Croatia, Bosnia, Germany, and Georgia in May, are some of these symptoms.

It is quite evident that unless we, the human beings who are the world, and for that matter the world leaders, heed the advice in the teachings of the Buddha and come to amicable settlements in all their disputes, without causing acrimony in human minds and leading to aberrations in the world of 6 touch-agencies, we are all going to be at the receiving end from the Four Great Elements.

The actions of the United Nations and other agencies to reduce fossil fuel burn, promote green energy, manage industrial emissions, water resources management, and other initiatives are laudable. Yet will all that help without the reduction of human hatred emission? The melting of polar ice caps, rising seas, the increasing global temperatures will sadly continue.

Also, it may probably be the time to heed the advice of late Dr. Masaru Emoto of Japan, and his work on water. Dr. Emoto makes the claim that water exposed to positive speech or thoughts – and intention – will result in “beautiful” crystals being formed when that water is frozen, and that negative intention and words tend to yield “ugly” frozen crystal formations. 

(The writer can be reached via Sugath_ras@sltnet.lk.)