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Abusing nature, we abuse ourselves - EDITORIAL

24 November 2015 06:30 pm - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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In the aftermath of the night of horror on Friday the 13, world leaders will gather in Paris, the city of light, from November 30 for a climate summit which hopefully would agree on the guidelines and direction for Planet Earth to make a 180˚ turn from the suicidal path of self-destruction.The world leaders including religious leaders, people of all races and religions need to sincerely turn the searchlight inward and come to the awareness that sophisticated forms of selfishness and self-centredness, greed, wickedness and other vices have brought us to the brink of this apocalyptic catastrophe.

Nature itself is full of examples of the lessons we need to learn in taking the about-turn. For instance, see the example of the trees. They live for others, freely providing fruits. vegetables, leaves and other benefits to people, animals and all creatures. See the coconut tree. Every part of the tree freely provides good things for people and other creatures – the kernel for milk or tasty sambols, the shell and the husk for a multitude of purposes, the palms to make huts or for decorations, the ekel for many purposes and the bark also. The king coconut tree is fit for kings with the tambili water being used for various purposes including the life-saving saline. Other trees also freely give themselves for others and therefore we need to tell tree fellers – racketeering gangs and ignorant individuals – what the wise poet said, “woodman spare your axe”.

Then let us look at rivers. A tropical country like Sri Lanka is blessed with at least six major rivers, canals and streams, besides tens of millions of litres of pure rain water. Water is essential for humans, animals and trees. Freely the rivers provide it for us, moment to moment, for days, months, years, generations and down the ages. Instead of being grateful, a wicked, selfish and greedy world is abusing and polluting the fresh river water in different degrees – profit-making companies in a big way and the people in smaller ways. Recently we heard how a trans-national beverage giant polluted the Kelani River while the Rathupaswela tragedy gave Sri Lanka world headlines for the wrong reasons and even came up in the Geneva resolution.

As for the role of animals, the cow is a good example. Unfortunately it is more like an endangered species with trans-national milk powder giants using sophisticated propaganda methods to market their powdered milk products, though the processing is known to take away more than half the nutritive value of fresh milk, while the TNCs also add preservatives, flavour-enhancing substances and artificial sweetners which are dangerous. The cow does not drink its own nourishing milk. It eats mainly grass while freely giving a small part of its milk to the calf and most of the milk for the people while TNCs abuse this milk to make millions in profits. We have heard the beautiful song of how our loving mothers turn blood into milk to tenderly nourish the children. On the contrary, some TNCs are playing or going to bloody hell with milk. Even when the cow completes its milking period, it provides dung as a no-cost but rich organic fertiliser while  we are spending billions on the import of agro-chemicals which are known to be polluting Mother Earth and our ground water.

When the cows and the bulls grow old, a cruel and wicked world slaughters most of them for curry or devilled beef which could be more appropriately referred to as the devil’s beef. Last year more than 150 thousand cattle were legally slaughtered in Sri Lanka while thousands more were killed illegally. The theme of the Buddha Dhamma “May all beings be happy”. We need to urgently reconsider the slaughter of animals and chickens as part of our contribution towards saving Mother Nature.
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