Covid-19 pandemic looms large. But how close are we to making the magic
vaccine? Does this virus justify the paranoia? Nature is a great experimenter,
known to discard species that cannot adapt to its environs and contribute to
the “Whole”. I believe that as humans, we have not evolved enough to realise
that we can only survive if we harmonise our species’ way of living with life
Mumbai during the Janata Curfew on Sunday. (Express Photo)
ceaseless pillaging of our planet, is this nature’s way of saying “enough is
that pervades human thought and obsession, is the philosophy that homo sapiens
are the supreme owners of the planet — the sole commanders of its fate. This
human supremacist perspective condones the barbarity of the human race towards
every other sentient or non-sentient species, and justifies all wrongs against
the planet in the name of ‘development’.
the famous scientist, Carl Sagan, viewed it as a form of “human chauvinism”,
excluding the possibility of extraterrestrial life. Sagan’s contention was that
humans are so restricted by their own narcissism, they find it difficult to
even conceive of other life forms with radically different biochemistries.
Victor Stenger, a prominent astro-physicist, denounced “carbon chauvinism” —
the premise that life necessarily requires carbon. According to him, it was
“molecular chauvinism” to assume that molecules are required at all. In an
ever-expanding universe, it would be terrible to claim knowledge of everything:
It is this “higher intelligence” of the so-called “evolved human species” which
seems to now threaten the ecological grid of human society.
of greed and human consumption cannot, evidently, be reined in. And it is
perhaps the predestined predicament of human design that works towards its own
extinction. As self-indulgent consumers, many of us use, on a daily basis,
products which we don’t necessarily need, feeding into a global culture of
competitive consumption that makes for unsustainable living habits.
fires to global warming, rising sea levels to deforestation, loss of plant
species to animal extinction — one ecological crisis after another that we
battle are all linked with our desire to want more, own more, spend, consume
and dispose more. All this is much more than Earth can endure. This also
renders impossible any positive shift in climate change, any fulfilment of the
sustainable development goals and any move towards clean energy economies.
commercial greed ravages the biodiversity of the plant world, forcing hybrids
and other seed varieties that deplete our soil, reduce water tables and crop
cycles — besides creating dependence on chemicals, leading to monocultures in
livestock are kept in pathetic conditions despite the knowledge that more than
60 per cent of infectious diseases are zoonotic by nature. Whether it is the
Nipah virus in South Asia or the closely-related Hendra virus in Australia, or,
Lyme disease in the US, there are many examples of how plundering an ecosystem
can cause disease and epidemics.
at large have to change from “What to buy” to “How to live without buying
more”. A big challenge of unbridled consumerism is its consequent
waste-creation and disposal. Urban India is the world’s third largest garbage
generator and 10 million tonnes of garbage is spewed out, in metropolitan
cities like Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Chennai and Bengaluru.
consumption of materials has crossed 100 billion tonnes every year, but the
proportion that is being recycled is gradually falling. The use of materials by
the global economy has quadrupled, far faster than the population, which has
doubled since 1970.
levels of greed have become the fault in our design, ominously inviting upon
ourselves viral onslaughts and epidemics. Humanity’s greatest obsessions —
religion and science — have offered us a lot, but not enough to go beyond our
religion has contributed to notions of “otherness” within the human race,
science has created technology that can obliterate the human species itself.
Perhaps it is time to invoke William Blake once more: ‘To see a World in a
Grain of Sand/ And a Heaven in a Wild Flower/ Hold Infinity in the palm of your
hand/ And Eternity in an hour’.
Ilmi is a spokesperson of the BJP.
Headline: Covid-19 brings a moment of
reckoning with our unbridled consumerism, greed
Source: The Indian Express