Unseasonal Rains

flood

Devo vassatu Kalena (may the rains fall in due season)
Sassa sampattu hetu ca (may there be a rich harvest)
Phito bhavatu loko ca (may the world prosper)
Raja bhavatu dhammiko (may the ruler be righteous)

Four conditions governing the well being of humanity each inexorably tied to the other. It has been pointed out by many commentators this also reflects the traditional view of the system of governance. Without a righteous ruler, the rains will not come in season, the harvest will be poor and the world will not prosper.

Many millions recite this verse every day, well aware of Dharma (as the perennially fixed set of natural laws governing causation). These laws present the structure of rules which if understood correctly leads to natural or skillful action (dharma) which provides fortunate consequences  (kusala kamma) or if not understood and contravened leads to unskillful action (adharma) with unfortunate consequences (akusala kamma). Wholesome, fair-minded actions always bring forth positive future results whereas unwholesome and unjust actions lead to suffering, misery and future retribution.

It is with this perspective that we should look at our current situation. The question posed by many is ‘whether the unseasonal rains, droughts and resulting human suffering and misery is caused by rulers bring non-righteous.’

Droughts, floods and famines have been with us for thousands of years, destroying communities and nations. Governments through their access to information and technology about avoiding these events, should harness and utilize this knowledge to provide solace to the millions suffering from harsh climatic upheavals. But unfortunately they have not.  Rather, they have adhered to technologies that accelerate climate-changing conditions through the consumption of fossil fuel as the driver of ‘development’.  This irresponsible activity has only resulted in accelerating and intensifying such natural disasters and increasing human misery.

The unseasonal deluges of rain in Sri Lanka this year rendered over 200,000 people homeless, The ‘superstorms’ like Sandy that devastated New York last year or the current unprecedented heat wave in Australia are just the start of times when the akusala kamma or the consequence of the irresponsible activities of non-righteous leaders begin to manifest.

Non-righteous leaders urge us to chase ‘economic development’ without questioning the primary national or international cost of this activity. Further, the consequence or impact of such ‘economic development’ on the environment or on human life is never considered, only monetary growth and maximization of profit is. Such actions contravene rules of dharma, which,if not understood and contravened leads to unskillful action (adharma) with unfortunate consequences (akusala kamma).

The current climate crisis is a consequence of consuming non-renewable resources unskillfully.  Ignoring, scientific and common sense considerations, our ‘leaders’ allowed the poisoning of our atmosphere and waters in the interest of “economic development”. To make matters worse, the judiciary who were tasked with protecting public well-being has ‘slumbered’ while the environment was being destroyed by ‘developers’. As clearly pointed out by Justice C.S.Weeramantry in his book ‘The Slumbering Sentinels’ (http://www.wicper.org/resources/view/slumbering_sentinels). It is this process that has pumped our fragile atmosphere full of the gasses that are now destabilizing the climate and bringing about vast human misery by accelerating and intensifying natural disasters.

The activity of economic growth, measured only by such indices as GDP, moves a society to be dependent on consumption. The more one consumes the better the GDP.  To consume more, one must crave more, but to a Buddhist society the karmic consequences of such craving should be obvious ( http://groundviews.org/2011/10/17/development-or-maldevelopment/). Development, beyond the provision of a measure of human well-being, becomes a particular word view often driven by a pecuniary philosophy.  Today the development paradigm is still driven by fear, greed and desire, the same values that created the problems facing us. (http://groundviews.org/2011/11/08/desire-violence-and-leadership/)

Greed and desire powers ‘ growth through cronyism’ which further enriches people with power or capital and creates a class of ‘super rich’, which rapidly widens the inequality gap between rich and poor.  This widening of the gap should be a reason for national concern, because inequality causes shorter, unhealthier and unhappier lives; it increases the rate of teenage pregnancy, violence, obesity, imprisonment and addiction; it destroys relationships between individuals born in the same society but into different classes; It will not bring prosperity to society. ( http://groundviews.org/2012/06/18/the-price-of-inequality/).

Economic Development based on the consumption of fossil energy, has been long cherished myth among some powerful bureaucrats in Sri Lanka. Consider that official announcement made in 1979 states:

No oil means no development, and less oil, less development. It is oil that keeps the wheels of development moving

It is this myth of ‘development’ that has brought us to the energy-addicted state of today and it is this same myth that drives the ‘economic development’ vision of today.

Compare that vision with that of the Shuar peoples of Amazonian Ecuador, under whose territories lie huge reserves of oil. Unlike those eager to extract oil from their territories, they have rejected exploration, they see it as an evil force. They have a saying:

Oil’ represents the sprits of a long dead world, that we use to satisfy our greed for power and sacrifice and our children in return.” (thruths from..).

Here lies a truth that cannot be escaped when looking at climate change. The more fossil fuels we burn the more we compromise the future of the children. No amount of rhetoric can deny the fact that, the more climate changing gasses we emit in the name of development the more we contribute to the climate crisis.

Thus:

As long as the rulers do not accept their responsibilities to protect the well being of the environment that sustains humanity:

The rains will not come in season
The harvests will not be bountiful
The world will not prosper

No amount of burning of petroleum, making roads or cement constructions will make it rain in season. No amount of fossil fertilizers will make our fields bountiful. No amount of loans will make us prosper.

Devo vassatu Kalena
Raja bhavatu dhammiko 

  • Jayalath

    Can we blame the Gravity for the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki during the world war 2 ?
    However , it is not my interest to discuss about the religious things, because it makes me very angry.

    According To the intergovernmental panel on climate change (IPCC).they have predicted 21st century climate changes, and they are expecting a sudden and wholly climatic discontinuities .
    There are several reasons to think that our journey into threshould or tipping point to exist, what there reports telling us is the severe warning of Global temperature rise by more than 2.7 C , and which can cause to meltdown the Greenland glaciers and distabilise the tropical rain forest .

    Once the temperature rose upto 4 C the earth possibly could lose its cooling mechanism .
    We may have ignored the cosequences or forgot how different the climate was in last ice age . Most of the united kingdom and North – western Europe including Scandinavia , had been buried beneath 3000 meters of ice , Glaciers as thick as that Greenland now ,north America was similarly glaciated, despite all this ice it was probably healthier world than now and More vegetation grew, both on land and sea.

    The scientists believe this because abundance of carbon dioxide in the air had been below 200 parts for million .
    It takes a lot of life to pump it down that low .

    They reckon the sea level was 120 meters lower than now, which may explain why Australia was reached by human during the ice age .
    The changes likely in the world to come will, in their different ways, be as greater as or greater than this . The sea cannot rise more than another eighty meters, the amount of extra water which would be released to if the ice of Greenland and Antarctica melted, but world wide torrid conditions would reduce the productivity of the remaining land and sea, and loss of vegetation would slow the rate of removal of Carbon dioxide and so sustain the hotter age for 100.000 years or more .

    In 1800, we only had 1 billion people , this amount may not be incapable of lessening the consequences of global heatings but would have limited the damage by stopping carbon dioxide and methane emmisions ,the temparature rise would then be slower.

    However, now we are in a situation of hopeless, as all seem too late , we have already 7 billion people right now, and it it keep rising further, therefore a huge quantity of Aerosol particals and green house gases releasing to the atmosphere has become inevitable .
    It also suggest to not to forget large and disastrous changes in fresh water abundance, including floods and droughts . It is still far from clear weather the observed rise of sea level of the past fifty years is due mainly to the expansion of ocean water as it warns or mainly to the melting of glaciers. The 2001 IPCC report suggested that expansion was the principal cause of sea level rise, but a 2004 Nature paper by scientists at the national Ocenic essay by Jim Hansen in climate change in 2005, both suggest the increase of Ocean volume is mainly from the melting of land based ice .
    If Hansen is right , then rapidly rising sea levels , will be the greater threats .

    The reason devastations such as New Orleans , and Sandy in newyorkcity reminds us the damage that temporary flooding can cause.excessive rains and surges of sea water driven by storms can be as disturbing as a permanant slow rise in sea level.all these changes in their turn alter the distribution of forest and deserts and the availability of land on which to grow food.
    Although we have much to learn, it does appear probable that in few years , when the carbon dioxide abundance passes 500 ppm ,we will enter the zone where temperature will rise to a new steady state,perhaps six to eight degrees hotter than now.
    But the scientists not known whether this new regime will be stable inthe long term.
    However the theory is now robustly supported by evidence from the earth and it suggest that we have very little time left if we are to avoid the unpleasant change of climate .

    I see science and technology as traits possess by humans that have the potential for great good and great harm.
    Evolution is iterative, mistakes are made, blunders committed , but in time that great correctors And erasers ,natural selection, usually keeps a neat and tidy world. Perhaps our greates error was the conscious abuse of fire. Cooking meat over wood fire may have been acceptable , but the deliberate destruction of ecosystems by fire merely to drive out the animals within was surely our first great sins against the living earth .