Gratitude for Life

Sunrise Sri Pada

While the word biodiversity is gaining currency worldwide as a result of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) an internationally binding set of agreements. Whose articles are legally binding and used today to address some or other aspect of nature. Thus it is critical to appreciate the true nature of biodiversity and what role it has in our future.

Biodiversity is the measure of the variability of living organisms at any spatio-temporal point i.e. the number of different species at anyplace at any given time.   It does not mean wild, endemic, rare or even native, it is merely a measure of diversity.  This measure has various meanings, from indicating a potential for conservation to indicating changes in the environment.  It also signifies the way natural cycles work, cycling  substances such as carbon, oxygen  or water.  The conservation of biodiversity refers to the conservation of this diversity of actions.

The variability of our living world, has been the source of human inspiration across cultures and ages, resulting in art, philosophy and spirituality.  It is an issue today, because such human inspiration cannot be appreciated by a non-human system.  The beauty and wonder of the living world does not have meaning in the marketplace.  A non–living corporation claiming the same rights as a living human being , does not place as much value on an environment benign to life, as a living being will.  Sadly, this process has created monocultures of economic expediency that so clearly erode the biodiversity and sustainability on the lands they operate on.  The erosion of biodiversity is a clear signal that the functioning of the very life support system itself is being impacted.

Much of this corporate activity stems from the fact that we have committed ourselves to accepting the norms of consumerist, growth oriented society as indicators of development.  ‘Economic Development’ has become the watchword, with no question of what  uncounted externalities contribute to that economic development.  Here we seek to create venture capital, investment funds and other monetary structures that require  increasing rates of consumption to fuel its existence.  To create consumption we have developed the art of creating desire, the goal of which is to consume yet another product.  While trapped in the endless activity of fulfilling this desire we are numb to the problems of the world.  We do not even appreciate the rapid removal of conditions necessary for the continued existence of genetic, ecological and cultural information.  These are seen to be unimportant to modern society and economic development. Such losses have now reached critical proportions in some areas, but the actions leading to such losses are vindicated by the human value system called the consumerist, growth oriented society.  This value system claims to represent the will of humanity.

Using a theory called “consumer’s sovereignty”, where whatever contributes to the satisfaction of the individual is decreed good and whatever detracts from individual satisfaction is decreed bad; the salesmen of the world set about the activity of creating desire. To help the process along a pecuniary philosophy of ‘educating’ the consumer to develop wants that they never had before and then sell those wants is instituted as marketing.

The result is that, more and more resources are  required to satisfy the individuals desires and preferences.  Meanwhile, the individual preference is constantly being re-defined by the pecuniary action of these same salesmen.  The outcome of their activities has been to place an ever-increasing demand on resources be they renewable or non-renewable.  As the values and ideals of the consumerist, growth oriented society becomes identified as ‘Economic Growth’ and extends to include more and more of humanity, there is a proportionate reduction in the ability of life to sustain itself.  The loss of biomass and biodiversity are but two signs of erosion of the life support systems that humanity relies on.

However, the acceptance of this problem will not be easy for most.  Compassion and care are wonderful goals, but who can do what Jesus, the Buddha, The Prophet and countless other teachers failed to do for humanity?  The activity of modern society is the proof that it is the antithesis of their values now guides ‘development’.  Perhaps humanity has abandoned its old teachers to follow the pied pipers of money along its calculated way.  After all what proportion of human activity today goes in the service of its new god, money?  For that is where the power of life and death or the difference between comfort and discomfort lie today.

Thus if we are to conserve biodiversity, waiting for the world to become compassionate, may be too expensive in terms of lost species and time.  We have to institute activity that results in the conservation of biodiversity now.  If the consumerism is the dominant paradigm we must learn how to work within it to protect biodiversity, this does not mean that we give up the effort to transform the paradigm, rather to recognize the reality of our situation and respond effectively. If nothing else, as an act of gratitude for the living beings that we are !

  • Jayalath

    An artical of real life , thank you very much . Our awareness about the real life is very little , also it is too late now . The scientists named the damage of Biodiversity as suicidal . The scientists defining this process further as BIOSPHERE , which is not more than the Geographical region where life exist , the thin Spherical bubble at the Earth’ s surface .

    The earth is almost entirely made of hot or Molten rock and metal , in this thin spherical shell of matter that surrounds the incandescent interior, it begins where the crustal rocks meet the magma of the earth’ s hot interior , about 100 miles below the surface , and proceeds another 100 miles outwards through the ocean and air to the even hotter thermosphere at the edge of space it includes the biosphere and is a dynamic physiological system that has kept our planet fit for life for over three billion years.

    What amazes me is , it appears to have the unconscious goal of regulating the climate and the chemistry at a comfortable state for our life .
    However if the temparature rises above about 12 C , if this happened the oceans become desert .because its stable surface layer of warm water forms that stays unmixed with the cooler, nutrient rich waters below , this purely physical property of ocean water denies nutrients to the life in the warm layer, and soon the upper sunlit ocean water becomes a DESERTS , therefore it is essential to keep the earth cooler, unless we would not alive to eat HALAL FOODS.

    In this case it worth to assess how the humans contributions over the serious damage to our natural system ,human population increase, degration of land , depletion of resources accumulation of wastes, pollution of all kinds , climate change and direct destruction to biodiversity .

    So, what we have to do ? And how can we save ourselves ?
    ACCORDING to the scientists assessments , if we carry on how we do today( regarding the rising population in the world ) that only handfuls of humans and animals will survive at the end of this century . I am very sorry , there are no GODS to save you my friends , even if you pray ten times a day and bath the BODHIYA with tons of litres of MILKS that will not be enought to save us . We only can save a bit only if we were wise to realise it in advance and do every thing we can do to prevent it . Please reads a book called Revenge of Gaia . Please regards it is not to the BIGOTS .

  • Jayalath

    To Ranil .

    Kindly could you watch a program on Young television Asia called PARISARA ViNASAYA And SANWARDANAYA.
    dear , Ranil , you will know what is exactly has been happening to the environment by so called developments in this area and the cosequences that our children will face in the future as a result of this deforestation . It is directly affect to the rare species habitant in these areas , therefore is there any chance that you can expose this destruction and take some measures to educate politician about the implications of environmental destruction by this type of development of this area .if you can do that , that would be a great thing to think yourself as well . We have minimum chances of doing some thing to our nature ourself to protect it from the devils and human animals , therefore I think every single word you write and speak to save the forest will benifit your descendants in the future .
    Please if there any thing that we can do internationally or locally that we should do. My mail is .

    [email protected]

    And why can’t Mr. Champaka Ranawaka who can’t interfer to do some thing as he always talks big stories over the environment . Please if you have any good new let me know .