Let it Begin #6: A Little Green Behind the Eyeballs

by Bhakta Chris

“The earth is providing for all creatures, for all species of life. She is providing everything we need to live a happy and prosperous life even though we are abusing her in so many ways, our own mother the earth. So from the earth we learn how, with no expectation in return, to provide for anyone who comes to us in need”-Radhanath Swami

“Mother Earth is a devotee. So, when you smirk and waste and say she really isn’t your home, when you claim being environmental is just sentiment and a waste of time, and when you don’t do anything about this crisis even though you know better, you’re not really pleasing Krsna, are you?”-some hairy rascal

On the heels of the UN Climate Change panel’s release of a draft of their startling global climate forecast , it is becoming clearer than ever that we have reached the point of no return in terms of the environmental crisis that is Planet Earth. It is so large and so all-encompassing of every culture, belief, and people that it’s going to be your problem sooner rather than later, even if you are not entirely conscious or in agreement with the issues at hand. As devotees, we are in a unique position to be at the forefront of providing the necessary change in consciousness that will allow rapid action to be taken, which will avert a situation that will make all previous wars, famines, droughts, and natural disasters look like a tiff between a couple of young’uns in a sandbox.

It is a big part of our responsibility to not only open a spiritual umbrella of shade for all of our friends and foes everywhere, but also to pick up the trash and plow the land we all are walking on. We can’t fulfill the desires of Lord Chaitanya and Srila Prabhupada if we don’t have a proper home to do it in

So the motto is Act Locally. What are we doing here at New Vrindavan to help the environmental crisis? Some really great things actually…But let me get my complaints out of the way first. At the Festival of Inspiration last year, I was asked to physically walk up on top of the overflowing trash in the three dumpsters we had, and smash it down so that it wouldn’t come cascading out. Blissful, but disgusting, and disconcerting to see all the physical waste such a blessed event produced. Recently, after cleaning out a newly vacated apartment, we proceeded to dump all kinds of clothing, plastics, and appliances right into the dumpster. I meekly protested that this was terrible, but what other alternative was there? And being the czar of the brahmacari kitchen, I am still trying to figure a way to recycle what little cans and cardboard we put out as well, so as to beat down the little hypocritical troll who says I’m thinking and writing much but doing little.

But let me stop the party-pooper train. At New Vrindavan, by following a vegetarian lifestyle, we are already ahead of the curve. (Vegetarianism is the New Pius) As well, our wonderful protection of our many cows is providing the best example of proper care and nurturing love to the most important of animals, and I would suggest each and every one of you let Madhava Ghosh talk your ear off about the importance of making a sustained effort within ISKCON to fully support all organized efforts at cow protection. In general, living simply as we do means we don’t contribute as much as the average American citizen to carbon emissions and air pollution from traveling, eating, and consuming in general.

As Jai Shri Mataji put it quite nicely during her Bhagavatam class last Sunday, most people don’t do anything about the environmental crisis because they are lazy. While I know it’s a lot to ask to create a organized sustained earth-friendly program (community-wide recycling for example) on top of what we’re already doing, I simply pray to the kind devotees here to each act individually in a way that is kind as well to the soil, air, and water that sustains us, and which we take for granted more often than not. Hopefully, by increasing our consciousness even more with this particular situation, we can create a positive wave here at New Vrindavan and help affect the world at large, mitigating the negative waves that are about to crash on our shores and change life as we know it forever.

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