Paper Presentation

Global Warming, Sustainability And Spirituality

  • Event Name: SPIRICON
  • Date: 25-Feb-2006
  • Organizer: SPIRICON, Dayalbagh University, Agra


Ar. Neelam Manjunath
Manasaram Architects, G – 21, Golden Orchid Appt., 10/8, Kasturba Road,
Bangalore – 560 001, India, Ph : 91-80-2229 1951 / 91-80-2224 3643,



Global warming issue is razing across the world like a wild fire, and is forcing the world to come together to take immediate action to save the human race from the dreadful effects of Global warming. And for this Sustainability and sustainable technologies are being advocated as the only panacea. And sustainability means designing and building communities that are sustainable, conserving and restorative with respect to the rest of God’s creation – the environment.

Being sustainable will require us to control the Greed within us and accept the supremacy of nature over us and submit to it in total humility, which is the highest order of technology created by none other than God himself.

Hence living with 100% sustainability will automatically lead to a high order of spiritual life which will produce a Superhuman’s race who will live life fulfilling its true intent.



Man and Nature

Almost all ancient cultures had a belief system and a spirituality that meant an intimate relationship with nature and sustainable lifestyles. In 1854, when a tribes leader in Seattle was asked by Washington to sell his tribes land, his soul cried in anguish thus:  

“How can you buy or sell the sky, the warmth of the land? The idea is strange to us. How do you own the freshness of the air and the sparkle of the water, how can you buy them?...”

“Every part of this Earth is sacred to my people, every shining pine needle, every sandy shore, every mist in the dark woods, every clearing and humming insect is holy in the memory and experience of my people. The sap that courses through the trees carries the memory of the red man.”

“Whatever befalls the Earth befalls the sons of the earth man did not weave the wale of life, he is merely a strand in it. Whatever he does to the web, he does it to himself.”

The belief system of many indigenous tribes (Whom we consider ‘Barbaric’) and of many religions, held the Earth sacred. Hence their cultures and lifestyles treated nature as sacred, like mother, not to be exploited for their benefit without concern for its sustainability.

Christianity said man has been created in the image and likeness of God. He would be the manager or steward of all that God had created – both animals and the earth. The Bible meant that man had to be the caretaker, custodian or the servant. But the Satan in the White man again mislead him to believe that man was created to dominate and control nature. From controlling nature to controlling people was extension of the same philosophy. By 1914, 84.4% of the world was colonized by the Europeans. Then came the concept of Development, Industrialization, liberalization and Superpowers and now Globalization. But nothing has really changed. The Superpowers, the Developed Nations have now found a new way of exploiting the third world countries packaged beautifully in the garb of ‘Help for Development’. This is slavery of a different kind.

This has widened the gap between the poor and rich not only between the industrialized Countries and the third world but also within the poor nations. Our ruling elites have become synchronized with the global elites in their values and lifestyles. These powerful elites will never try to bring peace and prosperity to the general masses of they must maintain the exploitative relationship for their profits and benefits.

Definition of Development

The whole of the Eastern world (including Japan) has been trying to ape the west, catch up with them, borrow their science and technologies and also their concepts of modernization and Industrialization. And it is becoming increasing clear that these borrowed concepts have not worked. They have resulted in a complete breakdown of our social and cultural institutions, of economic and social violence and moralities in the Eastern world.

The word development and prosperity have become synonymous with Exploitative
Consumeristic behavirousism. It is believed that if every man in this world wants to live with facilities like an American, we will need 5 earths to support it. But unfortunately we have only one earth, and a handful of these highly civilized powerful elites have exploited ‘Our Earth’ to such an extent that it has threatened the extinction of the human race  itself including ‘Theirs’.

“Only after the last tree has been cut down, only after the last fish has been caught, only after last river has been poisoned, only then will you realize that money cannot be eaten”
– Native American Saying.

Causes of Global Warming

Kam, Krodh, Lobh, Moh and Ahankar i.e. Greed or hunger for power and worldly pleasures and possessions has led mankind to a state like Bhamasur, who tried to destroy ‘Shiva’ itself who had given him the vardan. And in Ahankar he ultimately became destroyer of his own self.

Hence if we want to save the human race from miseries, tsunamis, Katrina’s etc, etc., we have to control the five enemies within ourselves i.e. Kam, Krodh, Lobh, Moh and Ahankar. We have to believe in the ‘Supremacy of Nature’ over us and submit to it in complete  humility. This Nature is undoubtedly created by God because its only he who can create (Humans cannot create) – “The Creator”.

And we need to realize that whatever this Nature offers has to be shared, shared with the whole human race. It has been proved beyond doubt that as small as a hairspray used by people at some location affects the ‘Ozone hole’ at the poles. Hence, more than ever in the history of mankind, the human race needs to come closer and together to better the living conditions on this earth through joint initiatives and actions. Each and every one of us will have to forget our differences and work towards a better and healthier Earth.

Spirituality of Sustainability.

Hence the Global Warming issues are forcing the world to come together not just for economic progress but for the welfare of the human race as well.

Sustainable technologies are being developed for all kinds of commodities within the gambit of nature. Hence they will be a benign to nature.

Sustainable communities are being developed across the world along the line of Environment friendly technologies where:

  1. People are learning to say ‘NO’ to excessive and wasteful use of energy, commodities etc.,
  2. They are learning the three R’S – Reduce, Reuse and Recycle.
  3. They are turning towards Alternative medicines like Ayurveda, Homeopathic, TM etc., which are based on the Principle that every thing in nature is in equilibrium, including man. And hence any disease is merely a disconnection of intelligence from its source or wholeness.
  4. Organic faming, vermiculture composting, waste water recycling, Rain Water Harvesting etc., are some of the nature friendly technologies being used in these communities.
  5. The best result of this drive for sustainability is the realization by the people that they cannot do anything alone. They cannot solve their problems alone – “Man is a social animal” – a definition long forgotten is being realized with full force by everybody across the world.
  6. So, people are coming together, taking responsibilities and actions together
  7. towards common goals of the community – resulting in better community life.
  8. On the other hand there is a strong realization that Modern Industrialization which advocated that “Scientific knowledge is technological power over nature” has been leading us the garden path to polluted air, water, overcrowded and diseased slums etc., - a very un – Sustainable and disastrous consequence. And this model has utterly failed.
  9. And a new realization that “Nature is the highest order of science and technology and man is merely a strand in it” is dawning over the human race. Man is now trying to understand that he cannot control nature and if he has to live healthily and meaningfully, he should once again learn to live in harmony with Nature and the Narture’s laws.

This submission to the ‘Power of Nature’ is bringing humility in people. They are understanding that there is somebody who is way powerful than them who has created this universe and is running it effortlessly – The Supreme One – The Father.


Hence it can be concluded that – Sustainability without Spirituality is like contradiction in terms. They go hand in hand. Living  in a sustainable manner definitely helps in spiritual growth. It also explains why environment has been a religious issues since times immemorial (Even prehistoric)

Slowly the Development agencies and economists are also recognizing that Development is a process that encompasses both the spiritual and material aspects of life; that personal transformation has to go hand in hand with social change. All the problems of our times – Spiritual, Cultural, Social and economic are interdependent and interconnected. The New Development paradigm must therefore be holistic and consistent with the spiritual traditions of the people.

Science and religion are two sides of the same coin. Hence, sustainability – A scientific solution to the Global Warming issue is based on deep spiritual and religious experience. When Development is consistent with spiritual traditions we can talk about a Paradigm shift: from the perspective of our relationship to one another, to future generations and to the web of life of which we are merely a strand. And we will then be able to realize the concept of “Fatherhood of God and Brotherhood of man”

All the facts stated above leads me to believe that this “Global Warming” is an act of the Supreme Being to bring the whole world together, make them realize the power of the Creator “GOD” and understand the true meaning and intent of their life on earth.

Lecture on Development : Spirituality and Sustainability by Kamala Chowdhry



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