Today, there is much talk about water scarcity and other ecological issues that humanity is facing. The fundamental behind all these problems is the human being. If any other species had perpetrated the kind of damage that we have to the planet, we would have found a way to deal with them. If billions of Martian locusts landed here and began to cut through all our trees, turn our soil into deserts, and suck the water out of our rivers – we would have definitely exterminated them. But the problem is not alien locusts. The problem is us.
Since we are the source of the problem, we can also be the source of the solution. We are a problem only because we are in an unconscious, compulsive mode of action. If we were conscious, we would naturally be a solution. This is why I have been working with United Nations agencies and other forces, and proposing this idea of a “Conscious Planet” movement.
Vote for Ecology
There are 5.2 billion people living in countries with the ability to vote and elect their nation’s leadership. We are looking at how to get at least three billion people on board so that ecological issues become the issues that elect governments. We want to make these three billion people aware of at least five ecological aspects that must happen in their country, and two or three aspects that must not happen. If we do this, then ecology will become if not number one, at least the number two issue in election manifestos.
As a part of the Conscious Planet movement, I am trying to bring focus to the most important aspect of rejuvenating this planet: the soil. Everything you see as life on this planet – including worms, insects, birds, animals, plant life, and ourselves – happens out of just thirty-nine inches of soil profile. The real damage is happening to this topsoil, which sustains every life that we know. If we can ensure the soil is organically rich and healthy, the planet will be capable of regenerating itself, and we will be able to manage the other problems, to a large extent.
Right now over 95% of the global population have absolutely no awareness of the ecological disaster building around them. Ecological awareness is confined only to a small segment of people, and even among them, the idea of ecology is largely limited to using less water while showering or turning off the tap when brushing teeth. It is wonderful that people are conscious about what they are using, but this is not a comprehensive ecological solution. Only when ecology becomes an election issue, will it become government policy, and only then will there be large budgets allocated so that solutions manifest.
Restoring Ecology Is Profitable
If we want to make this happen, there has to be a marriage between economy and ecology. Today, we have structured society such that ecology and economy are in conflict with each other. If we pitch ecology versus economy, economy will always win. You can see this happening everywhere in the world. But restoring ecology can actually be very lucrative. This is the essence of our Cauvery Calling campaign, to revitalize River Cauvery in southern India.
We have been looking at transitioning farmers from short-term farming to long-term agroforestry – tree-based agriculture, the practice of tree cultivation along with other crops. In this process, farmers would plant 2.42 billion trees in the Cauvery River basin. This will cover one third of the basin under shade, in turn increase ground water levels and bring back the river flow. Moreover, farmers will benefit from improved soil fertility, better crop yields, and above all, an exponential surge in their income. In Tamil Nadu we have converted 69,760 farmers into tree-based agriculture and within five to seven years, their wealth has increased by 300-800%. We want to make Cauvery Calling a demonstrable large-scale model that can be replicated for other rivers.
Ranked amongst the fifty most influential people in India, Sadhguru is a yogi, mystic, visionary and a New York Times bestselling author Sadhguru has been conferred the Padma Vibhushan by the Government of India in 2017, the highest annual civilian award, accorded for exceptional and distinguished service.
Views expressed are personal