Last week's article - about U-turns - brought me to thinking about the state of affairs on Climate Change, especially in view of the fact that the UK has a major target to achieve by 2050. The thought can easily be "is the UK really serious about the subject, or is it just talking?".
Well, surprisingly enough, the UK has made it a legal commitment to be responsible in this matter in the Climate Change Act, 2008. One clause states: "It is the duty of the Secretary of State to ensure that the net UK carbon account for the year 2050 is at least 80% lower than the 1990 baseline." The UK had in fact (according to reports) accomplished 30% against the 1990 baseline by 2015, so it does appear that there is not a lot of shilly-shallying that the government can do, and some progress has been made (it would appear). The rules are laid out in stone.
But the recent Paris Convention was a call to all major nations to take the matter seriously: the UK (nor any single country) can tackle the issue on its own. Unity in purpose is a priority, and previously designated Third World Countries can no longer use the excuse that "the Western World did its best to pollute before we got going, and now we have some catching up to do." However, it did not pass the attention of many that the main sponsors of the Paris Convention were some of the big names in business, so we probably are justified in being cynical about how pure the intentions of the delegates were at Paris.
One of the greatest problems I see in relation to dealing with the Climate Change issue is that there is so much adverse activity in the world, especially with regard to the Middle East and the on-going fight against ISIL/Daesh and other rogue organisations and states. War must be regarded as a big polluter (apart from its other negative attributes), and since the Middle East has not seen much let up this past 12 or 13 years, we should probably assume that any 2050 targets set by the world's nations may well be offset by the polluting effects of War - and, indeed, the industry needed to manufacture the arms that are used.
And, indeed, 2050 is nearly 35 years away. Perhaps it will be too late for de-polluting policies to take effect for many, and only this week it was published that some minor (non-inhabited) reef-islands in the Solomon Isles have gone under the oceanic waves. However, larger islands in that group and which are inhabited are already under attack from rising waters and have been for a long time.
For my part, I am keen to know what we really mean by 'pollution'. Does the emphasis on lowering industrial activity and moving to 'green' policies solve the issue? Well I'm not sure it does, particularly in that warfare and the arms industry is still full at it.
I am more inclined to take the view that there are much wider issues that involve 'pollution', and to illustrate what I mean I would like to quote a wonderful and great holy man, Sri Sathya Sai Baba, whose talk in November, 1991 is taken for this purpose. Sathya Sai states (in this English translation from Telugu):
The benefits to be derived from the five elements (in the form of sound, touch, light, taste and smell) are not being rightly enjoyed. They are being misused. Because man is abusing the God-given elements and faculties he is forfeiting God's grace and is becoming a victim of Divine displeasure. The five elements have also turned against man. They are despising man for the way he is degrading them.Those last words really are an indicator that everything in the world is inter-related, and we upset their balance at our peril. Sai goes on:
If we try to find out what is at the root of all the troubles and worries men experience today, it will be seen that man's abuse of the five elements is the cause. Therefore, see good, hear what is good, and be good. When people behave in this manner, the five elements will shower their benefits on them.Yes, whether we like it or not, we really do have a need to be more pure in how we live. I cannot see how that requirement can be avoided in order to divert tragedy, and enough teachers have lived on this planet over thousands of years to instill that thought. Our thoughts can too easily turn into wrong actions, therefore we should control our thoughts. Importantly, Sai adds:
Education should be for leading a good life and not [merely] for earning a livelihood. To learn from a scientist the chemical composition of water is a kind of knowledge, which may help man to get a job. But how to make the right use of water so that all can share its benefits is knowledge of the Spirit. This higher knowledge elevates life and makes it meaningful.The overwhelming need is for academic study and spiritual study to work hand-in-hand to achieve the desired result to alleviate Climate Change and also to bring harmony between peoples and nature itself.
Thank you for reading this.