There’s a war going on just outside your door. I’m not referring to the war in Iraq, Afghanistan or Israel. Those wars are only symptoms of a greater war; the war against Mother Nature, a battle for life itself.
The destruction of the environment is the most important issue that all the inhabitants of this world face now and will face more and more in the future, if it still exist. Hand in hand with the destruction of the earth is the destruction of Her inhabitants because you cannot separate this planet from its life forms.
The most profound act a person can do these days is the have the courage to care about the suffering of others. The need to extend our compassion outside of ourselves, our small circle of family and friends could never be more vital. In our times the atrocities committed against animals in the name of human progress is the most important issue facing us all, most all other issues stem from it. Water pollution, soil erosion, chemical pollution, dying oceans, the extinction of many species of animals, deforestation, poverty and all forms of violence including war. The exploitation of others only leads to suffering for all.
- Raising animals for food causes more water pollution in the US than any other industry.
- More than half the water consumed in the US is used to raise animals for food
- Of all fossil fuels used in the US more than 1/3 is used by the meat and dairy industry (that explains some of our need for more and more oil)
- 45% of the total land in the US is used to raise animals for food (this includes the crops grown to feed them, most likely highly saturated with pesticides)
- 260 million acres of US forest have been cleared to grow crops to feed animals raised for meat, another acre of trees disappears every 8 seconds.
- 25 billion animals are slaughtered for food in the US each year! (this number includes land and sea creatures) This statistic is staggering considering that there are a total of 6 billion human beings on the entire planet.
Most of us can get a bit confused when it comes to understanding in terms of millions and billions. Do you know the difference between a million and a billion? The following example is from the Methodist minister, Ernie Bringas: If you took hundred dollar bills and stacked them one on top of the other from the ground up, a million dollars’ worth would reach three and a half feet high not even close to one story high. A billion dollars’ worth would reach thirty-six feet higher than the Empire State Building that’s over 102 stories. There are many casualties in war; an awful lot of suffering, sadness and violence permeating the atmosphere we all share. These are war crimes against Nature, which our present culture not only sanctifies but promotes as the foundation of our US economy and lifestyle. Some may say, “But I’m just interested in the physical benefits of yoga.” I would say then, you definitely should embrace vegetarianism, environmental concerns and political activism, because what could be more physical than what you eat? Where you live? And who you live with? I hope that in the near future these issues will be embraced by yogis and seem as normal to the practice as Surya Namaskar.
Traditionally the yogi has been that member of society who devoted him or herself to the pursuit of enlightenment through finding means to live harmoniously with the earth and all Her creatures. Yogis are radical, meaning they go to the root. Kindness to all beings is the root of enlightenment. War never brings peace it only brings more war. Kindness leads to peace through spiritual activism. If we truly want World Peace we must begin by embodying that peace ourselves. Speak out for peace, live peacefully and think well of others. Do what you can to uplift the lives of others. Give up the love of power for the power of love. Peace will come when we have given up hateful thoughts, cruel words and violent actions in our daily lives. Don’t wait for a better world. Start now to create a world of harmony and peace. It is up to you. It always has been.