The Environment Supports Us- About Time We Reciprocate

Go Green - Save Environment
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The environment is that which surrounds us. It encloses all we do. It holds us. It provides the conditions that allow us, our systems and our organisations to exist. 

Preservation of the environment ensures that that which holds us, that which provides conditions that allow us, our systems, and organizations to continue to exist. Preservation ensures the environment is not destroyed, not exploited, made unlivable, or altered adversely by our activities.

The tissues in our body form the environment for its cells. The organs the environment for our tissues and the whole of our body, the environment for our organs. The cells probably are unaware that the tissue is living, much the same way that the tissue is unaware that the organs are living. The organs are not aware that the organism is alive.

Much the same way, we do not recognize that the environment is alive. 

James Lovelock, Independent scientist, environmentalist from Dorset in England, recognized the earth as living in 1972 and proposed to name it Gaia. The hypothesis that like organisms, the earth was living came to be called as the Gaia hypothesis.

According to the Gaia hypothesis the organisms the earth supports the organisms and in turn the organisms keep the earth healthy. This is symbiosis.

The cells have a symbiotic relationship with the tissues. The tissues have a symbiotic relationship with the organs. The organs have a symbiotic relationship with the organism. When the symbiosis breaks down, and the cells exploit the tissue, the exploitative relationship is called cancer. Just as a parasitic relationship of our cells is cancer, the parasitic relationship of humans and our habitats on earth is cancer. Just as such cancerous growth makes conditions unlivable for our bodies, the cancerous growth of our habitats makes conditions unlivable for the earth. 

To ensure symbiosis, every day must be the World Environment Day. Preserving the environment is necessarily preserving the symbiosis. 

What are our activities that destroy the symbiosis?

Would it be symbiotic if cells invented technologies to draw more resources from the tissue? Would it be symbiotic if cells hoarded resources or decided to grow without regard to the tissue? Would it be symbiotic if the cells were to create means to exchange resources for their profit? Would it be symbiotic to negotiate resource availability?

Would it be symbiotic if the blood vessels that bring nutrients were exploited, encroached, or polluted by the cells? Of course not. We would describe these as exploitation, as parasitic.

We invent technologies that draw more water, materials, energy from our environment. We create cities that grow unrestricted. We create economic engines and markets that exploit the environment for profit. We create political platforms to negotiate exploitation of the environment. We exploit our streams, rivers, and groundwater. We encroach on the very streams, rivers and groundwater streams that bring us water, bring us life. We pollute the very streams, rivers and groundwater streams that sustain us. Are these symbiotic behaviors? Of course not. These are as exploitative and parasitic as the cancer cells.


Can we, then, preserve our environment without ending our exploitative and parasitic behavior? 

The climate breakdown, the water stress and scarcity, the pollution are all symptoms of our exploitative and parasitic behavior. The only way we can solve these crises is by finding back symbiotic relationships with Gaia, our living earth.

The United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution, on December 15, 1972, naming June 5 as the World Environment Day.

It urged “Governments and the organizations in the United Nations system to undertake on that day every year world-wide activities reaffirming their concern for the preservation and enhancement of the environment, with a view to deepening environmental awareness and to pursuing the determination expressed at the Conference.” 

If the United Nations intention is to be meaningful, we need governments and organizations to begin by recognizing and listing their exploitative and parasitic behaviors. No Environmental Impact Analysis and no Environmental Clearance can preserve the environment. This day, no organization without a list of its exploitative and parasitic behaviors is environmentally aware. We need the organizations to prepare action plans to end the exploitation and revert to symbiosis. No organization without a plan to revert to symbiotic behavior has affirmed its commitment to the environment.

No organization that does not ensure symbiosis beyond the Short Now, or a hundred years or the lifetime of a child born today, can be aware of the environment.

This World Environment Day, can we begin by making our governments and organizations aware of the environment? Can we begin by helping them recognize and create a list of their exploitative and parasitic behaviors?

Can we begin by helping them prepare action plans that drive symbiotic behavior in place of exploitative parasitic one? Can we start with listing our own parasitic behavior and creating action plans to replace them with symbiotic behavior?

Can we become aware of Gaia, the living being that we are a part of, and that which sustains us? 


Anupam Saraph

Anupam Saraph

Dr. Anupam Saraph grew up in a Pune that was possibly a tenth of its current expanse and every road was lined by 200 year old trees. He’s committed to the cause of de-addicting the short-termers.

He can be reached @AnupamSaraph
Anupam Saraph