2008 — Most Philosophical 3rd Grader in America:
Nimai C. Agarwal, Maryland.
Is global warming the greatest challenge facing humankind?
Global warming is a symptom of disconnect from our divine nature. Since we are not connected to our divine nature, we think that everything in this world is for our enjoyment. Like Mahatma Gandhi once said, “There is enough for every man’s needs, but not enough for one man’s greed.” When we are not satisfied with what we have, we think by getting more, we will be happy but instead of being happy, we want more.
Every year I go to a rural village in India. It’s so simple there, with hardly any material opulence, but still I love it because of its spiritual atmosphere. The freshness of the air, the sound of the birds chirping mixed with sacred chants, the taste of fresh water and the brilliance of the sky fills me up with wonder and happiness. I feel as if I don’t need TV, computer games, etc, but when I am home, I feel as if I can’t live without them. Just like if you take a fish out of water and give it an opulent bed, nice food and drinks it will not be happy, but when you put it back into the water, it will be perfectly satisfied.
In the same way, since we are spiritual beings, all these material objects can never make us happy, instead they make us hanker for more. As Saint Francis of Assisi showed in his life, he gave up all his wealth and lived as a hermit, serving the creation of god. He was always happy and peaceful.
We have this great spiritual hankering but we try to fill it up with material objects. We are never satisfied, so we keep on consuming and exploiting nature. Before care were invented people either walked on foot or used horse drawn carriages. Then people thought that horse stool caused too much pollution and that it took too much time to get from one place to another. In due course of time people invented cars. We thought that our problems have ended, but cars only caused more pollution than horse carriages. When we try to solve material problems with material solutions, it causes more problems than before.
A polluted environment is a symptom of our polluted consciousness. We try to find happiness in material objects, but material happiness does not make us happy. It is like a mirage. We keep on chasing after it but we never reach it. In the process we exploit and use nature. That causes pollution, and pollution causes problems like global warming etc. So global warming is just a symptom of disconnect from our divine nature.
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