Question: Is there a real solution to the problem of global warming?
Acharya Prashant: At the root of the climate catastrophe lies man’s tendency to consume and man consumes in three clear ways and three distinct ways. Man wants to consume the entire world and the entire world consists of human beings, prakratik beings which you call as natural beings and man-made things. Man consumes all three and consumption of all three leads to carbon emissions.
When you consume another human being, what do you get? Kids. And that is the biggest cause of carbon emissions. When you consume man-made things, again what do you emit? Carbon, because whatever is man-made is made using energy and energy comes from fossil fuels. So, whenever you are consuming something man-made, you are causing carbon emissions. And the third thing is the consumption of natural resources. Whether you are eating vegetables, whether you are a vegan or not, or whether you are consuming meat, all of this is highly carbon-emitting. Even if you are vegan you will eat grains at least. Where will the grains come from? They can only come by felling forests.
We need two things- fewer people and less consumption and both of them together.
You need a situation where there are not more than two or three billion people in the world, that has been scientifically calculated to be the sustainable limit. And currently, we are eight billion, we need to reduce it to two or three billion. And secondly, those two or three billion people have to be spiritual so that they do not have the tendency to consume.
Unless you are spiritual you are bound to be living the consumption centric life. The very urge for liberation when it does not find an outlet becomes the urge to consume.
Where does the tendency to consume so much come from? It comes from the misidentified and thwarted urge towards liberation. If you will not provide liberation to a man, his energies will flow in the direction of consumption.
Think of it, whenever you go emotional you start releasing carbon dioxide. When you go emotional, you either drink and that is carbon or you go and have a party and that is carbon. Now you see why lack of spirituality is the biggest problem because when you do not operate from a spiritual centre then you operate from an emotional centre. These emotions are what is causing climate change. And I am really surprised that so many people who are highly emotional are into climate activism. The entire problem is of emotions. You are so emotional about that next foreign holiday, right? That is carbon-intensive. You are so emotional about having a good nice nest of your own, that is carbon. You are so emotional about having two nice kids, that is emotion and that is carbon. Emotion equals carbon in a big way.
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