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Old 02-01-2009   #1
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Nature Speaking

I live in a village in the Southern Indian State of Kerala. This is a 25 cent plot of land which is landlocked between the hills and valleys and is part of the ancestral property that I got as inheritance. I was born here.

In the historical sense, the land does not belong to me; it is me who belongs to this land and the environment that, since million of years, gave birth and nurtured millions of humans like me. Thus my belonging to this land and the environment here is total, as it has been for several millions born here before me. This only shows as to how important and sacred is this land for me, as well as for the several millions born before me and to be born after me on this piece of land.

I can exploit and feed on this land and the environment here only so far as I can ensure its utility for the coming generation that invariably include my children and my grand children, and my great great grandchildren. And therefore, it is a crime against humanity, including myself, if I use this land in such a vicious way that makes it uninhabitable not only for me but also for the next generation. But the fact is that the land and the environment here are being turned into highly uninhabitable condition for every living species, including humans, mainly because of the highly mechanized and commercialized method of living.

The earth as we immediately apprehend it, what we call the biosphere, is a unitary phenomenon, its various partial systems (weather, oceans, atmosphere, abiogenic matter, organic life including ‘man’) are fully integrated and mutually dependent. It is a self-regulating ‘system’ whose internal diversity (precisely that which market without regard to climate change is destroying) provides its own coherence and guarantees the preservation of life on earth.As the ‘external envelope’ of earth, it orders the constant energy inflow from space (solar energy) on which it is dependent.

However, the constitution of earth’s biosphere has qualitatively changed over geological time, meaning its composition, hence its structure (or the ‘laws’ governing its ‘behaviour’) has also changed in the last 100 years. Industrial air pollution from the developed world, for example, is carried on the dominant wind currents up to the arctic. After settling onto the tundra, snow and ice it is absorbed into the food chain. The people and creatures there have some of the highest concentrations of toxins in their bodies of anywhere on earth. CO2 concentrations are already well above historic maximums. The GWP (Global Warming Potential) of methane gas (CH4) is 21 times greater than the GWP of CO2. Warming could release vast quantities of methane from thawing tundra and sea bed methane hydrates. The most potent research to date indicates that the extent and direction - warming or cooling - of climate change could be much greater and faster than previously predicted.

Now, when I see the unusually erratic weather patterns, the first-time increasing global warming, the Ritas’, the Katrinas’, the Tsunamis, I can’t help thinking it as NATURE is at last SPEAKING to its own highest species Man and giving him warning that his time is up.

In a highly globalized era like ours, it is high time the world should come out with some kind of laws to ensure the non-toxification not only of the land and the environment but also of the mind of the people that simply cannot understand this mortal reality of the criminal, suicidal negligence towards mankind.

John Muthukat
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nature, speaking
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