Ayurvedic Thoughts on Global Warming
The climate change is real, most of us agree on that. Even many of the so-called deniers admit that the change is happening, although they may not agree on what or who has caused it. Nevertheless, the warming of our planet is a reality and we can observe it directly in many ways.
What is climate change in Ayurvedic terms? How does it translate to the ancient language of natural healing? Ayurvedic knowledge is based on how nature regulates itself, how living beings find comfort in the environment. In that context, what is the consequence of the global heat increase on the levels of comfort of organic life on the planet?
Plants and animals live through life by adjusting to the conditions around them. The species evolve as a result of the interaction with the environment. The survival is dependent on the ability to adjust to new conditions. The healthier an organism the better it tolerates changing conditions. The global warming is asking more and more tolerance due to the rising temperatures. Today and tomorrow every single living cell will be adapting to warmer and warmer surroundings, including the ones in your own body.
To speak about global warming in Ayurvedic terms we firstly need to understand that in Ayurveda nature is observed through how it feels like, not what it is made of. Feelings of hot, cold, wet, dry, heavy, light and many other attributes can be associated easily with climatic conditions. The balance and comfort are found by promoting theopposite quality if the climate feels unpleasant. You can see heat makes us sweat, cold makes us shiver. Dryness leaves us craving for water. These are a few very obvious mechanisms that regulate our bodies through feelings in order to stay in an area of comfort.
Some people are hot and some are cold by nature depending on how their blood circulates. Hot and cold can alternate in one single person from moment to moment. The ones having a hot disposition feel the effects of warming more easily. Heat becomes an unpleasant feeling. Ever heard an expression “hot and bothered”?That’s exactly how hot people usually get when they are out of their comfort zone and they are under stress. Impatience, irritability and anger are the ways they tend to respond if they cannot get cool. Global warming is affecting everyone. It is especially having an influence on people with hot disposition and as if by magic, politicians and business people tend to be more of a hot disposition.
Why and how is world economy and politics driven by hot and bothered people? This is because the achievers are generally hot people. They often end up in positions of power. Heat is a driver for action to create change. Like fire burns wood to ash, an achiever wants to create change in a direction that is in line with his or her beliefs. When heat is controlled and balanced the driving energy is usually of a positive type and tends to be less of an ego driven action. Excess heat brings on the opposite. Impatience generates hasty decisions and with one’s own interest in mind. Good achievers become stressed out overachievers with personal interest in mind.
Global warming is playing a part in challenging our ability to cope with heat. It expresses itself through more irritability, anger and violence. You just have to look what the media, TV and social media have to offer to make that claim. The political platform is governed by right wing ideals, which lean towards more extreme expressions of fanatism and fascism. Anger and hatred dominate the language used in newspapers, TV presenters express opinions and push content that promote the current sentiment of frustration and anger, social media is abundant with fear mongering memes, global companies and large scale industrialists laugh at the faces of taxpayers and general feeling of intolerance grows and grows. I don’t even want to start on the military conflicts, the threat of war and actual wars.
Humans, like all other living forms are influenced by raised levels of heat. It is also clear that heat increases heat. Try having a glass of red wine and chew on jalapeños in a hot weather. It might make you sweat. Today we have hot people in an increasingly heating environment in a spiralling vortice that might result in a catastrophe. We’re going to be cooked, some slowly some fast. The earth is overheated on its surface and below. You just need to think about the recent forest fires in in all continents. Then there’s the threat of super volcanos erupting in Italy and California. Hurricanes are stronger because of the heat and resulting evaporation from the seas. Hot, dry and arid lands erode into the sea contributing to the desertification of the terrestrial areas.
The good and the bad of this situation is that humans have contributed greatly to the global heat increase. I’d like not to go to talk bad about people so I’m going to focus on the good. The hope lies in humanity being able to make a change. We are beings with intelligence and awareness. The only way for human race to survive is to make a great change to cool down. It’s an Ayurvedic manoeuvre to make us feel comfortable and safe again. To come together and protect our planet earth by comforting each other, slowing down, grading down, simplifying, de-globalising industries in terms of stopping overachieving. It has been proven that we can sustain ourselves better on a small scale. We need to engage in activities, politics and economics included, that arise from a cool place of patience and calm, consideration, empathy and sympathy.
The heat, however, does not come only in the form of global warming. It also presents itself in what we eat. Processed foods are highly heating i.e. inflammatory. In fact, the most pressing health issue today is chronic low-grade inflammation or in Ayurvedic words excess heat. Bad fats, especially heated oxygenated vegetable oils (cooking oil from a clear plastic bottle), are present in nearly all processed foods. White salt, sugar and wheat are now called anti-nutrients as they present no nutritional values at all. Instead, they cause inflammation.
We need cooling down our attitudes and opinions, cooling down activity, cooling our bodies and minds and slow down, stop creating all this heat in order to save our planet. The Earth is a gigantic self-regulating organism that goes through periods of cold and warmth from time to time. Our responsibility now, in order to savethe life on Earth, is to try with everything we got not to tip the balance over and escalate an adjustment on an unprecedented level by a mega-organism. Cooling down might sound naïve in the complexity of the platform of world politics and economics. If you think about it, however, it really doesn’t have to be that difficult. By the law of opposites everything has a potential of being balanced. In Ayurveda we always look at the big picture and on the world stage we find that the main problem is overheating. It is affecting not only the nature around us but also our bodies and minds. Ayurveda is great because the answers are simple. Complications are resolved by simplifying. Equally, for us to find balance and comfort again we need to chill out. The right answers to our ecological disaster come from that cool place.