“Since the material world is temporary, why bother worrying about sustainability at all?” It’s a worthy question that deserves a measured response. Here’s our reply: To protect Lord Krishna’s creation is a sacred responsibility for two reasons:
First, we are duty bound to reclaim the energy of Krishna–earth, water, fire air and ether–in the service of Lord Krishna. Secondly, Srila Prabhupada’s specific Western mission–to deliver the Western countries from the spell of voidism and impersonalism–is unachievable if our mood is one of cavalier indifference towards the environment we depnd on.
Beyond the world of compost piles, worm castings and root cellars is the exciting realm of Krishna conscious eco-outreach. Devotees are uniquely postured to define sustainability through the lens of transcendence, thanks to Srila Prabhupada’s acutely comprehensive teachings. Below you’ll find a partial checklist of cutting edge topics that revolutionize the worldwide dialogue on sustainable development.
Because our approach to sustainability recognizes the futility of trying to make a permanent home in a temporary place, we embrace permaculture as a stepping stone to premaculture.
The world’s oldest continuously existing culture is India (Vedic culture). India is home to over sixty million small-scale farmers, and therefore shelters the oldest farming model and dietary regimen on Earth.
We offer a definitive explanation of cause and effect, not rambling, hodgepodge personal opinions about why “stuff” happens. To make a clear karmic case for the consequences of indiscriminate eating or the plundering of natural resources is to assign responsibility to the individual (personal karma), the leaders of society (accelerated karma for politicians) and collective karma for the society as a whole. The real meaning of sustainability — using Lord Krishna’s creation in His service — has been hijacked by the meat-eating class. They think they “own” the definition because they raise and then slaughter animals using sustainable methods. There’s nothing “sustainable” about accruing bad karma. Is there anything more unsustainable than losing the human form of life? We need to reframe the discussion.
Although becoming a strict vegetarian is uplifting, the activity that connects eating to spiritual advancement is eating sanctified foods. Pigeons, Srila Prabhupada noted, are also vegetarians. Learning about prasadam is attractive to people who are looking beyond the temporary goal of maintaining a healthy body.
The Absolute Truth includes the perfection of the male and female qualities as embodied in the Divine Loving Couple, Radha and Krishna. Popular conceptions about “Goddess worship” and bio-regional consciousness” find completion in connection with Lord Krishna’s position as the seed-giving father.
The rationale for saving animals from abuse and slaughter is meritorious. Not eating any food that is a byproduct of exploitation is also praiseworthy. Making the case, however, that responsible draft animal power is unethical flies in the face of indigenous cultures worldwide who value the animals — especially the cows and bulls — as the ecological cornerstone of a sustainable village life.
Srīmad Bhāgavatam unveils the big picture of how the universe works, including colossal events that rocked the three planetary systems. Topics like puranic (cyclic) time vs. linear time are game changers because they debunk misconceptions about the age of the earth or the idea that mankind is, by nature, a greedy, flesh-eating competitor. Universal scale environmental calamities, such as the earth’s plunge into the Garbodaka Ocean at the hands of Hiraṇyākṣa, provide a theistic counterbalance to Darwinian mythology.
When presented decisively, the Krishna conscious approach to sustainability resonates with practitioners of other religious and spiritual traditions. Learning to speak the language of shared spiritual values opens up doors and hearts.