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Climate Engineering The Indic Philosophy Way

www.speakingtree.in | October 29, 2021
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According to the scientific consensus, the only way to limit climate change is cleaning the toxic elements through climate engineering’s ‘negative emission’ techniques that will remove carbon dioxide from the planet’s atmosphere and will reduce the amount of sunlight reaching Earth.

Carbon Dioxide Removal (CDR) is about managing the air and earth, and Solar Radiation Management (SRM) is about managing the sun.

Several religious leaders have expressed their concerns about CDR and SRM climate engineering technologies as ‘playing God’ with nature. From Hinduism’s perspective, climate engineering involves dealing with the Panch Mahabhutas, five natural elements -- space, air, fire, water, and earth. The human body and the five elements are interdependent, thus defining human relationship with the environment. Jainism also refers to the five elements as living beings with souls, which merit compassion and non-violence.

Let us look at two legends from Hindu mythology to analyse the climate engineering strategies of SRM and CDR. One legend is close to what we seek to achieve in CDR to cleanse some of the toxicity we have accumulated in the recent past. In this legend, a negative force is created accidentally, and then a specific power is created to rectify the mistake.

Mahishasur was a king who gained a near immortality boon after a long, rigorous penance where he would be invincible to all except a woman. After obtaining this boon, he defeated the devas, divine powers, and began using his power to destroy the world. Angry at Mahishasur's victories and powerless to control him, the devas assembled to create a powerful mass of light and strength, originating from their collective anger and energies. This mass then transformed into the powerful Mahishasur Mardini, a new form of Durga. Endowed with the weapons and the power of each of the gods, this incarnation of ‘Shakti’ -- the power that runs the universe -- then killed the demon and saved the world. Like Mahishasur, green house gases will remain immortal unless we develop a new panacea to remove them from the planet forever.

Another legend is about SRM, mentioned in the Mahabharat. At one point in the war, Arjun takes an oath to kill the villain Jayadrath before sunset the next day. He cannot find Jayadrath, who is hiding behind an impregnable wall of soldiers throughout the day. Moments before dusk, Krishn temporarily stops the sunlight, creating the illusion of a sunset that causes Jayadrath to emerge from hiding, and seizing the opportunity, Arjun kills him. We can compare the problem of climate change with the hostile character, Jayadrath, and Krishn’s act of creating a temporary illusion as an SRM technique. As SRM techniques try to control the sun for a short duration, we must use that period to work in unison with a similar urgency to deal with the root causes of the problem of climate change.

The analogy from the above legends is that both CDR and SRM techniques should also be deployed with significant responsibility to avoid further side effects.

Indic ethical ideas based on Hindu, Buddhist, and Jain texts and contexts can inspire us to be more responsible, sustainable, and moral to protect and preserve our planet and nature.  

-Prof. Pankaj Jain, Professor - Philosophy

(Source: https://www.speakingtree.in/article/climate-engineering-the-indic-philosophy-way?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=STMobile)