There are certain fundamental truths about this cosmos that we must first share with the readers to understand the entire phenomenon that is called the universe and the existence of man on earth. Our ecological situation is to be envisioned in its perspective, explaining where and how man has become a nuisance for his own abode and the environment in which he lives. The fundamentals of our existence on earth can be enumerated as under.
1. God created man with three strong urges – hunger/thirst, rest/sleep, sex and a free will to satisfy his urges the way he/she likes or dislikes. [Ref: The Qur’an, Verse 75 of Chapter 38]
2. God then created this universe including this earth, the abode of man, with all the animate and inanimate objects that it contains for man for his exploration and use towards the satisfaction of his physical urges and needs. [Ref: The Qur’an, Verse 29 of Al-Baqarah]
3. He then harnessed the universe and all that it contains for the service of man. [Ref: Verse 20 of Chapter 31]
4. He asked Adam/Eve to descend on earth as His vicegerent with His clear direction/commitment that man will get His Guidance as how to act, behave and live on earth in peace as and when it is needed through His appointed Messengers in a chain and in a continuous process, helping him to lead a balanced and peaceful life on earth for ever.
THE IDEAL SITUATION
If man would have been living on earth totally adhering to the Guidance that came from his Creator and Sustainer, he would have lived in peace all through in his socio-economic-political set-up. That, equally, would have kept his abode free of ecological destruction by using the bounties of this earth in moderation, not recklessly, fearing constantly that in case of their misuse he will be accountable to the Lord of this universe on the Day of Judgment. It would have disciplined him to live a responsible life on earth and using everything of this cosmos as ordained by his Supreme Lord. Thus, maintaining equilibrium in his physical, moral and ecological environment throughout his existence on earth. It would have created an ideal situation for man to live on this earth in healthy surroundings and non-suffocating environment, rendering his abode as the cradle of peace and clean in all respects. However, the situation that emerged and is emerging fast is different, in the form of an unprecedented disaster for the humans and the other living species on earth.
However, man forgot to live in moderation. His needs and urges empowered him to do otherwise. His limitless greed and the instinct to possess more and more instigated him to master all what he surveys. His insatiable urge to maximise his gains and profit acquired unknown dimensions in modern age. As such, when his local and national resources could not meet his ever-increasing demand of large scale production to capture greater and greater market, he started colonisation of poor countries of Asia, Africa and Latin America and resorted to their subjugation, tyranny and unprecedented exploitation of their respective natural resources. Man, thus, filled the human abode with politico-economic destruction, social injustices and physical exploitations in this process. He misused the natural properties of land, air and water recklessly and in return diluted and polluted these sources of nature in the ugliest form, rendering them very often disastrous for human consumption.
Air: The greedy man polluted it with dust, factory smokes, and carbon-dioxide – all extremely dangerous for man to inhale. Man destroyed natural forest to fill his need for building logs and furniture for his luxuries and deprived man from the quantum of oxygen that the trees and plants exhale to keep the air and environment clean and fresh for the healthy growth of man and his progenies. The greater the pace of industrialisation in a country, the greater its air gets polluted and poisonous for human living condition. Large scale industrialisation, factory productions and heavy transport industry has robbed man from the beauty and freshness of the air. The whole environment of big cities has become smoky, dusty, hazy and unclean, quite detrimental to human life.
Dangerous Effect on Ozone Gases [Ozone as a greenhouse gas]: “There is a great deal of evidence to show that high concentrations of ozone, created by high concentrations of pollution and daylight UV rays at the earth’s surface, can harm lung function and irritate the respiratory system. A connection has also been shown to exist between increased ozone cause by thunderstorms and hospital admissions of asthma sufferers. Air quality guidelines such as those from the World Health Organization are based on detailed studies of what levels can cause measurable health effects. Exposure to ozone and the pollutants that produce it has been linked to premature death, asthma, bronchitis, heart attack, and other cardiovascular problems. According to scientists with the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), susceptible people can be adversely affected by ozone levels as low as 40 ppb.” [Reference: Ozone –Wikipedia]
Water: Purity of drinking water, the other basic need of man, is equally found contaminated everywhere. The entire African continent and South East Asian countries are suffering a great deal due to non-availability of clean drinking water – a great havoc to their health, especially of children. Industries use water a lot and then dump its used contaminated water in rivers and ponds making the sources of pure water unhealthy for man. G-8 promised some 40 billion dollars aid for various projects to improve the quality of drinking water for the underdeveloped countries two years back but it still remains a “paper tiger”. The situation is very serious in rural India and the sub-Sahara Regions of Africa where children are suffering in millions.
It shows the land, the air and the water that God created and maintained for man in their purest form for man’s healthy growth, have been polluted to the extent that the human specie may encounter extinction in near future if the pace of destruction by the human actions is not checked forthwith. This ecological imbalance is fast affecting the size, shape, taste and the quality of food, fruits and vegetables – the essentials for the survival of man on earth are at great stake.
The ice of frigid zones is fast melting due to ecological disturbances and raising the water level of our oceans and seas that one day it may wash away our sea side installations, ports and towns around the world. Global climate is fast changing and setting new pattern of life for man to live on earth, putting innumerable living species at the point of extinction. Normal temperature is gradually increasing. Summer days are numbered more than the winter, causing new aliments in human specie. Mountains are losing their century’s old ice and their natural fascinating beauties, whereas the level of ocean is rising in sequence to dangerous heights.
These wild, uncontrolled trends and climatic changes in our environment show that man’s behaviour on earth is erratic, quite contradictory to what he has been ordained by His Creator and Sustainer to live with. Instead of living in moderation, he is resorting to capture the entire world economy through the process of Globalisation and controlling world trade for the selfish ends of a “few”. The Benevolent and the Merciful God gave him a system to lead a balanced life on earth and a freewill to use His bounties to meet his urgent needs. But man out of greed and lust to be more and more “possessive” of natural resources destroyed and is fast destroying his abode, entrusting it in the grip of total destruction in due course of time – a distance that is not far off but lurking before our eyes.
There is still time to correct the situation. Brothers like former US Vice President, Mr. Al-Gore are trying hard to get “stopped” the emersion of Ozone gases from our factories on the ground, cars on the streets, planes in the air, ships in the ocean and man in his kitchen. The selfish and greedy corporate interest around the world is a stumbling block in this process. However, the greatest impediment is man’s own behaviour with the Guidance that his/her Sustainer approved for him to live on earth in moderation with a constant fear of accountability in the life Hereafter for all his extravaganzas that he is demonstrating in the misuse of the environment that He created for man in its purest form but he is using it recklessly to satisfy his lust for greed and the arrogance of his lifestyle.
Our ancestors have rightly said: Khud-kardara elaj-e-neest – there is no remedy for a self-sustained wound. Ecological imbalances are our own creation and we must be ready to reap its harvest which is growing faster than our imagination.