Interdependence Is Our Reality
THE WHOLE ECOLOGY around the earth is being destroyed. But life does not exist as separate islands; not a single man is an island – everything is interwoven.
You have heard these two words, dependence and independence. Both are unreal: the reality is interdependence. We are all so interdependent on each other, not only man on other men, not only one nation on other nations, but trees and man, animals and trees, birds and the sun, the moon and the oceans – everything is interwoven. And the past humanity has never thought about it, that it is a cosmos. They went on thinking in terms of taking everything separately. It was impossible for people in the past to think that man and trees are connected, that they are interdependent.
You cannot live without trees and neither can trees live without you. But it is too late – trees a hundred years old, two hundred years old, even a thousand years old, have been destroyed and cut to create more paper for all kinds of stupid newspapers without ever giving any consideration to what you are doing. You will not be able to replace those trees.
Nepal, one of the poorest countries in the world, has nothing except the eternal Himalayas and deep forests, ancient and old. So it has been selling its forests to different countries. That is the only commodity it can sell. In the last thirty years, half of the trees of Nepal have disappeared – and for the coming thirty years the Soviet Union has purchased the rights to much of the remaining forest. And they are not cutting trees the old way, with an axe, but by very modern techniques so that in a single day, hundreds of trees simply disappear – miles of land become a desert.
These trees had been preventing the rivers of the Himalayas from coming down with such great force; they were slowing down the flow of water. By the time the waters reached Bangladesh, where they meet with the ocean, the quantity of water was exactly as much as the ocean could absorb. But now those trees have disappeared – the rivers are flowing with such great force and with so much water that the ocean cannot absorb it so quickly.
And every year Bangladesh is suffering great floods, strange floods, rivers flowing backwards because the ocean will not accept the water.
They destroy all the crops of Bangladesh. Bangladesh is poor and these floods are killing thousands of people, thousands of animals, destroying thousands of houses. And now Bangladesh cannot do anything. It is beyond its power to tell Nepal, "Please don't cut the trees."
In the first place, even if Nepal stops cutting the trees, the wrong has already been done. And in the second place, Nepal cannot stop cutting those trees. It has even sold them for the next thirty years; it has already taken the money, to survive.
A similar kind of situation exists in many areas of the world.
The world's tropical forests are disappearing at the rate of eighteen to twenty million hectares a year – an area half the size of California, and California is one of the biggest states in America. Within the next twenty to thirty years, all the tropical forests will be gone; and the implications are tremendous because these forests are supplying you with oxygen and life. If these forests disappear at the rate they are disappearing, mankind will be at a loss to find oxygen – from where?
And on the other hand, whatever carbon dioxide you exhale, these forests inhale. If these forests were not there...already there is so much carbon dioxide continuously accumulating in the atmosphere that its effects are being felt everywhere on the earth And because of that carbon dioxide, the temperature of the atmosphere is rising. It is already some degrees higher than it has ever been.
If the temperature goes on increasing, as is the possibility, because nobody is listening – trees are being cut, without any understanding, for useless things; for third-rate newspapers you are destroying life – there is a possibility that the eternal ice of the Himalayas will start melting, which has never happened in the whole past. Then all the oceans will rise twenty feet higher and will drown all the coastal cities – for example, New York, London, San Francisco, Amsterdam, Bombay, and Calcutta.
During the next twelve years, the world population is expected to increase thirty to forty percent, from five billion to seven billion people.
This population growth alone will cause requirements for water to double in nearly half the world, and we don't have that much water for drinking. Food is another thing....
In addition, the United Nations report says that globally, six million hectares a year of farm and grazing land degrade into desert-like conditions and twenty million hectares a year are being reduced to zero productivity. Many hundreds of plant and animal species become extinct each year – which easily can become thousands each year as the forests and grazing land are vanishing. One and a half to two million people in developing countries suffer acute pesticide poisoning annually, and pesticide-related deaths are estimated at ten thousand per year.
There are many gases being produced by our factories, which have made us aware of a strange phenomenon: those gases move upwards and make holes in a certain layer of ozone, a variety of oxygen, which covers the earth twenty miles up. That ozone is absolutely necessary for humanity, for animals, for trees, because it absorbs the harmful sun rays and allows only life-affirmative sun rays to enter. Now great holes have been caused by the gases that our factories and industries create – and from those holes, death rays from the sun are entering into our atmosphere.
No government is ready to give the scientists support so they can create more ozone and fill up the gaps which we ourselves have unconsciously created.
This earth has never been so sick; it has never been so much in danger of new diseases. But the vested interests are not ready to stop these factories or find alternatives.
The world's current war budget is approaching one thousand billion dollars per year. One thousand billion dollars every year spent on warfare, and every year fifteen million people die from malnutrition and disease.
Every minute, thirty children die for lack of food and inexpensive vaccines, and every minute 1.3 million dollars of public funds are spent on the world's military budget.
It seems we are not interested in life anymore, we have decided to commit suicide.
Man has never been in such a suicidal mood – never, in the whole of history.
Two hundred and fifty million children have not received even a basic education. A single nuclear submarine equals the annual education budget for sixteen million school-age children in the developing countries. Just one submarine! And there are hundreds of submarines moving around in the oceans all over the world – American and Russian both – and each submarine has nuclear weapons six times more powerful than all the weapons that were used in the second world war. They are so costly that we could have provided our children with education and food, with nutrition. But our interests are not there.
Half a million scientists are engaged only in creating more war material.
Ten million people around the earth already have AIDS – which has no cure. And this number is not accurate, because many countries have not yet declared how many of their people have AIDS; they don't have any way to find it out – for example, India. Mohammedan countries are bound to have a very large number of people suffering from AIDS, because homosexuality has been there for thousands of years.
Everywhere sexual perversions have become so rampant that Sodom and Gomorrah look very outdated.
Even according to very moderate estimates, by the end of this century there will be one hundred million people suffering from AIDS, which is such a vast number that there is no way the hospitals will be able to take care.
These are the multi-dimensional ways that death is approaching the earth.
My emphasis is that our problems are international and our solutions are national, but no nation is capable of solving them. I take it as a great challenge and as a great opportunity. Nations should collapse into one world government.