Thursday, 20 April 2017

The yamas and the environment

In recognition of Earth Day on the 22nd April, I am looking at how the yamas offer us guidelines for caring for the environment.

The first of the yamas is ahimsa, non-harming.  Yogis often choose to be vegan or vegetarian. 
This helps the environment because meat production means that crops which could feed people are going to feed animals for meat.  Meat production further contributes to global warming, pollution, deforestation and degradation of the land.  But I do understand that the vegan diet is not for everybody - maybe you could shun animal products for one day each week - there are lots of recipes on 40plusandalliswell for meal ideas.  There are other ways you can protect the environment too.  The bees are in decline - could you possibly plant a few bee friendly plants to help?  

The second of the yamas is satya, truth.  Often we bury our heads in the sand when it comes to our contribution to environmental issues. Maybe it's time to assess.  Could we be careful not to leave electrical applances on standby? Not buy food that has been flown in from abroad instead of local produce?  Could we walk or cycle instead of using the car or if not car share? 

Asteya, the third yama translates as non-stealing.  In terms of the environment are we 'stealing' habitat from other beings with our farming methods?  With deforestation? Here in the UK hedgehogs are now endangered.  This is partly because of fragmentation of habitat - fences around gardens limit their movements so their foraging is limited.  Hedgehogs like lawns for foraging, compost heaps and wood piles for hibernation (or a hogilo - please see 'Hedgehog help')

Brahmacharya relates to the wise use of energy. Our fossil fuels are running low.  Something needs to be done.  Here in the UK the government have chosen fracking as a way forward but this comes at the cost of detrimental effects on our wellbeing and environment.  It is also a short term solution.  We will have to look to renewables soon so why not now before we 'steal' (this ties in with asteya) the wellbeing of future generations and destroy our 'green and pleasant' land.

The last yama is aparigraha, non-greed - this means taking only what you need.  In terms of food, this will mean there is less waste.  You could use up leftovers and compost any fruit or vegetable peelings.  You could also recycle your glass, tins, plastics, paper, cardboard etc. Greed is also the motivation for the introduction of such measures as GMO foods which allows for the increased use of toxic pesticides.  This can affect wildlife in a negative way so is not in keeping with ahimsa.

The yamas were written thousands of years ago and yet they are still relevant today.

Please see my 'sister' blog for 'My thoughts- Earth Day 22nd April 2017'


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