Keeping the Earth healthy and productive keeps us healthy, too.
ONLY when Man has cut down the last Tree,
Only when he has poisoned the last River,
Only when he has caught the last Fish,
Only then will Man realise he cannot eat Money. – Cree (Native American) prophecy.
This is the fourth and last article in the series on LOHAR (Lifestyle of Health and Responsibility). Today’s article continues the subject of healthy and responsible living, focusing on some current efforts to conserve, preserve, revitalise and re-empower our Earth.
In the previous article, I explained the benefits, virtues and spirituality of organic, biodynamic, permaculture, and homa farming practices.
Today, I will share about some efforts to keep our air (atmosphere), water (oceans, lakes, rivers, etc) and land clean, healthy, productive and sustainable.
Homa therapy teaches us that if we heal the atmosphere, the atmosphere heals you. I would like to expand this concept further – heal the earth, and the earth will heal and sustain you.
Many have incessantly lamented the sorry state of the Earth due to our irresponsible acts over the eons (pollution of the air, water and land, and inconsiderate exploitation of the various resources available to us), resulting in the ghastly threats of drastic climate change, global warming, sea-level rising, depletion of clean water sources, depletion of fossil oil sources, depletion of fish from the oceans, extermination of many animal and plant species, and something we have to endure too often lately – not even clean air to breathe.
So let us take a look at some laudable efforts to reverse the situation and restore the health and sustainability of Mother Earth.
Saving the air
Pollution of the atmosphere comes mainly from irresponsible practices on land. Indiscriminate open burning at the start of each season in the plantations in Indonesia and possibly other countries have caused regional hardship due to the acrid haze.
So the concerted international effort to contain this recurrent problem gives us some hope, though we have yet to see any results.
Rapid deforestation for settlement, timber and agriculture depletes us of life-sustaining oxygen. Much of the jungles and forests in most countries have been decimated, endangering the biodiversity of flora and fauna alike.
The last frontier is the Amazon region, which is also suffering the same fate.
Way back in 1992, former US Vice-President and eco-warrior Al Gore had already warned us in his book, Earth in the Balance: Ecology and the Human Spirit, “How can we halt this vandalism, this destruction of forests and pollution of oceans and atmosphere?”
And he continued: “Only when we see that all life is precious, that if all forests (and their inhabitants) are cut and burned to the ground, the future of our own species (the human race) is thereby endangered.”
If we don’t take heed of the warnings, the future is bleak. Watch The Age of Stupid (a crowd-funded British independent film) to see the possible scenario in 2055 as a result of our collective stupidity in neglecting the warnings. You will cringe.
Fortunately, the global awakening to rescue the situation is gaining momentum. The documentary An Inconvenient Truth by Davis Guggenheim (2006, featuring Al Gore) was a major wake-up call for many of us. If you have not yet seen it, you should.
Efforts to control polluting emissions from vehicles and factories are now in place in many countries. The gradual, but sure migration to hybrid and electrical vehicles will certainly help keep the air cleaner.
Saving the water
Not only are our rivers and lakes polluted, even the deep seas are now contaminated. So much so, US health experts caution pregnant women from consuming more than two fish a week to protect their babies from the teratogenic effects (ie causing congenital deformities) of heavy-metal toxicity.
Many responsible countries are enforcing laws that limit the dumping of industrial wastes into the rivers, seas and oceans. There are also successful efforts to depollute and revive “dead” rivers and lakes.
One such successful method is based on a home-grown technology called iQPR. It uses the principles of quantum physics to energise water, such that contaminated water will dissociate from the impurities.
In other words, the water cleans itself. This method has successfully cleaned several rivers, streams and ponds in Penang and Perlis.
When applied to mineral water, the energised water has been shown to have many health and healing benefits when consumed. When given to chickens in a poultry farm, they became much more active and livelier than those fed with ordinary water!
Another safe and effective method to clean water sources is by using friendly bacteria. There are many species of bacteria that consume pollutants and waste without themselves causing harm to us or the environment. Some of them can even be used to treat oil spillage, which is often very difficult to manage.
The use of bacteria (and protozoa) in the treatment of waste water and sewage is an established practice. In large treatment systems, the biomass or activated sludge (the bacteria thriving on the sewage) allows biodegradable organic contaminants to be efficiently removed. The outcome can even be used as organic fertiliser.
Sewage management technology is now so advanced that sewage effluent is now re-usable as drinking water (eg Singapore’s NEWater).
Apart from minimising wastage and recycling, novel methods of extracting water from the rain, air, and land are now available. Rainwater catchment systems should be used wherever possible, since much of our rainwater is wasted. It is ridiculous to have dry pipes when we are blessed with a high rainfall.
Portable water dispensers that generate water from the surrounding air are now sold on the market, and come in handy when there is no clean water supply nearby.
When all these efforts are multiplied, then there is hope that we can save our water from becoming scarce and poisonous.
Saving our land
Much of what was written in previous articles was about conserving and protecting the cleanliness and productivity of our land. Methods used to protect the land will also protect the air and water, as the three intricately co-exist.
Thus, the successful reforestation programmes that we have witnessed have restored the ecology, diversity, and even rainfall in the affected areas. What were once arid and unproductive areas can now support vibrant, living ecosystems (see www.ted.com for some examples).
Likewise, all the methods to purify the air and water mentioned above will also benefit the land and its inhabitants, and that includes us.
The various farming methods described in previous articles avoid the use of toxic pesticides and only rely on safe, natural, organic fertilisers. Toxic pesticides and industrial effluent have poisoned our environment badly. The air that we breathe (even when it appears clean) contains much more chlorine than what our forefathers breathed.
Fortunately, there are also safe bio-organic pesticides available now that can be used instead, but most of the large corporations are still using the cheaper toxic chemical versions.
Toxic and non-biodegradable wastes are major problems to all communities, more so when we always consume too much and dispose of the waste irresponsibly.
Again, there is a comforting trend to reduce the use of non-biodegradable consumer items (eg plastic) in favour of biodegradable alternatives.
There are biodegradable alternatives to the ubiquitous polystyrene food packs and plastic water bottles. The biodegradable plastic, incredibly, has a certain type of bacteria infused in the otherwise non-biodegradable plastic material. This is sheer brilliance.
Waste can also be turned into bio-fuel. One such company at the forefront of this technology that will help solve two major problems – waste disposal and fuel supply – is a Malaysian company (www.greenbase.com.my). Their technology is now being adopted by ecology-conscious countries like the Netherlands.
But why are we ourselves so slow to adopt this home-grown innovation?
Energy efficiency and renewable energy innovations will be the focus of much research and innovation in the coming decades as we face a dwindling supply of fossil fuel. Nuclear energy makes us vulnerable, as the Fukushima episode has shown. We certainly need safer and renewable alternatives.
When the genius of humanity is combined with good intentions, nothing is insurmountable. There is indeed hope for our continued survival.
Saving our food sources
Apart from practising agricultural methods that preserve the Earth’s health and ensure continued productivity and sustainability, there are other issues that may affect our food sources and production.
For example, bee colonies are dying across America, and if the problem is not resolved, the world’s food production is in grave danger. Albert Einstein warned that if bees die, man will die within four years.
Unsustainable fishing methods (eg indiscriminate trawling) threaten our ability to rely on the oceans as an inexhaustible source of food (as it was meant to be), while unlawful whaling and other illegal methods under the pretext of research are driving many marine species to extinction.
Global warming affects sea temperatures, and therefore, coral reefs and other fish habitats.
One method that can help sustain our harvest from the rivers and seas is aquaculture. Interestingly, many aquaculture projects are now done inland.
In the effort to increase agricultural yield, scientists have resorted to genetically-modified plants and animals (GMO). While there is much controversy over the subject, it will dominate commercial agriculture if it is proven safe.
However, at the moment, the majority of consumers seem to be suspicious and wary of GMO products.
Malaysia is a hive of eco-related activities. Soon, there will be two more international conferences in Kuala Lumpur. Ecobuild Southeast Asia (Sept 17-19, www.ecobuildsea.com) is about sustainable design and construction environment, while the Asia Geospatial Forum (Sept 24-26, www.asiageospatialforum.org) will address all the ecological issues mentioned above, and will offer geo-technological solutions towards a growing and sustainable economy.
Their deliberations will affect us in some way. Let us wish them all the success.
Dr Amir Farid Isahak is a medical specialist who practises holistic, aesthetic and anti-ageing medicine. He is a qigong master and founder of SuperQigong. For further information, e-mail email@example.com. The views expressed are those of the writer and readers are advised to always consult expert advice before undertaking any changes to their lifestyles. The Star does not give any warranty on accuracy, completeness, functionality, usefulness or other assurances as to the content appearing in this column. The Star disclaims all responsibility for any losses, damage to property or personal injury suffered directly or indirectly from reliance on such information.