Monday, April 22, 2013


WITH INTERACTIVE GOOGLE DOODLE Earth Day is 43 years' old today, a milestone marked by one of Google's annual doodles dedicated to the event. The day of environmental awareness has been marked by a Google doodle for as long as I can remember, from melting polar ice in 2007 (a prophetic nod to the record Arctic melt that year), rocks in 2008, a waterfall and marine life in 2009 to parrots in 2010, pandas in 2011 and animated flowers in 2012. This year's somewhat pastoral scene of hills, snow-capped mountains and a lake teeming with fish seems to be making a nod to the hydrological cycle. 
If you click the clouds, for example, it rains, and there appears to be a spot of percolation with water making its way through the soil. There are a pair of bears in caves and, if you click the hole near the front, a badger pops out – is this Google's pre-emptive strike against the government's plan to resume its delayed badger cull this summer in a bid to tackle bovine TB? Probably not, but it's cute nonetheless.

Google's no stranger to environmental efforts, of course. In 2011 the internet giant published its carbon footprint for the first time. Turns out it's the equivalent of the United Nations, or a little higher than the emissions of Laos. Earth Day, born in the US in 1970, was the creation in large part of Gaylord Nelson, a US senator and Democrat, who died in 2005. It is designed to "[activate] individuals and organizations to strengthen the collective fight against man's exploitive relationship with the planet." 
Denis Hayes, the national coordinator of that first day, said a few years back that he thought the day had achieved many of its aims. "Beyond any doubt," he said in 2009, "today the basic core values are vastly more 'green,' if you will, than they were in the 60's and 70's."

Google marks environmental awareness day with interactive scene depicting the water cycle. Frances Beinecke says: "Since that first Earth Day, in 1970, we have come a long way. Now a new generation is standing up to say enough of blowouts and disasters that put our workers, waters and wildlife at risk. Enough of the carbon pollution that is warming our planet and threatening us all. Enough of going to unconscionable extremes to feed our costly addiction to oil, while putting deep waters, ancient forests and Arctic wonderlands at risk. However, there is still much to do to raise awareness about environmental issues such as climate change and biodiversity loss.

In Indic traditions, we see a number of rituals and myths in which mountains, rivers, trees, animals, and birds are revered. Despite this nature worship in India, its natural resources are under heavy pressure with its growing economy and exploding population. This has led several scholars to raise questions about the role religious communities can play in environmentalism. Does nature worship inspire Hindus to act in an environmentally conscious way? Is there any relationship between their reverence for bio-divinity and their care for biodiversity? Since the 1990s, India has been embracing capitalism, consumerism, and urban development at a rapid pace. At this turning point, will it join the other developed countries as a major contributor to global warming?

Pankaj Jain, Ph.D. :
'Sustenance and Sustainability
Dharma and Ecology of Hindu Communities'

Published by dasavatara das - "Vedic Views on World News"

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