The environment is not ours to take or leave, it is ours to make

We are living in an age of considerable climate change. For the past several centuries, the mainstream cultural ethos was that the environment is ours to take. Driven by this notion, we exploited natural resources indiscriminately, disrupting delicate ecological balances and setting loose forces that can wreak unimaginable havoc. And the consequences of this presumptuously proprietary predisposition toward nature are evident in the climate specters threatening us. 

However, such rising environmental concern has triggered an extreme reaction among some, who deem much of today’s environmental discourse as alarmism. They hold that we need to just leave the environment alone, and it will take care of itself. 

However, the environment is not ours to leave. Even if we leave it, we still have to live in it – and so will our descendants. If we humans soil our ecological bed, we will have to sleep on this soiled bed. 

The problem with both these lines of thoughts – taking or leaving the environment – is that they presume the environment is ours. But it isn’t; it belongs to God. The Bhagavad-gita (09.10) states that nature works under divine supervision. 

Though the environment is not ours, it is still ours to make. How? The power that we as conscious beings have in shaping the environment needs to be used purposefully. Gita wisdom indicates that the environment is the setting for us to pursue our spiritual evolution. This evolution culminates in harmonization of our consciousness with the Whole. 

As we become adept yogic practitioners pursuing spiritual evolution, we start sensing how the environment shapes our consciousness and how we can channel this shaping power constructively. By appreciating the environment’s sanctity in belonging to the divine and its potentiality in shaping our consciousness, we can make it a hospitable setting for our all-round development. 


Think it over:

  • Why is the environment not ours to take?
  • Why is the environment not ours to leave?
  • How is the environment ours to make?



09.10 This material nature, which is one of My energies, is working under My direction, O son of Kuntī, producing all moving and nonmoving beings. Under its rule this manifestation is created and annihilated again and again.

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