Apr Jun 2011

Apr Jun 2011
Gaia ~ Our Living Earth


Gaia, the Greek Earth Goddess came into prominence in recent years after James Lovelock wrote his path breaking book of the same name. In beautiful, often lyrical prose, and with painstaking holistic science, Lovelock wrote of the miracle of Gaia. We felt we owed Gaia a Bhoomi issue in her honour. The concept of Gaia not being very well known in India, we hope our readers would enjoy this issue of understanding and celebrating our “living” planet Earth.

Did you know: the estimated diversity of beans varieties is 2,000; that of tomatoes are 6,000; while that of rice is a staggering 20,000? Sadly, we have access to only a few commercially grown vegetables – so uniform, pesticide-laced, waxed with chemicals and deceptively attractive.

Organic farming is coming under attack from many quarters, even as awareness spreads that it is integral to a more sustainable and healthier way of life.

Amongst the recent top biodiversity stories are the release of the national estimate of tigers, and revelations of the possible causes of the mass deaths of gharials in central India. Both stories point not only to the failure of our wildlife conservation strategies, but to the dangers of a path to ‘development’ that fragments and poisons nature.

In the city, every time I put my feet on the ground I remain oblivious of the connection I have with the earth beneath my shoes. The concrete and the thick layer of tar obstruct my senses from going deep down. When I walk, I walk with heavy and unmotivated steps, with a strong desire to reach the destination as soon as possible. The eyes look in the same direction always.

What do we consider sacred? How do we value it? Can we look at a thing for what it is? Can  political will be reasoned with? These are some of the fundamental questions explored in ‘Taking Root: Vision of Wangaari Maathai’.

Life is not only rare – life is fussy and demanding. The temperature, amount of oxygen, the alkalinity, the formation of clouds and salinity of oceans, have all to be regulated within a narrow range on earth, so that life on it can be supported. A mindboggling balancing act indeed which we take for granted in our daily lives.

Come back with me into a story we all share, a story whose rhythm beats in us still. The story  belongs to each of us and to all of us, like the beat of this drum, like the heartbeat of our living universe.