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Updated on November 12, 2012

Global Warming Fuels Storms

Divali is a festival of light. Light is manifested outwardly in the symbol of the deeya, but also felt in the heart by you being light in the world. Light pushes through ignorance and manifests truth. Truth is found in right action. Divali is about compassion for the poor, being ecologically conscious and fighting for social justice and human rights. Light is expressed as social progress in the world.

Many traditions have festivals of light. The European pagans have the Solstice. Christmas is the coming of the Son and light. Hanukkah is the Jewish Festival of Dedication and light is one of its symbols. Fire and light are also expressions of purification in many traditions.

One of the greatest challenges of our age of Kali is global warming. Being light is connected with the ancient values of the Vedic tradition of honoring the ecology of the planet. It is also found in the many Native American traditions of the Americas.

In 1992 former Vice President Albert Gore published a ground-breaking book on ecology called Earth in the Balance. He described how our excessive use of fossil fuels have increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, causing global warming of the planet. In this book he mentions hurricanes and storms increasing because of global warming. Recently he was in the news for talking about the hurricanes in NY, NJ, Cuba, FL, Haiti and Dominician Republic. What is happening this year is that there has been excessive melting in Artic areas. This melt has effected the Earth to the point of increasing super storms in these areas. Scientists interviewed on National Public Radio in the USA were discussing this phenomenon about the cause of super storms right after the storms hit.

The reality is we need to change our behavior world wide to reduce green house gases. Planting trees is one important action which can be taken by individuals and governments. By planting native fruit trees, you can help global warming and help hungry people at the same time. In Minneapolis this fruit is donated to food shelves and given to the poor, seniors and unemployed.

In NY some Hindu priests and organizations are collecting clothing for men and women caught in Hurricane Sandy. Pandit Tillack Seeratan is collecting towels, blankets, shoes, pants and underwear for men and women to take to Queens College this week of Divali. For those in the NY area you can bring the clothing to 92 - 30 173rd Street, Jamaica, NY 11433. He encourages people to bring the items in boxes to help facilitate ease in transportation. The Red Cross is also doing similar activities. Serving food at shelters and volunteering to rebuild and remove debris are also very needed. Churches and community organizations are organizing these efforts. It's also a great project for Divali to volunteer and donate towards these efforts.

Another important action is living a more environmental life style. Churches and mandirs can also change their own environmental practices. Wind, solar and geothermal energy are alternatives to fossil fuels. Energy efficiency and recycling help, also. I do not recommend CFLs because they have mercury in them, thus the disposal is not environmental. Use LED lighting and full-spectrum incandescent bulbs. LED can be found in hardware and general stores like Target. Full spectrum incandescents can be purchased at food coops, on line and at natural food stores. They were developed by the Fins to increase light exposure in winter months. They are similar to the sun, except they do not have harmful UV energies. One bulb lasts a couple years and is much more efficient than standard incadescents.

Looks in the bathrooms and replace paper towel racks with dryers and replace chemical products with environmentally-friendly natural products. Use natural cleaning products found in grocery and coop stores: bon ami, lemon juice, baking soda, vinegar and borax are just some of these superior cleaning alternatives as well as soap and hot water which have little or no petrochemicals.

Some mandirs use solar lighting in their parking lots, such as Devi Mandir in Canada. This a great application of solar use. My guru, Pandit Munelal Maharaj, was a priest for one year at this mandir. Using energy which promotes Vedic values should be encouraged by boards of mandirs. Let us be looking long-term instead of choosing the less expensive form of energy as a short-term solution. Long term environmental thinking often yields higher total savings.

I would like to introduce geothermal energy to the Hindu community. It is "thermal energy stored in the Earth." Some countries use hot springs as a source, like Iceland. The Romans even used geothermal for heating and pools. In northern climes heat pumps are used to extract heat from the Earth. The temperature of the Earth is about 50 degrees F right near the surface, so this can be used in heating in winter and also for cooling in the summer time. Use of the pumps drastically reduces the costs of energy used on the energy grid. Churches and schools use geothermal energy as a long-term solution. Energy credits are available to reduce costs of installation. Seventy two countries have used geothermal energy. The USA has the most wattage of geothermal energy. Thirty percent of Iceland's total energy production is geothermal energy. You can use conventional fossil fuels, wind and solar with geothermal in any combination to reduce your energy bill. Reykjavik, Iceland's capital, used to be the most polluted city in the world. Now it's one of the cleanest because of geothermal energy use.

This Divali think of what you can do to be a better citizen and environmental activist. You can start with environmental education for youth and adults with a Vedic Ecology class. Then branch out to environmental projects each year. Have a happy Divali and be light in the world!




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      radhapriestess 5 years ago

      Thanks for sharing about Divali in Nepal. I did an artee to Mother and read stories of Divali. I had a nice chat with Pandit Jagmohan Persaud about what was happening with Divali in Guyana, a country north of Brazil. They light deeyas at home and in the streets, very popular. In the northern climes we go to mandir or light a deeya or candle at home. The most important thing is being light in the world.

    • Vinaya Ghimire profile image

      Vinaya Ghimire 5 years ago from Nepal

      I strongly agree " Fire and light are expressions of purification in many traditions." Yesterday evening making rangoli and lighting deeya was wonderful. I wish you happy Diwali.

      In Nepal we celebrate 5 days festival called Yamapanchak, and Diwali is the third day o Yamapanchak.