Climate Departure: A Look at Climate Change & Your Holistic Health

I have been enjoying the crisp, blue-sky winter days and the soft fluttering of snowflakes gently finding a home nestled in a tree or adding hats to lanterns.  Bold statement I know- considering the chill of windy Chicago.  However, the snow has not been the only thing on my mind with regards to weather.

Photo credit: Esther Kovacs

Photo credit: Esther Kovacs

I recently read an article in Nature Magazine regarding the cities that climate change will hit first and the concept of “climate departure.”  There is a lot of controversy over climate change but I would like to take this blog post to discuss the findings of this article and their relevance from an Ayurvedic perspective.  Lastly, I will offer some gift ideas to support organizations working to protect the environment.

Let’s jump down the rabbit-hole, shall we? …oh, sorry, I think we’re actually already in it.  Right.

“Climate departure” is the point a city reaches when the average temperature of a city’s coolest year from then on is projected to be warmer than the average temperature of its hottest year between 1960 and 2005. Essentially, if global warming continues at the pace and manner it has been, it is just a matter of decades until the global average temperatures surpass historical norms.  The average?  2047.  Chicago? 2052.

If carbon monoxide emissions, the primary culprit behind global warming, are mitigated, it may be possible to extend the tipping point by a few decades so that, for instance, the tipping point for Chicago becomes 2081.  However, according to the study, the tipping point will occur at some point in the near future, significantly increasing environmental risk such as drought and flooding as well as creating the “most massive human rights violation ever” with billions of people around the world who are already vulnerable to food insecurity paying an unaffordable price for environmental destruction.

It is evident that climate change and, specifically, climate departure hold significance with regard to human health on a communal and on an individual level.  However, let’s go a bit deeper with the ancient science of Ayurveda.  One of the most fundamental principles of Ayurveda, and indeed most, if not all, holistic health systems, is that man is a miniature replica of the universe.  Whatever exists in the universe exists in man and vice versa.  The same elements (space, air, fire, water, and earth) and bio-energies, or doshas (Vata- space and air, Pitta- fire with a bit of water, and Kapha- water and earth) that make up our world make up each one of us.  What we do to our world, we do to ourselves.   The toxins that we put into our environment, we put into ourselves.  The destruction that we inflict on our world, we inflict on ourselves.  The healing we give to our world, we give to ourselves.

In Ayurveda, single herbs and herb formulations have been studied and utilized for thousands of years.  Like any other living thing on this earth, the elements and bio-energies of the universe can be found in these herbs in unique proportions with unique properties.  These properties in their natural form and in their entirety- as the whole leaf, the whole root, or the whole branch- carry benefits recreating harmony when disruptions in the body-mind occur as well as promote health and longevity.  As our world shifts and our environment is polluted, these properties change.  How do they change?  They become toxic; they cease to exist; they are dissected and made into a less potent form.

According to Ayurveda, our world contains all the substances and information for healing that we could ever need.  We are not rulers of our earth but an integral and connected part of it.  We have the potential to be guardians of ourselves and our world.

You can find that this interconnection exists at every level.  Overfishing changes the ocean temperatures, contributing to ice caps melting; excessive cattle farming leads to depletion of the Amazon Rainforest (the “lungs of the world”)… everywhere you look you can find this interconnection whether you take the vantage point of western research, bioenergetics research, or the ancient wisdom of mystic societies.

If you are interested in finding a gift that allows a friend or family member to support directly efforts to preserve our environment and our interconnection with it, following are few sites you may want to check out:
http://worldwildlife.org/species
http://www.globalgiving.org/projects/planting-1000-trees-saving-100-acres/
http://www.carbonfund.org/offset

Below is information regarding how to reduce your CO and CO2 emissions:
http://www.psr.org/chapters/oregon/global-warming/personal-actions-to-reduce.html
http://www.fao.org/ag/magazine/0612sp1.htm

Ideally, these may help to provide some fuel for thought.  Researchers remain hopeful that we can extend, at least to some extent, the time of the tipping point and that we can adapt.  Ultimately, as we all take on the Gandhian principle of “Be the change you want to see in the world”, we truly can create a change.

“…The ideals which have guided my way, and time after time have given me the energy to face life, have been kindness, beauty, and truth.”  –Albert Einstein, “The World as I See It”

References:
Fisher, Max. “Map: These are the cities that climate change will hit first.” 9 Oct 2013. The Washington Post. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/wp/2013/10/09/map-these-are-the-cities-that-climate-change-will-hit-first/.
Germanos, Andrea. “2047: The Year the World Hits ‘Climate Departure.’”  9 Oct 2013. Common Dreams. https://www.commondreams.org/headline/2013/10/09-9.
Letman, John. “How Climate Change Destroys Human Rights.” 19 Dec 2013. Aljazeera. http://www.aljazeera.com/humanrights/2013/12/how-climate-change-destroys-human-rights-20131217174532837148.html.

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