Blog Action Day 2009 – Save River Ganga Which Is Dying Due To Climate Change

Today is Blog Action Day – a day when thousands of bloggers commit to blog (write) on a topic to create awareness and initiate discussion around an issue of global importance. This year’s issue is Climate Change.

Hinduism has always stressed the need for living in harmony with nature and almost all the elements in Nature are part of worship in Hindu religion – Sun, moon, wind, plants, animals, mountains, rivers… They have been included in the daily worship of Hindus by our Sanatana Dharma tradition after realizing that all animate and inanimate rise and fall in the Supreme Being and that each element is interdependent and very essential for the survival of living beings.

But climate change trigged by human greed is rapidly affecting many elements worshipped by Hindus and the most important among it is River Ganga. (Since the topic here is climate change I am ignoring pollution which is the greatest threat to Ganga.)

Gangotri glacier, which provides up to 70 percent of the water of the Ganga River during the summer months, could disappear by 2030 due to climate change and global warming. Gangotri, the feeding glacier of Ganga, is receding at nearly 21 meters per year. (Washington Post dated June 17, 2007)

This means Ganga Ma will disappear during the summer season – bringing the life of millions of people to a standstill – leading to large scale migrations and social and economic problems. The death of Ganga will cause irreparable damage to agriculture, livestock and animals. Many cities will go without water leading to large scale violence.

If we don't act now, there will be no Mother Ganga to offer prayers and rituals. The water of Ganga is believed to provide Moksha or liberation to a dying person. The very basis of Hindu religion will be threatened by climate change.

Hindu scriptures are full of stories and lessons about the pitfalls involved in excessive materialistic life. Global warming and Climate Change are the products of this excessive materialism and economic greed.

For Hindus, the Ganga is both Goddess and River. The soul is liberated (moksha) by bathing in the waters of the Ganga or being cremated on her banks. Millions of people come to her banks to attain ‘moksha’ but sadly not even one percent of those millions are interested in the health of Ganga.

So what can an individual who is reading this article do? Create awareness, discuss, spread the news, get informed about the dangers of climate change – this will put pressure on the political bosses to act. Make climate change an election issue. Buy only green products. Stop purchasing the products of those companies and countries that do little to stop global warming - Gandhiji shook the very basis of British Empire by boycotting foreign made goods.

A couple of years ago the whole of India was voting to make Taj Mahal one of the seven new wonders of the modern world – a marketing gimmick by New7Wonders Foundation. There was so much buzz and awareness about this silly modern day media gimmick. But it did give an important lesson on effective campaigning in India on a short notice through print, television, radio, internet and mobile.

Can’t we start a similar campaign to Save Ganga – which is a lifeline to millions of people in India and Bangladesh?