Nepal and its people have been blessed with some of the most spectacular landscape in the whole wide world. It is often referred to as the top of the world. But the top of the world is changing and changing fast at that.
The glacial eco-system of the Himalayas is changing fast and no one is really taking proper notice. Meaning the glaciers are melting and in the near future our snow-clad mountains will start melting. In turn impacting the entire eco system.
As a result of global warming, Nepal’s annual average temperature has risen by about one degree Fahrenheit. But the temperature in the Himalayas is increasing twice as fast, causing rapid glacial melting. Sagarmatha National Park, where Everest is located, is an area of exceptional natural beauty with dramatic mountains, glaciers, and deep valleys. But climate change seriously threatens the park’s ecosystems. Glacial melting will eventually leave Sagarmatha National Park snow less, and will destroy the habitats of the endangered species in the park, such as the snow leopard and the lesser panda.
Melting glaciers also pose a great risk to human lives and livelihoods because of the possibility of ‘glacial lake outburst floods.’ Glacial lake outburst floods occur when glacial lakes fill past their breaking points and burst, causing extensive damage to roads, bridges, trails, and villages. They also put peoples’ lives at risk. 40 of Nepal’s 2,300 glacial lakes are identified as potentially dangerous for glacial lake outburst floods, and 20 of those are considered likely to burst. But among these lakes, only one has mitigation measures in place to protect people downstream. Another worry from the melting glaciers is that, in a few decades, when the glaciers have melted, water level in the glacier-fed rivers around the region will decline. One billion people in Western China, Nepal, and Northern India – a sixth of the world’s population – are dependent on the water in these rivers for fresh drinking water. The loss of this water supply will cause massive economic and environmental problems.
(Source: http://www.foe.org/globalwarming. And WWF Foundation)
For developing countries like Nepal, climate change is not just an environmental phenomenon but also an economic, social and political issue. Nepal is among the most vulnerable countries on earth with regard to climate change, yet the level of understanding and awareness on the issue is very limited.
The wrath of the Himalayas will affect more than just Nepal.
We as Nepalese are not creating this entire problem by our self. It is a Global Phenomenon and it will affect us all in one way or the other, sooner or later.
How does Nepal fall into the global picture of “Global Warming”?
We are far behind in the Carbon emission chart compared to the so-called developed nations. We are far ahead in the ecological, social and cultural richness. We are old People, as in we are the people of ancient times as a society. Our history entitles us the right to claim to be a vibrant and socia-economically advanced civilization until a few hundred years ago. Religiously , Nepal has been a perfect blend of Buddhism and Hinduism. This has been proven by many things we see in the vicinity of Kathmandu Valley and many more places in Nepal. Numerous texts in both religions have mentioned one place in particular and that is “Swayambhu”. Swayambhu is a world heritage site. And to understand the significance of Swayambhu to the Nepali people you have to understand the history of the place.
The present Kathmandu valley has been mentioned in ancient Buddhist and Hindu texts as being a vibrant lake full of serpents. A saint by the name of Vipaswi came to visit this lake and threw a seed of lotus into the lake. Thousands of years later this seed bloomed into a large lotus blooming into a large and beautiful flower. Its magnificence drew many more saints into this area namely, Viswambhu, Kanaka,Kasyapa are some mentioned in the Swayambhu Purana. Then came Manjushree with his two consorts Varada and Mokshya and decided to make this lake inhabitable for people. Thus he cut out the lower side of the hill at Chovar to let the water out. When the water was drained the lotus remained on top of Gopuccha. The roots of the lotus are still believed to be located at Guheshowri. Thousands of years later a king from India (Present Day Bihar Province) by the name of Prachanda Deva came to settle in this valley with his people. He decided to cover the lotus with stones to protect it from humans and nature itself. Thus the present day arc shape of Swayambhu Chaitya appeared.
This is not just a folk-lore; many scriptures in many different languages throughout the Indian subcontinent have mentioned this place. Swayambhu the shrine represents an assemablence of air, heat, earth and water. The word “Swayambhu” means self-originated and strongly permanent.
It is our understanding that we as Nepalese have neglected the true meaning and significance of this place and solely focused on the religious and ritualistic aspect only. It represents what this entire eco-system as we know in modern-day terms. All four elements mentioned above facilitate life and once the human understands that it is critical to have perfect harmony among these elements for life on earth to continue. Somehow the people who lived in this Shangri-La thousands of years ago understood the importance of respecting these 4 essential elements that holds this entire planet intact. But the modern Nepali and the human race as a whole has forgotten to pause and think about what actually gives continuity to life.
Manjushree was a visionary who dreamt that this fertile and rich valley would serve as home to people and enrich lives. Thus he did what he thought was right. And it is the same spirit of Manjushree that makes a Green Soldier. It is a dream that people of Nepal will realize that we are a progressive people yet our history and culture has taught us much more. The spirit of Manjushree is in us and we bear the responsibility of ensuring continuation of life for our people. We contribute 0.03% of world carbon emission yet we will bear larger consequences for the actions of others. Thus it is time to jolt the souls of our people and start a movement. Make them wake up from their deep slumber and show them the results of our actions in the times to come.
We hold yaggya (Worship) to thank our ancestors but it is time to think is that really how they intended for us to thank them?
It is time to raise our voices and say to the world STOP the madness. Because we as Nepalese will suffer grave and irreplaceable losses in the near future. We have to become an example for the world through our actions and show them we will not suffer for the actions of others.
Green Soldiers are regular people who understand this and work relentlessly to spread this awareness. It is time Nepali people understood this and a sense of urgency crept into them for to really become Green Soldiers. We start this mission from the hills of Swayambhu and make a pledge to Chomolungma (Sagarmatha in Nepali and meaning Holy Mother in Tibetan) that we will wake the people up from this deep sleep and make them realize that they cannot just use her name as their second identity without really understanding the grave danger looming over her. Buddha As a child, Siddhartha, was troubled by some of the same thoughts that children today have. They wonder about birth and death. They wonder why they get sick and why grandfather died. They wonder why their wishes do not come true. Children also wonder about happiness and the beauty in nature.
Because the Buddha knew what was in the hearts of children and human kind, he taught everyone how to live a happy and peaceful life. Buddhism is not learning about strange beliefs from faraway lands. It is about looking at and thinking about our own lives. It shows us how to understand ourselves and how to cope with our daily problems. It is time for Numerous Buddha to evolve from within themselves. The very first teaching of Buddhism is: nothing is lost in the universe. Matter turns into energy, energy turns into matter. A dead leaf turns into soil. A seed sprouts and becomes a new plant. Old solar systems disintegrate and turn into cosmic rays. We are born of our parents; our children are born of us. We are the same as plants, as trees, as other people, as the rain that falls. We consist of that which is around us; we are the same as everything. If we destroy something around us, we destroy ourselves. If we cheat another, we cheat ourselves. Understanding this truth, the Buddha and his disciples never killed any animal.
So it becomes easy for us to understand who really was the first Green Soldier.
Please do not take Buddha’s name in vain if you cannot follow the first thing he taught you.