Year : 2021 | Volume
: 9 | Issue : 1 | Page : 1--11
Sustainable Humanity beyond the COVID-19 Crisis: ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’ for ‘One Planet, One Health, One Future’
Bhaskara P Shelley
Department of Neurology, Yenepoya Medical College, Yenepoya University, Mangalore, Karnataka, India
Prof. Dr. Bhaskara P Shelley
Department of Neurology, Yenepoya Medical College, Mangalore - 575 018, Karnataka
|How to cite this article:|
Shelley BP. Sustainable Humanity beyond the COVID-19 Crisis: ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’ for ‘One Planet, One Health, One Future’.Arch Med Health Sci 2021;9:1-11
|How to cite this URL:|
Shelley BP. Sustainable Humanity beyond the COVID-19 Crisis: ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’ for ‘One Planet, One Health, One Future’. Arch Med Health Sci [serial online] 2021 [cited 2021 Nov 28 ];9:1-11
Available from: https://www.amhsjournal.org/text.asp?2021/9/1/1/319373
All differences in this world are of degree, and not of kind, because oneness is the secret of everything. – Swami Vivekananda
I have always been un-tethering my soul to seek answers to the mysteries of man, of nature and the vast expanse of our universe. The COVID-19 pandemic has only reinforced my understanding of human-nature relationships and human-Earth systems. This pandemic has led to an existential crisis and has presented as the greatest challenge we have faced since the Second World War. The pandemic is the consequence of a planetary dysbiosis, and indeed is a critical decade for humanity on Planet Earth. Unlike the plague, the COVID-19 is now visualized with a broader perspective as a 'Syndemic'. This 'Syndemic approach'  does factor in several synergistic and co-occurring determinants, such as biological (race, gender, genetics and ethnicity), ecological, non-communicable disorders (NCDs), socio-economic, and the politico-cultural context. This interconnectedness ultimately will define the outcome of SARS CoV-2 infection. The COVID-19 crisis has magnified the COVID 19 ethics of social and health inequities, fragmented healthcare systems, and disparities in racial and ethnic health, human worth and social justice issues. Thus, the collective global wreckage during this COVID-19 syndemic is indeed a 'black hole' in our hearts that has inflicted unfathomable pain. In India, the B.1.617.2 [B.1.617.1-kappa variant, B.1.617.2-delta variant, and B.617.3 sub-lineages], the 'highly transmissible' variant, is causing the second surge of COVID-19. India does accounts for half of the COVID-19 cases and 30% of deaths worldwide. As of May, the strain has already reached 48 countries, and the WHO has called the B.1.617 a 'Variant of Global concern'. From the frying pan to fire, the Indian subcontinent is also combating COVID-19 associated rhino-orbital–cerebral mucormycosis superinfections in epidemic proportions. Thus, the COVID-19 crisis seems to be turning out to be a formidable nemesis for humanity on Planet Earth. A crisis on this scale could reorder our society in dramatic ways, and I would pledge such a change to be for the better, rather than the worse. Human survival is at stake in every sense of the word. To me, our world seems to be in a catastrophic dereliction of moral duty to safeguard our sustainable future on Planet Earth. I ask "Shouldn't Science work on the bedrock of human values, moral realism, naturalistic realism, and meta-ethics?" Thus, Man as a part of the Human Earth systems, needs to work towards 'a rebirth of humanism' to evoke a harmonious inner transformation of the mind for 'Universal Oneness' to achieve sustainable humanity.
In the context of the COVID-19 humanitarian crisis and the declaration of 'Planetary Emergency' in July 2019 by the members of the Club of Rome, there is an absolute and dire need for emboldening a crusading faith through the collectivistic 'Universal oneness' ideology for Earth democracy, Planetary health, and an Educational movement that would be capable of saving Mankind. We need a holistic long-term renewed consciousness and strategic plan that will save our planet Earth, the cradle of humanity. Many a time, I have felt that our ancestors have made a great contribution to humanity. We need to drive across a moral consciousness enabling humanity to enter a social contract with nature to ensure sustainability.
The disturbing thought that chokes my mind now is “What will we, in the 21st century, do for our next generation?” To me, as an Earth citizen, it is my moralistic responsibility to galvanize my mindfulness to critically think about the future of humankind. This editorial is more of a compelling story that revolves around the fundamental human unease within me, emotional nuances from the soul about the human imperfections in the world around me, and a narrative that transcends facts. The COVID-19 pandemic is undoubtedly a humanitarian crisis now posing a monumental challenge to humanity in the 21st century. How can we reshape and create a shared future in a fractured world of ours for the greater good of sustainable humanity? The answer to this question lies in the interdisciplinary areas of philosophy, social anthropology, social and health sciences, social and critical psychology, behavioural sciences, environmental humanities, and an 'education for sustainable human development. My deluge of thoughts reflected in this narrative is perhaps in tandem with the Native American Proverb “Tell me the facts and I'll learn. Tell me the truth and I'll believe. But tell me a story and it will live in the heart forever.”
The Blue Marble (Earth): The Cradle of Humanity
“Man must rise above Earth to the top of the atmosphere and beyond, for only then will he fully understand the world in which he lives.”
– Socrates (469–399 BC)
”The Earth is a fine place and worth fighting for.”
– Ernest Hemingway
From Apollo 17 that was launched into space in 1972, we could see and appreciate the photographs of the earth, the indescribable beauty of the “Blue Marble” floating in the void of space, an enigma. The small Blue Marble is an image of Earth taken on December 7, 1972, from a distance of about 29,000 kilometres from the planet's surface. It was taken by the crew of the Apollo 17 spacecraft on its way to the Moon and is one of the most reproduced images in history. Perhaps, this Blue marble is the only planet that sustains all kinds of life, fauna, and flora, with inbuilt sustainable healthy ecosystems.
No other planet sustains life, like Earth. With the decades of space exploration, we know that we are one among billions of worlds in the Milky Way galaxy. Our intricately tangled web of geology, ecology, and biology has certainly made this “Blue marble” the only one in reach that is perfectly habitable for humans. Apollo 17's photographs of the beautiful blue marble in the Cosmos do indeed underscore the enigma of Earth systems. There is really no place like Earth, our home.
”Bhumi Mata, Putro Eham Prithvya” in Atharva Veda, Vedic Hymn to the Earth, is unquestionably the oldest and the most evocative environmental invocation and a sworn allegiance of humankind to Mother Earth. This translates to “Earth is my mother, I am her son.” This also resonates with what His Holiness the Dalai Lama reiterated on the Golden Jubilee of International Earth day, “Our mother earth is teaching us a lesson in universal responsibility. This blue planet is a delightful habitat. Its life is our life; its future, our future. Indeed, the earth acts like a mother to us all; as her children, we are dependent on her.”
Such a breathtaking view in the Cosmos does certainly open a spiritual window into the collective consciousness of the human race recognizing the enigma of the floating Blue Marble, a majestic universe of lights in the blackness of space, the seat of human civilization. Perhaps, this spiritual amazement, overwhelming emotion, and reckoning must have led to the genesis of an “Earth Anthem” penned by Indian Poet-Diplomat Abhay Kumar in 2008 that eulogizes and exalts the spectacular wonder of a habitable planet, and at the same time delivers a sacred message to mankind to preserve our Terra Madre. I would also reiterate that as we learn to celebrate the Blue Marble, its incomprehensible splendour, and Earth's resilience, we need to be mindful of the limits to Earth's fragility in the Anthropocene. May I arouse the readers the collective consciousness through the spirituality window by reminiscing poignant earth quotes? Perhaps, it was Yuri Gagarin, the first man in space, who nudged us to rethink how we need to balance ecological health and human well-being for sustainable humanity and a sustainable nature in the future. Indeed, reiterating that there really is no place like home, a cosmic oasis.
Earth Quotes - Unforgettable Lessons for Shared Humanity
”Orbiting Earth in the spaceship, I saw how beautiful our planet is. People, let us preserve and increase this beauty, not destroy it!”– Yuri Gagarin, 1961
”I realized up there that our planet is not infinite. It's fragile. That may not be obvious to a lot of folks, and it's tough that people are fighting each other here on earth instead of trying to get together and live on this planet. We look pretty vulnerable in the darkness of space.”
– Alan Shepard (Apollo 14)
”20 min after I got into space on that first flight, I happened to stare out the window, by accident almost, and I saw something on the horizon that I didn't recognize. I had no idea what it was. I turned to the commander of the Space Shuttle, and I said, 'What the hell is that?' and he says, 'That's the surprise.' As the Sun came up, I was absolutely blown away by how incredibly beautiful our Planet Earth is. Absolutely breathtaking. Like someone took the most brilliant blue paint and painted a mural right in front of my eyes. I knew right then and there that I would never, ever see anything as beautiful as planet Earth again.”
– Scott Kelly, Former NASA Astronaut
”The Earth was small, light blue, and so touchingly alone, our home that must be defended like a holy relic. The Earth was absolutely round. I believe I never knew what the word round meant until I saw Earth from space.”
– Aleksei Leonov, Russian Cosmonaut
”As we begin to comprehend that the earth itself is a kind of manned spaceship hurtling through the infinity of space—it will seem increasingly absurd that we have not better organized the life of the human family.”
– Hubert H. Humphrey, Vice President of the United States
”In the future, I would like to be more of an advocate for animal conservation. Every single part of the Earth reacts with every other part. It's one thing. Every little animal is important in that ecosystem. (Seeing the planet from above) makes you realize that and makes you want to be a little more proactive in keeping it that way. If I could get every Earthling to do one circle of the Earth, I think things would run a little differently.”
– Karen Nyberg (50th Woman in Space, NASA Astronaut)
Meditating on these quotes I could visualize a global consciousness of Earth as a perspective from the universe. It is indeed an utter disappointment and dissatisfaction to realize what “anthropogenic chaos” we are responsible for that ruins this beautiful, sustainable blue marble, our home. Here, it is so relevant to reminisce and have deeper insights into what Mahatma Gandhi once said, “Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's needs, but not every man's greed.” Where is the humanity in our fellow humans in preserving this habitable heaven? I certainly have always resonated with the sayings of George Bernard Shaw, “Now that we have learned to fly in the air like birds and dive in the sea like fish, only one thing remains - to learn to live on the earth like humans.” Human beings have become so narrow-minded, launched satellites into outer space, and achieved an unsettling discovery of a human dive in a submarine nearly 35,853 feet (10,927 m) to a point in the Pacific Ocean's Mariana Trench that is the deepest place on Earth. However, it is a tragedy and misfortune that man has inhabited Earth set in motion the destruction of Mother Earth. We do not think that we are so lucky to have this habitable paradise. What is to become of our planet, I wonder? Seeing the splendid nature of Mother Earth, I ask “Isn't it time for man to change his philosophy for Sustainable Planetary Health, Earth Stewardship for a Universal 'One Health' of all beings on Planet Earth, the concept of Biospheric Egalitarianism and Bio (Eco) centrism?”
The “Tower of Babel” Revisited: Meaning for Sustainable Humanity
”Come, let us build for ourselves a city, and a tower whose top will reach into heaven, and let us make for ourselves a name.” With these words, the inhabitants of Babel began their ascent into the heavens, both physically and metaphorically.
– Genesis 11:4
The ongoing health crisis is akin to fighting a common 'invisible enemy', the SARS CoV-2 virus. Looking at man's hubristic ideologies, it seems to me, that the true enemy lies within us. The enemy within us is the lack of social solidarity, lack of collective human consciousness, our human depravity, and the lack of shared responsibility. Man being a techno-optimist, there is now a crisis in humanism. His flawed strategies, his free will and his trajectory of omnipotence have now led to a crisis of human civilization. A few of these man-made problems does include lack of eco-literacy, climate crisis, lack of shared humanity, health inequities, wars and military conflicts, terrorism and horrorism, culture wars, war crimes and crimes against humanity, genocidal war and genocide, biological warfare, postulated biological weaponization of human coronaviruses, creation of biologically enhanced military 'super soldiers', cyberterrorism, cyber warfare, and various geopolitical crisis. Although, the SARS CoV-2 virus in this pandemic is the 'invisible enemy', it would not be too wrong of me to reiterate that Man's worst enemy is himself. The enemy within is man's hubristic ideologies, his lack of social solidarity, his lack of collective human consciousness, our human depravity, and the lack of shared responsibility.
I quote His Holiness, The Dalai Lama, “The Planet does not need more successful people. The planet desperately needs more peacemakers, healers, restorers, storytellers, and lovers of all kinds.” In a similar vein, I use a fantastic metaphorical and allegorical narrative from the Book of Genesis which is the “Tower of Babel” – a narrative depicting the division of humankind into separate spheres and even competing spheres of control. What does the allegory of Tower of Babel mean for us today in the modern context? What does the Tower of Babel symbolize in our modern human civilization?
According to the Biblical narrative in Genesis 11:1-19, King Nimrod's hubris led to the building of the Tower of Babel up to the heavens. This is a testimony of Human's wickedness and contempt of God. This reiterates that Modern science is premised on the claim that human can and should use his/her knowledge, science, and technological advancements, to attain a God-like intelligence and security that eventually vault human beings into the heavens. I would state that these human vices and foibles and hubris for the attainment of superhuman heavenly abode merely depict the depth of human parochialism. Human's hubristic mindset is now setting a faster pace for making the Modern Tower of Babel taller to reach the heavens. The bricks have now become precious than human life. When a brick slips and falls, a man weeps; however, when a worker falls and dies, we do not pay attention. The modern Tower of Babel needs to grow in height with a disregard for human values and human life. Should we stop building this Tower of Babel? The story of the Tower of Babel is perhaps symbolic of the delusion of humans reaching the heavens. This endeavor not only unravels existential threats instead jeopardizes humanity into a crisis and perhaps human annihilation. We must prepare before limitless power of human ingenuity, runaway science, and human egos that transcend our ethics. There is one truth; every attempt to go against “the common good of humanity” would lead to a tragic end, just like the fate of the Tower of Babel story. There must be an oneness in our “voice of humanity” for the harmony of Heaven, Earth, and Human. This will pave the way for harmony of civilizations and our sustainable future.
The Tower of Babel in our Modern world does seem to explain worldwide diversity, and at the same time, the lack of a Universal Oneness, and an inclusive and cohesive collectivistic ideology. As opposed to the “Towel of Babel” narrative, what is needed is common humanity, a common human enterprise, a more global cooperation, or global governance to be competent to thwart imminent existential threats. The Tower of Babel is a symbol of humanity's vanity, frailty, and hubristic supremacy, all seeming to convey a notion of doom and gloom for humanity.
Therefore,I pose another question: “Can there be sustainable human development if humans absolutely engage themselves in understanding and capturing the material world?” Or, “Should not there be a reawakening of collective emotional intelligence to envision a collaborative 'global pro bono-pro humanity' charter to safeguard a habitat for sustainable humanity on Planet Earth?”
The whole world must have one language with little ambiguity, one speech, and a collectivistic human mindset to unify all human races without the current “the Babel of Tongues.” This, to my mind, will undoubtedly be pivotal for galvanizing social solidarity and represent the torch for sustainable humanity. Harmonizing the individual agency, societies, and the collective has been one of the most challenging problems human societies have had to tackle. To my mind, the individual agency is the collective, and the collective is the individual. Therefore, we have to defend our future from impending catastrophes by oneness, a massification and unanimity with one singular language, one commandment, a shared responsibility, and a universal pledge for our sustainable future on Planet Earth. This new language of a common “Universal oneness” for goodness and earth democracy would unify all of the human races and certainly pave the way forward for safeguarding the cradle of humanity on Planet Earth. Rethinking human behavior is quintessential as the collective consciousness of humanity needs to be prepared for a marathon, but not a short-term sprint in combating COVID-19 pandemic. “The Babel of Tongues” in today's world would need a transformation to an “ideology of singularity” for the collective voice of human consciousness to pledge for social solidarity. This language of universal oneness will indeed symbolize a shared pledge for achieving a harmonious philosophy of “One planet, One health, One future” for sustainable humanity.
Space Exploration: The Next Cradle of Humanity?
”Man is the most insane species. He worships an invisible God and destroys a visible Nature. Unaware that the Nature he is destroying is the God he is worshipping” – Hubert Reeves
Since the beginning of civilization, humanity has wondered whether we are alone in the universe. To be human is to live with the uncertainty of whether there are intelligent extraterrestrial life or advanced civilizations in the star systems or exoplanet. Our universe may seem like a lonely place in the Milky Way galaxy. However, as we know today, our planet is alive and habitable. The 100–400 billion stars in the Milky galaxy and the 100 billion galaxies in the observable universe may not be inhabitable. We sometimes tend to forget that our planet Earth is the only home we have. We take our planet Earth for granted its fragile ecosystems. The Mars rover, Perseverance, landed on Mars on February 2020 in an attempt to hunt for signs of ancient life forms. So far, there is no scientific evidence for or against the existence of life beyond Earth.
Back in the seventies, I was fascinated with the idea of space exploration while watching “Space 1999” and “Star Trek” science-fiction television programs. Where will humans live if Earth becomes uninhabitable? Is it that it will be a reason to go somewhere else to set up permanent human colonies (space colonization) in other planets (Terraforming of Mars) if earth becomes unsustainable? Could we have Eagle Transporter spacecraft of Space 1999's lunar colony (Moonbase Alpha) or the gigantic starship, like The Enterprise, with heroic captains, like Captain Kirk for human travel to distant stars and intergalactic travel? Indeed, this is an open question based on the presumed innate human drive to explore and discover.
Does the human race need to be able to move to another planet? There is a conflict whether space exploration should awaken humanity's soul to be kinder to Mother Earth and Earth Ecosystems or envision humankind's zeal for a new horizon for humanity in other planets. Is space exploration an essence of the curiosity of human existence or that because of all the planetary degradation of Planet Earth, the only beacon of hope for humanity in space exploration and space colonization? Are we destined to say farewell to Mother Earth, and as her children forsake her by our doings, in search of other habitable planets? Will this be the destiny of our Terra Madre that supported the human civilization and humanity's evolutionary history since antiquity, beginning with the Palaeolithic Era? The answer to this lies perhaps in another question – “Isn't it dangerous delusion to think that space will offer an escape from Earth's problems, since there may never be a Planet B?” In this context, I reflect on the words of Swiss Nobel laureate (2019) Michel Mayor and Didier Queloz that it will be almost impossible to migrate to a habitable planet outside of the Earth's solar system since it would too far, perhaps anywhere between 12 to 1000 light-years away.
Are humans unique and alone in the vast universe? Are there extraterrestrial life and extraterrestrial civilizations in the vast cosmic arena? The answer to our search for extraterrestrial life revolves around the optimistic science of the Drake equation, which proposes the high probability of detectable civilizations in our galaxy. On the contrary is the pessimism of the lack of such evidence, the so-called Fermi Paradox. Therefore, for a half-century, the search for extra-terrestrial life and intelligent and/or advanced life forms in extrasolar (exoplanet) has been one of the most intractable and uncertain in science to date. Even if we find nothing, we will be discovering the truth, i.e., “The most obvious is that we are alone. Humanity may be the only intelligent life in our Galaxy or even Universe.”
Another uncoiling question that vexes my mind is, “Are we humans making plans or destined to abandon this Blue Marble after destroying its Ecosystems and set goals on space exploration, extraterrestrial space colonization, perhaps on Mars?” Is it true that “Either we must leave the Earth or we will perish?” Will the tales of HG Wells, almost 100 years ago, the Shakespeare of Sci-Fi, based on his novel “First men in Moon” become a reality for space travel and space colonization? To my mind, Human space exploration is science's quest for knowledge to address fundamental questions about humanity's place in the Universe, the origins of the Earth, and the history of our Solar system. Space exploration missions must be for the progress of humankind and to foster tangible improvements for the Earth and its inhabitants. To my constructivist mind, the study of Mars should be to expand and have a better understanding of Planet Earth on which we live in. I would also envision Space research (Space industry) to be galvanized as a “technology generator” for human development and well-being on Earth. Space Industrial Revolution would address crucial issues faced by the humanity in renewable energy (Space-based solar power, Moon-based solar power stations for earth, and Deep Space industries for space mining/asteroid mining resources), environment, water, and minerals. To my mind, the future of space exploration should be for human development on Mother Earth ultimately for sustainable development and sustainable humanity. This sentiment was echoed by Apollo astronaut Alfred Worden, “Now I know why I'm here. Not for a closer look at the moon, but to look back at our home, the Earth. We should be grateful to live on Earth.”
Is my argumentation right to be supportive of Yuri Gagarin's sentiment, “When I orbited the Earth in a spaceship, I saw for the first time how beautiful our planet is? Mankind, let us preserve and increase this beauty, and not destroy it!” On the contrary, is it acceptable to let the doomsday of ecosystems degradation tick, as a human fallibility? Should we abide by Konstantin Tsiolkovsky's (Russian rocket scientist) prediction of humanity “The Earth is the cradle of humanity, but mankind cannot stay in the cradle forever?” Yet another argumentation for Human to escape from Planet Earth tenable with human prediction of the “Sixth Extinction” (Anthropocene extinction)? This prediction may be due to various global catastrophic risks (Nuclear war and nuclear winter, Biowarfare, Supervolcanic threats, Global warming, Catastrophic climate change, Pandemics, and Ecosystem collapse) and/or an existential astronomical threats (asteroid impact, cosmic threats, solar storms, solar flares, and alien invasion) to Planet Earth. Does this theory of cataclysmic events with a probability to annihilate humanity from the face of Earth, necessarily mandate humanity to be sapce-faring civilization? In this respect, the Distinguished Professor in Physics and Astronomy (University of New Mexico) Carlton Caves has opined the following verdict, “I would say that the odds are good for our survival. Even the big threats—nuclear warfare or an ecological catastrophe, perhaps following from climate change—aren't existential in the sense that they would wipe us out entirely.” Perhaps, it is wise of me to end this debate on “Catastrophism/Sixth Extinction Theory for Human Annihilation” by reminiscing Charles Darwin's quote - “So profound is our ignorance, and so high our presumption, that we marvel when we hear of the extinction of an organic being; and as we do not see the cause, we invoke cataclysms to desolate the world.”
With the decades of human space exploration, we know that we are the one among billions of worlds in the Milky Way galaxy. Our intricately entangled web of geology, ecology, and biology, integrated human–earth systems, has certainly made this “Blue Marble” the only planet in reach that is perfectly habitable for humans. There really may be no place as Earth, as our home. The collective consciousness of humanity must have a “singular voice” as enshrined in the ancient Indian philosophy of “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam.” This also will awaken the consciousness of eco-spirituality. Eco-spirituality is a fundamental belief in the sacredness of nature, Earth, Man and the Universe. Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam philosophy and the concept of Eco-spirituality will be instrumental in the fabric of human consciousness, the Universal Mind, as the hope for humanity over Armageddon. What matters is that the collective human consciousness and self-realization can certainly recourse the world from the pangs of an artificial ecosystem collapse and human extinction into a sustainable future for humanity.
Humanity at Cross Roads - Rethinking Sustainable Humanity
”This we know: the earth does not belong to man, man belongs to the earth. All things are connected like the blood that unites us all. Man did not weave the web of life; he is but a strand in it. Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself”– Chief Seattle
This message by the Native American Chief Seattle of the Duwamish Tribe to Franklin Pierce, President of the United States in 1855 does indeed reinforce the wisdom of a worldwide Eco-spirituality. I would reiterate that the narrative of humanity's past civilization, humanity and the current modernity seems to be in a violent collision. There seems to be bankruptcy in our emotional intelligence, social morality, and eco-spirituality. To me, there is a decoupling of human intelligence and human collective consciousness and human spirituality. There must be an awakening of the Universal Mind by powering Consciousness and Human thoughts (human and social morality) for development and sustainable humanity. A wholesome attitudinal change in the collective human consciousness is quintessential to restore sustainable humanity. As far as the environmental crisis is concerned, there is a gap between consciousness, mindfulness and ecological spirituality. In an era defined by human impact, I wonder, “Can the human being be an enemy of all humanity?” We, humans, used the Atomic Bomb against our own people. “Aren't such acts an intolerable threat to humanity?” “Aren't the wars and other “dehumanized violence” in today's world a betrayal of humanity?” Philosopher and thinker Erich Fromm laments the fact that despite the man being aware of the risks and dangers of his/her existence, insufficient defences, uncertainty, and fragmentary knowledge, he/she hardly works toward “a rebirth of humanism.” The collective humanity needs to attain an inner transformation of mind with a more matured sense of responsibility toward each other. This is the need of the hour for sustainable humanity. Sustainability denotes “…development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” There must be a balance of modern medicine and technology that is harmonious with nature and its ecosystem health. Only this can take us a long way toward this new vision of sustainable human development.
From the epidemiology of civilization of the human race, we have ignored lessons reiterating Bernard Shaw's reflection, “We learn from history that we learn nothing from history.” I pose another question “Will humanity's inability to learn its lessons from a history of pushing the boundaries of our 'finite' ecosystems to yet another apocalyptic pandemic triggering 'human annihilation' from Mother Nature?” Does human civilization suffer from an inability to conceptualize our future on this planet? Will this tiny SARS-CoV-2 virus empower Human's search for a renewed meaning of “One planet, One health, One future” universal voice of singularity for sustainable humanity? Do we need a new wave of collective consciousness, or will it need a new world to adopt a different way for sustainable Humanity? Human overexploitation of Earth Systems and catastrophic fragmentation of its biodiversity in unsustainable ways has indeed undermined our own well-being, security, and prosperity. “Is the COVID-19 pandemic Mother Nature's response to human transgression?” COVID-19 is Mother Nature's lesson to humanity for the human transgression of Nature's Law and abhorring the respect for Nature's law. As Earth Citizens, we must collectively introspect and face the dire challenges putting humanity at crossroads. The paradox of the human nature is reflected by the following two quotes. Dame Jane Goodall, an outspoken environmental advocate, an anthropologist once echoed, “How is it possible that the most intellectual creature to ever walk the Planet Earth is destroying its only home?” Italian artist Alfred Basha explicated the human paradox, “Humans are the only creature in the world, who cut the trees, make paper from it and then write, 'Save Trees' on it.” Therefore, humanity now stands at a crossroad.
The SARS-CoV-2 virus has demonstrated the fragility of a human-dominated planet as a result of Human's ideology of Anthropocentrism. Isn't the virus forcing us to question the way we live , and how we we exploit and transgress nature? There is an absolute decry of biospheric egalitarianism and planetary health, as well as human's dereliction of moral responsibility for a Sustainable Earth–Human System and an Earth–Environmental Stewardship strategy. It is my informed opinion that the human enterprise in the Anthropocene epoch has gained human dominance at the cost of environmental ignorance or indifference to the ecology, this being the genesis for a collision course for a climate (global warming) and environmental crisis (planetary health crisis), human–earth system disruption, widespread ecosystem collapse, and emerging infectious diseases. The Anthropocene has only accelerated the potential for emerging infectious diseases and the risk of pandemics. There is a lack of understanding and respect for Nature's law and the arrogance of not realizing that human health is intricately and inextricably connected to our planet's ecosystem health. The whole Cosmos is an interconnected oneness; the whole existence is interwoven and intertwined. This interconnectedness underpins the concept of 'One Health”. This concept focusses on emergent infectious diseases, and indeed underscores that human health,animal health and ecosystem health are inextricably linked. This approach would ensure the well-being of people, animals and the environment through coordinated, multi-disciplinary and collaborative problem-solving-truely working at the local,regional,national, and global levels.
The Fourth Industrial Revolution during the Anthropocene human epoch has certainly inflicted an unprecedented destructive environmental crisis and Earth system crisis. Human society is in jeopardy from the accelerating decline of the Earth's natural life support systems. Human activity has impacted both the abundance and diversity of animals and plants. The International Union for Conservation of Nature estimates a quarter of mammals, and more than two-fifths of amphibians are threatened with extinction. Oceans are no longer a sanctuary. Only 3% of marine areas are free from human pressure. The world is losing its tree (forest) cover due to artificial man-made deforestation. More than half of Earth's rain forests have already been lost due to the human demand for wood and arable land. Through deforestation, it has been estimated that the world loses between 74,000 and 95,000 square miles of forest a year, which is an area the size of 48 football fields lost every minute. Humans cutting down 15 billion trees per year, deforestation of the Amazon rainforest, critically reducing the reservoir of sea life, dwindling the Arctic Sea Ice, and Global warming, forest fires, wildlife habitat fragmentation, are a few to mention that lends credence to the supremacy of human over nature's ecosystems and eco security.
We need to reimagine sustainable humanity from a concept of hyper-individualism of humans as the dominant species on Planet Earth, the human centeredness and hubris of Anthropocentrism. Instead, humankind should recourse its footprints on our Terra Madre by advocating the “doctrine of species impartiality,” the doctrine of “biospherical egalitarianism,” and “species egalitarianism” for a biocentric world of human–nature harmony, a phenomenological whole, a universal oneness concept. The COVID-19 pandemic should be a wake-up call for all Earth citizens to campaign for an Earth Democracy movement to secure a sustainable ecological civilization.
Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam: Our “Universal Oneness” Responsibility
”Each individual is an expression of the collective consciousness of humanity, and the collective consciousness of humanity is an expression of the one universal consciousness.” – Eckhart Tolle
”The ingenuity with which we continue to reshape the surface of our planet is very striking, but it's also sobering. It reminds me of just how easy it is for us to lose our connection with the natural world. Yet it's on this connection that the future of both humanity and of the natural world will depend.”
– David Attenborough
As the 21st century unfolds, humanity is paradoxically standing on a precipice. Nature is in crisis, threatened by a triple crisis of nature (biodiversity and habitat loss), climate (global warming), and pollution. Failure to act is failing humanity. Humanity depends on collective action now for a resilient and sustainable future.
The COVID-19 crisis is highlighting serious deficiencies in our collective mindset on sustainable human well-being and sustainable Earth–Human ecosystems. COVID-19 humanitarian crisis should give every earth citizen to introspect and summon insights on rethinking sustainable humanity. The COVID-19 pandemic and the invisible enemy, the very tiny SARS-CoV-2, are now offering a stunning lesson for our time. Humankind's omnipotence is now at the mercy of the SARS-CoV-2 virus! Are we ready to reimagining humanity and new human consciousness for charting a course toward sustainable humanity on Planet Earth?
To my mind, the Indian philosophy of oneness has special relevance in today's world that is reeling from the humanitarian crisis of COVID-19. The “black hole” dented in the history of humanity by the pandemic is an emotive and reflective moment for us to pledge for a “One Planet, One Health, One Future” in the post-COVID-19 world looking at Earth Stewardship and Sustainable Nature-Sustainable Humanity. This essence reiterates a “Universal Oneness” concept of the Human–Nature relationship as reflected in the ancient Indian concept of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam (the Whole Earth is one family). Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam is a Vedantic Sanskrit phrase found in the Maha Upanishad and the Rig Veda which means “the entire world is one family.” This verse of Maha Upanishad is considered the most important moral value in the Indian society and is also engraved in the entrance hall of the parliament of India. Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam is one of the most powerful phrases in Sanskrit which is the singular voice of unity, peace, and oneness.
”Ayam nijo paro veti ganana laghuchetasam, Udaracharitanam tu vasudhaiva Kutumbakam”
The English translation of the Sanskrit quote is ”for narrow-minded people, things belong to him or others, but a person with a broad mind does not differentiate. For him, the universe is a big family, so everybody belongs to one family where everything is shared.” Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam ultimately expresses the ultimate philosophy of oneness. The Inclusive ethos of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam does explicate that the word “World” used here represents not only people but to embrace the co-existentialism of the flora and fauna, a Human–Nature Symbioses. This ethos galvanizes “Generation Symbiocene,” the Creation of a New World, from chaos to sustainability. This will certainly transcend our current astigmatism of “false binaries,” i.e. Humans versus Nature, and Humans versus Non-Humans. To me, Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam in a neutral geopolitical orientation, does indeed represent the “mantra” for a global blueprint for sustainability, both for sustainable humanity and for global environmental sustainability.
This mantra will be an era of companionship, of the “living together as one family” for mutual interdependence, endorsing species egalitarianism and planetary health when life on Earth is not destroyed, but instead nurtured, by humans. Life on this habitable Planet Earth must be envisioned as an entanglement and that humanity and nature are not separate, instead a harmonious biocentric world. The “Universal Oneness” voice must be representative of a global ecological governance policy for charting a “One World, One Health” Concept. This Indian philosophy of collectivism and egalitarianism as promulgated by foundational pillars of Vasudhiva Kutumbakam would certainly herald a brave new world of equality, compassion, care, and renewed consciousness for sustainable planetary health and security. This undoubtedly will enshrine mutualism and safeguard human health and human well-being on this spectacular habitable Blue Marble. We all need each other.
Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam and “Earth Anthem”
”Our cosmic oasis, cosmic blue pearl, the most beautiful planet in the Universe…Diverse cultures, beliefs and ways, We are humans, Earth is our home, All the people and all the nations, One for all and all for one, United we unfurl the blue marble flag.,” Universal Earth Anthem, 2020
Reimagining sustainable humanity as our “Universal Oneness” shared responsibility is unquestionably reflected and inspired by the “Earth Anthem.” This renewed collective consciousness inspired by the “Earth Anthem” was the unique initiative of Indian Poet-Diplomat Abhay Kumar in 2008. It is the philosophy of Vadudhaiva Kutumbakam that inspires the idea of a common Earth Anthem. Earth Anthem is a song that eulogizes the Earth, its beauty, its diversity. Till now, Earth Anthem has been translated into over 50 languages spoken across the world including all six official UN languages covering 95% of humanity and is used by thousands of schools worldwide to celebrate Earth Day and World Environment Day.
Another Indian gift to the world marked the Golden Jubilee of Earth Day on April 22, 2020, by the creation of a “New Earth anthem.” The legendary musicians and violinist Dr. L. Subramaniam produced a new video of the Earth Anthem set to music by him, penned by Poet-Diplomat Abhay Kumar, and was sung by renowned playback singer Padma Shri Kavita Krishnamurti Subramaniam and Bindu Subramaniam. The United Nations commemorated this new Earth Anthem on April 22, 2020, as emblematic of the global solidarity against COVID-19 and to reiterate that we are part of nature and not a master of it. The Earth Anthem Movement is interwoven with the art of poetry through lyrics, and the art of music thorough the melody all of which that transcends our mind. This powerful vibrational sound energy of the new Earth Anthem indeed creates a meditational platform to ponder upon a universal consciousness for earth democracy and sustainable humanity. We must converge to a collectivistic philosophy of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam for an emerging collective human consciousness to converge Science, human society, and the Anthropocene for a sustainable planet and toward a trajectory of a Symbiocene. The most important religion is humanity. There is no time to waste.
Regardless of nationality, sociocultural, economic, and geopolitical boundaries, we need to understand wholeheartedly that all life is interdependent, otherwise; we will not be able to fight climate change, biodiversity loss, the devastating climatic emergencies, ecosystem disruption, human health and disease, vector-borne and zoonotic emerging infectious diseases, or this COVID-19 virus pandemic. We need a working charter for earth stewardship and environmental for a planetary health trajectory. This will enshrine bio (eco-) centrism, biospheric egalitarianism, and a renewed “thinking through environmentalism,” respecting the human–nature systems paving for a sustainable environment and sustainable health. Humanity and nature are not separate and life on Earth must be viewed as a life entanglement where the fates of humanity and nature are intertwined.
COVID-19 Pandemic Lessons:taught Or Caught?
Our mother earth is teaching us a lesson in universal responsibility. This blue planet is a delightful habitat. Its life is our life; its future, our future. Indeed, the earth acts like a mother to us all; as her children, we are dependent on her.
– Dalai Lama (Earth Day: April 22, 2020)
What is the COVID-19 Crisis telling humanity? To my mind, the battle for Humanity will strike a chord only if we would introspect to reimagining humanity and reimagining our sustainable future. Have we Earthlings ever bothered to make sense of the Blue Marble's planet's preciousness and precariousness? Have we human beings respected and understood the fragility of Earth Ecosystems, Climate, and Biodiversity with the increasing negative human impacts on earth systems functioning? A new world order with the mantra of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam and the soul-awakening mantra of the New Earth Anthem should ingrain in us one universal truth, i.e., the common thread for sustainable human health that is intricately and inexorably linked to sustainable planetary system. I believe that humanity is now on the edge of the cliff. To me,the lessons not learnt from the threat of previous pandemics and other health crisis, would be the choice we need to rethink,learn,unlearn, and relearn. The learning opportunities and educational reforms to create sustainable trajectories are discussed further. The realms for recalibrating and rethinking our sustainable future should involve Ecopedagogy,Environmental education,Planetary/environmental humanities, One health, and Sustainable health education. We need to rethink our human behaviour/values for Human wellbeing, Ecospirituality, and for achieving Universal Human Oneness. The pledge for sustainable humanity is certainly not a sprint, instead a marathon long-term transformation of the collective oneness of humanity. and for a deeper consciousness of compassion for all life.
Universal Environmental Education: Educating for Humanity
Friends of the Earth International, a network environmental organization, has expanded the World Health Organization definition of health, stating: “health is a state of complete physical, mental, social, and ecological well-being and not merely the absence of disease – personal health involves planetary health. Therefore, we must foster an “Earth Citizen” Movement, a global campaign for every “Earthling” to take moral responsibility for the earth, committed to creating a better future for humanity and the hope of earth systems sustainability, the foundation of life on the Blue Marble Planet of ours. As an Earth citizen trapped amid this raving COVID-19 crisis, I find it imperative to galvanize a movement for “Universal Human Education.” I call this movement as Internationalization of an environmental education curriculum. The Universal Education Program must be pivotal in reenergizing Universal Human Values where the human being is empowered to be in harmony at the level of individual, family, society, and nature. Humanity needs to self-introspect on the “Nature of Respect for The Respect of Nature.” This will be in resonance with the collectivistic and inclusive philosophy of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam paving the way forward for a “One Planet, One Health, One Future.” Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam certainly and so beautifully enshrines and embodies the concept of “Universal Human Order,” (Universal Human Oneness) galvanizing harmonious co-existentialism with Nature securing a sustainable future for humanity.
The current educational thrust is only an education that is compartmentalized, fragmented, and disconnected from the natural environment. In the next century, educational thrust must be targeted toward “ecological intelligence.” This will empower earth citizens to comprehend systems in all their complexity, as well as the intricate and intertwined relationship between the natural and artificial world, to see them from a non-dualistic perspective. I would envision an Education for Sustainable Development (ESD). ESD is defined as a “concept that encompasses a new vision of education that seeks to empower people of all ages to be responsible for creating and enjoying a sustainable future.” Only a humanistic education system that combines sciences, engineering, and technology with humanities, social sciences, and liberal arts can produce such critical thinkers, intellectuals, conscience-keepers, and revolutionaries, who can understand and draw inspiration from the past, live in the present, and develop a vision for the future. Medical educators should call for a renewed era for developing an innovative curriculum and pedagogical strategies in medical schools and public health curriculum. This inevitably must have thrust on climate–environmental medicine, planetary health humanities, environmental humanities, disaster medicine, and public health preparedness. This holism may be best summarized by the words of David Orr, Professor of Environmental Studies and Politics, “Education is no guarantee of decency, prudence, or wisdom. Much of the same kind of education will only compound our problems. This is not an argument for ignorance but rather a statement that the worth of education must now be measured against the standards of decency and human survival – the issues now looming so large before us in the twenty-first century. It is not education, but education of a certain kind that will save us.”
As Educators, how could we mend our disconnection with Mother Nature? To my mind, it would be a universal educational ladder, from the cradle to the grave would be one of the pivotal instrument for attaining Sustainable Development Goals (in particular SDG 4.7; education for sustainable development and global citizenship, and SDG 13; climate change education and awareness). Educators have been asked to reinvent our teaching and our courses, not only for children but also for young people. The system of continuous environmental education for sustainable development should include a generalizing ideological course at each stage of education at school and university levels of education. During these tumultuous times, we should prioritize people and the planet above the profit. The COVID-19 era is an opportunity for us all, especially in planetary education and environmental stewardship to reflect more deeply about curricular content and pedagogies that influence Humanity and the natural world, toward sustainable human living systems and sustainable ecosystems. Since Education is universal, I would reiterate the absolute need to reinvent the curriculum fostering a “Universal Environmental Education” for promoting Environmental literacy, Ecological literacy, and Environmental humanities. There is an absolute need to engage more of the young and youth through education to eradicate Ecoagnosy and change the direction of humanity. As far as the role of early childhood education (“Earth School”) including Colleges and University education, there should be an integrated cross-curricular educational paradigm incorporating STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics) curriculum to an “Earth Curriculum.” There must also be a renewed thrust in school education where schoolchildren are taught and learn from their experiences of the natural world in written and art form that can cultivate wonder at and connection to the natural world. In another words, I see solutions only if educators could bring about an Ecopedagogy movement paving the way forward for an Ecological Civilization.
Furthermore, India, being the civilization of the Vedantas, the mindfulness of human consciousness and man's moral responsibility could be nurtured for sustainable education. A multifaceted sustainable educational curriculum should involve another dimension of Eco-spirituality right from childhood in the schools. Vedanta, recognizes that 'fundamentally all life is one, that in essence, everything is real, and that this oneness finds its natural expression in a reverence for all things.' Reflecting on the Buddhist verse “Cittena nīyati loko, cittena parikassati”, it wisely states that the world operates through the human mind. I reiterate that humanity therefore undoubtedly needs a spiritual re-awakening for a moralistic consciousness of Ecospirituality. The man should see spirituality as another important dimension of human consciousness that would contribute to how we could value our environment.
The Education for a Sustainable Planet, Planetary Health would need to be integrated holistically into medical school clinical education that will promulgate sustainable healthcare education (SHE)., There is currently little SHE in medical education curriculum. I believe that medical education must foster an education that dwells on the impact of climate change and human health (Climate Medicine), ecosystems and health (Planetary Education), environmental sustainability (Environmental Humanities), and biodiversity loss (Biodiversity Education) on health as well as the impact of the healthcare industry., We need to reinvent a network of academics, doctors, and healthcare students in medical schools for teaching–learning objectives to drive home the links between medical practice and a more environmentally and socially sustainable world.
Reimagining Human Behavior - Sustainable Humanity
”Man is a rope stretched between the animal and the Superman— a rope over an abyss. A dangerous crossing, a dangerous wayfaring, a dangerous looking-back, a dangerous trembling and halting. What is great in man is that he is a bridge and not a goal. I love him who makes his virtue his inclination and destiny” - Friedrich Nietzsche (Thus Spoke Zarathustra: A Book for All or None, 1883-1891)
I often wondered 'How do we become more human?” Perhaps, the answer lies in the humanist movement of 'Universal Humanism'. This secularization concept transcends the boundaries of singular cultures, religions, traditions, nations, races and political systems in this era of globalization. This will enshrine a wholeness and universality to human values for the goodness of humanity. This will be the renewed meaning of the human person on a global level. The philosophical, theological and pedagogical reflection on Universal humanism is beyond the scope of the editorial. The philosophy of Universal Humanism and secularism in the globalization era was well explicated by Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore, one of India's greatest poet, social reformer and philosopher. Rabindranath's higher ideology of universalism fosters higher ideals of the oneness of humankind and a world without borders. His idea of universal man is the highest form of realization of human nature or existence, is only to being more human, which certainly, is not extra-human or super-human. Being more human necessitates understanding the human value or goodness as the socio-cultural value of creative humanity. This realization will then be the wellsprings for the human fountain of the absolute value of unity.
Surely, this 'Universal Oneness' of shared humanity and shared responsibility would enable us to do everything within our power to create a planet that provides a home not just for us, but for all life on Earth. 'Thinking Human, Humane Education, and Being Human' certainly could change the world tomorrow and save Planet Earth. I have very often wondered about the human brain, revolutions in neurosciences and neurotechnology to evolve into a 'sciences without humanity' as far as the futurology of Man is considered. Our galloping powers of technology have spawned a new class of human-generated dangers. Having read Yuval Noah Harari's book 'Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind', it does portray to me mankind's extraordinary ingenuity, cognitive revolution, neuroanthropology, and probably the evolution of Homo sapiens into Homo Dues in about 300 years, if Mankind manages to prevent self-annihilation. Homo means human, and sapien means wise. Deus means God. Harari maintains that when humans were hunter/gatherers, we saw ourselves as just a part of nature, not as separate and above the other animals. However, the current view is one of humanocentrism, techno-humanism and human exceptionalism. I wonder if Homo Deus would supplant humans as the planet's dominant species. Humans are now in the perils of neurocentrism, a view that human experience and behaviour could be best explained from the predominant or even exclusive perspective of the brain. To my mind, there must be a deep sense of morality in the currents trends of the neuroscience revolution especially from an ethical, legal, and social perspective. Would these Superhumans pose a threat to humanity? Will a “post-human” evolution possessing God-like super-intelligence through techno-humanism (Brain nanotechnology, artificial intelligence, cyborg engineering, robotics, bio-enhancement, eugenics and synthetic biology) threat our intelligence and creative capacity to our future? Would Superhumans figure a way off-planet Earth, and maybe even the solar system? Would they be likely to colonize other planets and stars?
Therefore, I think it is time for rethinking human behavior to re-signify human life, to rethink our roles in common society, and to reshape values and moral principles towards the goal of sustainable humanity and “Universal humanism.” In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, rethinking human behavior is quintessential as the collective mankind must be fully geared up for a marathon, not a short-term sprint, in combating COVID-19 pandemic and its existential threats. This needs to take the form of a discourse at the intersections of social and health sciences, social and critical psychology, social anthropology, philosophy, education for sustainable development, and health humanities. The behavior (crowd and collective behavior) and cognitive polyphasia of the individual agency as well as the collective human society and social solidarity have to be studied, as well as the psychology of value-based behavior change during the COVID-19 pandemic. I reiterate that the individual is the collective, the collective is the individual. Therefore, harmonizing the individual and the collective has been one of the most challenging problems faced by human societies. A collective behavior change inclusive of environmental philanthropy is needed to orchestrate collective action to safeguard sustainable humanity.
The year 2020 was a year like no other where the COVID-19 pandemic wreaked havoc of our lives and livelihood. 2021 did start with the hope of combating the pandemic through COVID vaccines. However, the crisis is far from over. Infections are soaring high in several countries, including India. A new and concerning COVID-19 challenge now is the new variants of SARS-CoV-2, through the engine of virus evolution - the emergence of “variants of interest” and “variants of concern.”
Our Planet, Our Future: Sustainability and Human Values
”One of the first conditions of happiness is that the link between man and nature shall not be broken.” – Leo Tolstoy
Without a doubt, COVID-19 is a wake-up call for humanity. Hence, I wonder about the futurology of Humankind on this habitable blue marble and Man's place in the Cosmos. Man the Unknown, perhaps not truly Homo sapiens (Latin: “wise man”) nor Homo empatheticus remains a stranger in a world he has mechanically created. Homo sapiens has lost its sapience and lost insight into the many wonders of the universe he inhabits as human civilization, in particular Planet Mother Earth. Toward what kind of future is humankind now tending? Is human society engaged in a global gamble based on the assumption that technology, aided by human ingenuity and creativity, can remake the world and manage its resources for immediate an material benefit to humanity without regard to natural law and the fate of other species? It is said the humans have a larger telencephalon, an enormous brain, from the upstanding apes to Neanderthals. Hence, I ask when and how do we learn, unlearn and relearn in a collective mindset to prevent a crumbling civilization to secure and reshape our common destiny on Planet Earth? The answer will determine the continuation of our human ascension; or rather predict our apocalyptic annihilation from an unsustainable planet and global human health.
Scientism reflects a mechanistic worldview, in that it treats the world as a highly complex, sophisticated system, or mechanism with interrelated but separable parts. We have a choice between a thriving, sustainable world or a world that is dangerous, degraded, and depleted for future generations. Humanity needs to move forward toward Sustainability; Sustainable Humanity, and Sustainable Nature which undoubtedly will depend on a different set of human values which accepts a new set of relevant facts capable of guiding humanity to a new and better worldview of the future. Humanity needs to work with nature, not against it. As an epilogue to this Editorial, a universal collectivistic non-dualistic ideology of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam should echo one motto “My Earth, My Responsibility as Earth Citizen” at various crossroads of our human enterprise on our Terra Madre. This will undoubtedly prevent an apocalyptic turn in human–nature relationships and ultimately human annihilation. The Anthropocene epoch of human history inevitably has vividly portrayed its nonsustainability, its perverse resilience, its authoritarianism, and symbolizing ecoagnosy. Instead, we should envision and strategize policies and practices that will be pivotal in exiting the Anthropocene to facilitate addressing Human and Ecosystem Health in a holistic and integrated way. This universal “One planet, One health, One future” ethos will safeguard human and planetary health in a renewed human epoch of entering the Symbiocene, galvanizing environmental transformative justice, and retreating from the Hubris of the Anthropocene.
Resonating with the quote by the prominent environmentalist David Brower, “We don't inherit the earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children,” the New Earth Anthem of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam human ethos will serve as a moral obligation to the well-being of our future generations. This ethos will also indeed galvanize a universal framework for restoring vaccine diplomacy for promoting scientific collaboration for vaccine development and ensuring vaccine equity. The footprints of human history, and our children, will judge our choice. So let's stand up to the COVID-19 wakeup call, get to work now, and make a “Sustainable Humanity, Sustainable Nature” our responsibility that the future of humankind will be proud of. Our “Universal Oneness” responsibility does underscore the quintessential priority to safeguarding and promoting the rights and guarding the future generations. We need to recognize our collective responsibility on intergenerational equity and to recognize that all decisions have long-term implications for the well-being of people and the planet. We need to catalyze our commitments of Vasudhaiva Kutumakam and move in the trajectory of health for humanity and sustainable humanity toward SDG 3 (Good Health and Well-being). In addition, only a Syndemic theoretical framework and policy could translate to an impactful collaborative multi-level prevention strategy for the control and mitigation of the COVID-19 crisis. The future is now for collective action and shared responsibilities in support of current and future generations.
To me, the solemnity of this editorial underscores that this is the decisive decade for the future generation of humanity on Planet Earth, our home. The window is still open for the future for sustainable humanity. The COVID vaccine is just a 'quick-fix' solution, and I stress the absolute need to injecting humanity with the philosophy of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam as a borderless global diplomacy for sustainable humanity tethered in a geopolitical neutral modus operandi. I must underscore that the solutions to the COVID 19 pandemic and planetary emergency will also be accelerated and galvanized by the spirit of environmental philanthropy and eco-spirituality world view. This 'highest good' of the collective consciousness of Man would indeed help build the 'Kingdom of God on Earth' thus relinquishing the need for construction of a Tower of Babel. Let us reminisce the wisdom in the words of His Holiness Dalai Lama's words “Today we understand that the future of humanity very much depends on our planet and that the future of the planet very much depends on humanity.” Let the renewed human compassion for Earth democracy and sustainable humanity be instrumental in safeguarding our collective humanitarian heritage. We should not let humanity down the drain. Let the universal renaissance in social philosophy for 'Oneness in Diversity' unite humankind as a part of the cosmic oasis on Planet Earth for a 'One planet,One health,One future' sustainable trajectory in a post-COVID 19 world. This was perfectly echoed by the Prime Minister of India, Mr.Narendra Modi on a virtual platform at the First Outreach session of the recent G7 summit held in Cornwall, United Kingdom.
”The Earth does not belong to us: we belong to the Earth.”
– Marlee Matlin
”The idea of oneness is that human beings are intricately and inextricably intertwined and share a common destiny with the other people, creatures, and things of this world.”
– Philip J. Ivanhoe (2017)
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