Real-time Earth and Moon phase

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Lifeline for nature, etc.

I come across an interesting article this morning entitled "Lifeline for Nature" by Francis Dass in NSTonline of Malaysia, I believe. The article is really aimed at commenting on the pollutions in mainland China. But I was attracted by the abundance of proverbs, quotes, and citations in the article. It starts with:
"There’s so much pollution in the air now that if it weren’t for our lungs, there’d be no place to put it all!” — Robert Orben, American author and comedy writer.
Then he proceeded with the current events:
The country is already in the limelight, what with the upcoming Beijing Olympics and the recent Tibetan uprisings. But it’s no secret too that the country suffers massive pollution.

(Coincidentally, at the moment, China is at the centre of the world’s media attention for a few interesting reasons: the upcoming Beijing Olympics, the Tibetan uprising and, of course, the country’s seemingly perennial struggle with pollution.)
And it led to his main theme:
Traditional Chinese thinking has always respected Nature and the awesome power it wields. Take the Chinese adage, for example, that says: “Not only can water float a boat, it can sink it also.”
Yes, I know exactly that Chinese adage. Come to think of it, it is even appropriate to freaque waves. Somehow this is the first time I ever thought about the connection.
Decision-makers the world over may do well to pay heed — the damming of rivers and the clearing of forests, for instance, have caused untold damage to lives and property in almost every corner of the globe over the years.

Other Chinese sayings allude to Nature’s power: “A spark can start a fire that burns the entire prairie” and “Man’s schemes are inferior to those made by heaven.” “Heaven” here can be interpreted as Mother Nature.
Again I am familiar with the two Chinese sayings he cited. I may wish to argue that for Chinese people the word "Heaven" tends to mean God more than Mother Nature.
Clearing a hill indiscriminately of its forest for more development? Then, decision makers have to seriously think of the landslides and mud avalanche that have befallen men, women and children around the world during rainy spells, as a result of deforestation.

Do development planners ever give a thought to the consequences of deforestation: the landslides and the havoc they create in the lives of people?

Perhaps they should ponder on this lovely Chinese proverb: “Keep a green tree in your heart, and perhaps a singing bird will come.”
Here, finally, I am stunned. I must confess that I have no idea off hand what the proverb was in Chinese originally.
The 19th century American philosopher and poet Ralph Waldo Emerson takes that notion one step further when he said, “The creation of a thousand forests is in one acorn.”

New York’s famed Central Park is testament to the great beauty man can create, if he so chooses.

Made famous by American cinema and television, Central Park was created in 1853 and is a sprawling, 344-hectare park.

“One generation plants the trees, and another gets the shade” declares yet another Chinese proverb. And we might add that all future generations are usually very appreciative of forefathers who leave them a legacy of nature. Ask any young New Yorker about Central Park and you would know how true this saying is.
I definitely know this proverb, but off hand I am not certain about the exactly saying in Chinese originally. Now here again, I lived near New York City's Central Park for a while many years ago, I never thought of making the connection between the Central Park and a Chinese proverb. I do remember though, looked out from my 17th floor apartment window, those beautiful tree tops of the Central Park -- as compared to the ugly roof tops of the city buildings adjacent to the park.

Mr. Dass continues with his vast knowledge of famous sayings:
Saint Basil the Great who lived during the fourth century was reputed to have said that “a tree is known by its fruit, a man by his deeds”.

Local politicians, take note. Respect can be gained by simply following this advice by the 18th century Linnaeus: “If a tree dies, plant another in its place.”

Then you have Aristotle, one of history’s greatest philosophers, observing that “we are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit”. How much better the world will be if all of us heeded this pearl of wisdom!

But in reality, Greed is the god the world worships and this insight is what India’s most famous son, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi a.k.a. Mahatma Gandhi, saw right from the start. His sobering dictum is: “There is sufficiency in the world for man’s need, not for man’s greed.”

Native Americans also celebrate Mother Nature by giving voice to its beauty and force in language.

“When a man moves away from nature, his heart becomes hard” is one penetrating observation.

So is this eye-opener: “The rain falls on the just and unjust.”

And we could go on and on with sayings of old.
He also pointed out what most American politicians and drive-by medias don't have the guts to even whisper:
Sadly, China is one of Earth’s worst polluters.

Mercifully, Chinese leaders are now trying to undo the damage they have done.

They are now taking serious measures to curb pollution in preparation for the Beijing Olympics in August. How good it would be to see a China the way it was!
Ah! How good it would be to see a China the way it was! But the two sentences leading to it were only wishful thinkings at best. I guess Mr. Dass may or may not know that the Commie thugs destroyed millions households in the famous Peiking alleys that preserved thousands of years of history and traditions in the old city for the sake of Olympics.

"To see a China the way it was!" Yes, sadly that can only be done now probably in your dreams. But this is not the world and era made for dreams. Open your eyes wide, you can only see spineless politicians kowtow to the rowdy, bully thugs all over the world.

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