Saturday, July 19, 2008

Monsoon arrival from Flickr.com







Monsoon pics from "flickr.com"


"Monsoon" poem

Oyster-tongue, mangrove maw, the river's raw
sour breath, its moist air encumbered with mud,
mad with waiting, with grief, ready now to shed
upwards its uncoiling of earth's dry dirt-thirst,
ready to exhale the season's held-in vertigo,
so every fur and scurry must pause in a pose
of praises and prayer,
as the safe-sided contours of Kerala blur
to a dazed stillness before the chaos of wind;
in the small rain something fierce stirs
the river's grim, single-minded currents, furrowed
by history's keel, trawled by the spinning sleepers
fallen to its revolving arms - even the changeful
river knows this change will turn vast systems
awry - then the true rain begins: random power,
endowed with shower of bounty, whips wind,
shreds vine, cracks bark, mangosteen, jackfruit,
slaps the baby palm, uproots lemon and tapioca,
flattens the cowering tufts of pineapple, then douses
the world in torrents of self-cycled water, maddened
by sea-rhythm and pounding heartless thud
for unclocked hours, a constant torment of deluge
slow on the green land, the river, the annihilated air
- snakeholes flooded, monkey and woodpecker
mute, cats made fearful, cattle clustered -
the houses funnel a rush of worried water,
water plumes through its own wet world, fierce
in its dream of water, and water made flesh by water,
a perfect craze of water, the mother of water,
of water creatures born from the water in this line.

Latest Southwest monsoon LIMITS


And here is a snap from monsoon

Bible reference for climate

Does the Bible offer any guidance on issues related to climate change? The answer is yes.

The first verse of the Bible expresses the great story of God’s creation in just ten words: In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth (Genesis 1:1). Later on the Bible reasserts: The heavens declare the glory of God, the skies proclaim the work of his hands (Psalm 19:1), and once again: The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it (Psalm 24:1). There is no ambiguity in the Bible whatever about who owns this earth, it is God.

Immediately after the narration of the sequence of events in the process of creation, the Bible gives a clear indication of the relationship that God wanted to establish between man and nature: God wanted human beings to fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and every living creature that moves on the ground….I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it (Genesis 1:28-29). Thus everything in nature was made freely available to man for use and enjoyment. The exploitation of nature by man has God’s sanction.

The Bible is clear again about man’s ownership rights, that he has none. We brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it (1 Timothy 6:6). A man…as he comes so he departs, he takes nothing from his labour that he can carry in his hand (Ecclesiastes 5:14).

Even if one does not believe in the Bible, no human being can possibly stake a claim to the ownership of the earth. Even what we legally own, be it land, material wealth or intellectual property, is ours only in a temporary and relative sense. One of the most famous short stories of Leo Tolstoy had as its title this question: “How much land does a man need?” The answer provided at the end of the story was “six by three”, signifying that a plot of that size would be enough to bury not just a man’s body but also his ambitions and greed.

There are two parables of Jesus (Matthew 21:33-44, 25:14-30) about a master who has to go away leaving his property in charge of servants. The master expects his trusted servants to take care of the property and put it to good use in his absence, but that does not happen. These parables are equally applicable to man’s use of the environment. Man is still free to use all that nature provides and that includes land, oceans and the atmosphere. Nature does not ask for a payment in return for oxygen, water or sunlight which are essential for our remaining alive. However, with this great power to exploit nature, comes an equally great responsibility. When we get something free, we have a choice: we can either be careless and destroy it, or we can be caring and nurture it. It is very clear what God expects us to do, to reap nature’s benefits without being reckless. Man need not bear a feeling of guilt while exploiting nature, but he must be aware of his limits.

Agriculture is perhaps the most legitimate and inoffensive manner of exploitation of nature by man: A man reaps what he sows (Galatians 6:7). The Bible does not always speak of this law in its agricultural context, but it also uses it in a figurative and illustrative way. In another parable (Matthew 13:23), Jesus explained the spread of the word of God in terms of the scattering of seed in different environments and the varying results. Paul advised: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously (2 Corinthians 9:6).

The law of sowing and reaping, however, is not that linear or straightforward as it appears. One may sow but another may reap (Ecclesiastes 6:2). The race is not to the swift, or the battle to the strong, nor does food come to the wise or wealth to the brilliant, or favour to the learned (Ecclesiastes 9:11). On a spiritual plane, Paul likens sowing and harvest to the resurrection of the dead. The body is sown in dishonour, it is raised in glory, it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power (1 Corinthians 43).

The sowing-reaping law does not operate on its own. Paul said, I planted the seed, Apollos watered, but God made it grow (1 Corinthians 3:6). This is an indication that God can and does have the override switch in the process. David wondered in one of his psalms: When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him? (Psalm 8:3-4). The truth is that the Maker of heaven and earth does care for each one of us and He does intervene in earthly matters.

It is clear that we have sown carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, and we are now reaping the harvest of global warming. Again, like the Teacher of Ecclesiastes, we are experiencing the flaw that while one sows, another reaps. It is the western industrialized nations that have sown carbon dioxide, but it is the poorer developing nations who are reaping the ill-effects through the unified climate system of the earth. And like at many other compelling moments in our lives, we are raising the clich├ęd question: Where is God and what is he doing? Or is he just a bystander in the climate change process?

There are innumerable instances mentioned in the Bible wherein God has used nature and natural phenomena in a seemingly supernatural manner to accomplish his purposes. But there is no Biblical account of man having brought about climate change. Thus the present episode of anthropogenically induced global warming and climate change has no analogue in the Bible. However, we have this promise of God to reassure us: As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, will never cease…never again will there be a flood to destroy the earth (Genesis 8:22, 9:11). God is certainly mindful of what man is doing to his earth and he will certainly act at the appropriate time and in the appropriate manner in order to keep his promise.

Man’s vision of the future climate is a product of climate models. These models can make projections for the next hundred years or so, on the basis of what are called emission scenarios that reflect varying levels of energy consumption. But the most final and beautiful scenario that the Bible paints before us, is of that heavenly land supplied with boundless energy, watered by the river of life, and lined by the trees of life that will give fruits in due season, and where man will not have to toil anymore (Revelation 21:4,23, 22:1-2).