Lord Ganesh is a fascinating god and a dear one for many people. As we are celebrating his birthday, I could not help but draw parallels between the story of Ganesh’s origin and sustainability. To me, it represents sustainability and possibly could have given a solution to global warming.
Here, I am referring to the story which was narrated by my dear grandmother. In that story, Lord Ganesh was created from the skin of Goddess Parvati using her shakti so that he could guard her bathroom while she was inside. What strikes me is her choice of raw material. She used what was available to her and did not venture out looking for incredible materials. She also did not seek help from anyone, instead did the sculpting on her own.
Traditionally, our ancestors were practising what the Goddess had taught us. They made use of mud and clay that was available locally and made Ganesh idols and worshipped him at their houses. After the worship they immersed the god in the nearby water bodies such as a pond, lake, sea or ocean. The clay and mud idol then dissolved in the water, thereby adding nutrients to the water bodies. This entire process could have a possible connection in preventing global warming.
Recently, I learned from a Netflix series Connected about Phytoplanktons. These microscopic algae found in deep oceans, help in regulating oxygen and carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere, cloud formation and reducing greenhouse gas concentration in the atmosphere. Phytoplanktons need nutrients such as iron and phosphorous for their growth and are generally dependent on dust storms that come from the land to the ocean. Scientists are studying their behaviour and experimenting with the idea of increasing their numbers to reduce global warming.
Mud and clay have lots of nutrients that are required by Phytoplanktons. Making our lord’s idol out of these material and immersing it in the ocean could be a simple way of providing nutrients to water bodies where phytoplankton and other aquatic life thrive. Historically, millions of such idols made of mud and clay immersed every year could have possibly given quite a lot of nutrients.
Whether this could help in reducing global warming or not is something for scientists to find out. But the fact that the idol made of clay and mud does not harm marine life and could add nutrients to the oceans seems logical. Therefore, following the traditional way of making idols may hold the key to preserving the environment.
With this thought, and inspired by many climate warriors, this year, we made our own Ganesh idol using mud, cow dung and our home compost. Our stories and traditions can only live as long as our earth exists. Therefore, let us all come together on this auspicious day and pledge to take steps to nourish the health of our planet’s ecosystem, thereby, secure our future.