Sadhguru speaks about how ecology and the spiritual process are intimately connected in this post on World Environment Day.

Sadhguru: As a generation, ours has taken the biggest bite off the planet. Whatever we do for the environment today is neither service nor a great achievement; it is a matter of survival. It’s not the planet that is in danger today; we are.

Today is World Environment Day. Unfortunately, we live in times when human consciousness is so compartmentalized that we have forgotten there is actually no such thing as “environment.” If an individual is willing, he can experience the entire world as himself. It is only because he has not exercised this choice that there is a divide between humanity and the environment.

Trees are our closest relatives. What trees exhale, we inhale; what we exhale, they inhale. They are half our respiratory system. Spirituality is not about looking up or down; it’s about looking inward. The first fundamental fact you find on looking inward is that you are very much a part of everything around you. Without that realization, there is no spiritual process.

Ecology and human consciousness cannot be separated. Only because human beings have become insensitive, we have to talk today about saving the world

Ecology and human consciousness cannot be separated. Only because human beings have become insensitive, we have to talk today about saving the world, which is a silly idea because it is we who are protected by Mother Earth, not the other way round! None of this would be necessary if human beings understood that whether we like it or not, we are reverberating as a part of this existence.

Today modern science has established that the whole of existence is one energy; every particle in your body is in constant communication with the cosmos. This is a dry scientific fact which does not change your life. But the spiritual process enhances your perception to make this fact a living experience for you. Yoga means union. Union means the boundaries of the individual self dissolve and you experience existence as yourself. Once this is a living experience, to care for what’s around you as you care for yourself is only natural.

Unfortunately, we live in times when human consciousness is so compartmentalized that we have forgotten there is actually no such thing as “environment.”

In 1998, a team of experts predicted that by 2025, Tamil Nadu would become a desert. I don’t like predictions. People make predictions based on statistics and cold figures; they don’t take into account human aspiration and longing, and what beats in the human heart. I decided to drive around Tamil Nadu and take a look. I realized that we might not even make it to 2025! Small rivers had dried up and homes were built on riverbeds, and there isn’t enough soil moisture for even palm trees – desert vegetation – to survive.

So, we started a project called Project GreenHands to plant 114 million trees. The first seven years we spent planting trees in people’s minds, which is the most difficult terrain! Because that’s been done, it’s much easier to transplant those trees onto land. When I mentioned the figure, everyone around me was alarmed. I asked them: “What is Tamil Nadu’s population?” They said, “Sixty-two million.” I said, “If all of us plant one tree today, nurture it for a couple of years and plant one more, it’s done.”

Even a beggar can plant one tree and have a living office for himself! You don’t have to be affluent to do this; just about anybody can. Ecology is not somebody’s work; it’s everybody’s work.

Editor’s Note: To read more about the state of the environment and what we can do about it, download the ebook, A Tree Can Save The World.

To get involved with Project GreenHands, Isha Foundation’s environmental initiative, visit the page.