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How culture, religion and spirituality help conserve biodiversity

How culture, religion and spirituality help conserve biodiversity
Hinduism: culture, religious and spiritual values

How culture, religion and spirituality help conserve biodiversity

Culture, religion, and spirituality play an essential role in the preservation and protection of natural resources and thus help conserve biodiversity.
There are several evidences to prove that culture, religion and spirituality have helped humans to preserve and protect forest, trees, animals, insects, birds, fishes, habitats, ecosystem. etc. Here, we are trying to understand the fundamental meaning of culture, religion, and spirituality and how it helps conserve biodiversity.

What is culture?

Culture is nothing but the way of life of a particular community or group of peoples, including their beliefs, behavior, values ​​and other manifestations of human intellectual achievement. In short, culture is the traditional way of living life for a particular group of people.

What is religion?

Religion is a specific system that gives direction to faith and worship to control society by standardizing the culture. The religion formed to control human behavior by establishing rules and regulations has developed overtime to control and monitor culture.

What is spirituality?

Spirituality means consciousness, a deep sense of vitality and an endless search for the truth of human life, its purpose and the depth of the universe. The sense of awareness, understanding and recognition that you are living for a specific purpose is spirituality. It is a means of connecting our physical life and our physical world to something greater than human knowledge which is not yet resolved by man.

Importance of culture, religion, and spirituality in biodiversity conserve

About 98% of the human population represents cultural diversity. Each community has a unique culture, beliefs, moral values, and religion, and they interact and maintain relationships with the ecosystem they occupy. Most of the area rich in biodiversity is generally occupied by these indigenous communities and, therefore, we can say that around 23% of the world population lives in areas sensitive to biodiversity.
All of these different communities have their specific culture, regulated by their religion, and establish tradition through their own institutions of knowledge about terrestrial biodiversity. They support their culture by transferring traditions from generation to generation.
Conservation of biodiversity is an integral part of their tradition, belief and culture and therefore becomes the way of life. Conservation areas like sacred forests are an integral part of their homeland. Respect for their culture and religion that establish tradition and way of lives, spirituality provides answers through in-depth observations of natural resources, as well as systems to pass the knowledge from one generation to next, makes it possible to conserve biodiversity and natural resources.
Hinduism is the oldest religion full of spiritual traditions and rich in cultural values teaches us the concept of biodiversity conservation through the belief in the relationship with the earth as a mother. In Hinduism, life evolves with the combination of five elements such as earth, air, water, fire and space, therefore humans are an integral part of this universe and each element is worshiped like a divinity. It is truth that cultural and religious belief are more acceptable to the communities than the legislation formulating by government or regulatory bodies.

How culture helps to conserve biodiversity

Humans are social animals and overtime developed various cultural values and practices to regulate their lives. They formed communities in a specific territory, collecting, consuming, and developing natural resources for their daily uses to survive and develop. Many traditional practices follow to collect natural resources, which continue to be an important tool for the conservation of biodiversity.

How culture helps to conserve biodiversity
Hindu women worship trees
Hinduism teaches us to live in synchronization with nature and hence advises to respect every element of nature, including plants and animals and thus promoting the conservation of specific species by symbolizing them as cultural trades.
Humans have started to harvest plants that are useful to them. They developed different harvesting mechanisms for different plant species and thus became a mutual relationship between them for sustainability. All these plant species are naturally protected by humans and are part of their needs and culture.
Hindu Ayurveda is a medical science and a gift to the world because it involves the use of nature, especially plants, to heal wounds or heal diseases. Certain species of animals or plants that are attached to a community have a particular affection for them, and therefore once the species becomes rare or endangered, this community quickly takes over.
Some Hindu communities limit the consumption of animal meat and therefore their culture has developed in such a way that
In Hinduism, Forest is considered sacred and they believe it empowers his deities. The forest ecosystem that inhabits various species and such beliefs of peoples contributes to conserving biodiversity. In addition, it is surprising in Hinduism that cutting green trees on stands is against God and therefore discouraged. Even before harvesting medicinal plants, although it is to cure diseases, the plants are worshiped and special rituals are performed before and after harvest in their natural habitat.

How Religion helps to conserve biodiversity

Religion is the system that regulates the community by its feelings, traditions and beliefs and that is used to conserve nature. Many religious activities and rituals include the use of medicinal herbs to create a more pleasant environment.
Many religious thoughts tell us that every species, including animals, plants, insects, fish, and humans, has a soul and therefore must be respected.
Certain animal and plant species are used as religious symbols and therefore these species have special protection from this community. It certainly helps preserve and protect this species and it grows well. However, the species that does not represent any religious symbol, its survival is in danger and may fall into the category of threatened species. Therefore, religion can help conserve endangered species by adopting it as its religious or cult symbol.
In Hindu religious rituals, certain species of animals or plants are considered a god or a goddess, this belief system in religion forced the community to respect biodiversity, including habitats such as forests and rivers.
How Religion helps to conserve biodiversity
Hindu woman worship cow
There are special rules and respect has been established among Ayurveda Hindus to preserve and protect certain plant species used for medicinal purposes. It certainly helps conserve these species and respect nature. A respectful thought worshiped many species of medicinal plants before their harvest in the wild. Many species of plants used for medicinal purposes identified in Ayurveda and these species used in religious rituals are worshiped as a symbol of gods and goddesses. Consequently, it develops the general respect and fear of religious communities towards the over-exploitation of these plant species.
All these religious beliefs in the community help conserve the natural resource useful for its sustainability. In some religions such as Hinduism, certain plant species are related to Lord Shiva (powerful Hindu god) and there is a belief that Shiva residing in this species, therefore, peoples began to care about these important useful species. he began to respect, pray and avoid their destruction. This belief and this thought of religion can be used as a tool for the conservation of biodiversity.
Such feelings, beliefs and a sense of belonging to nature can be created by performing different rituals to protect our mother earth.
In Hindus, not only living species are important and related to God, but also non-living beings like rivers, forests, mountains, oceans, lakes, water, air and land represent various gods and goddesses, which helps preserve him. giving respect.
How Religion helps to conserve biodiversity
Hindu peoples worship Ox
In Hinduism, there are various concepts of gods and goddesses. Everything that benefits humans is represented or recognized as a god, for example, rain is good for farmers, so there is a concept of God of rain (Lord Indra) and all farmers worship God Indra. Mountains like the Himalayas protect the community living in India, therefore, in India, there is God as Lord Himalaya, because of this concept, people worship all species, including the forest in the Himalaya chain. River like Ganga, Narmada, Saraswathi, Tapi, Godavari, etc. The whole name of Goddess, therefore, all these rivers are sacred rivers for Hindus, so people respect and pray all rivers. Certain animal species such as Monkey, Lion, Tiger, Cow, Taurus, etc. They represent links with certain gods and goddesses; therefore, people respect and adore all these animals.
Most medicinal herbs in India have multiple values ​​that have led people to bond with religion to protect them from overuse.
The Bhagavat Gita is a holy book of Hinduism that preaches that conservation and the worship of nature are the important moral obligations of all humanity. Therefore, various species of trees and animals are symbolized with God for people to respect and adore, this helps conserve nature and biodiversity.
Even today, Hindus light a lamp in their houses and temples in front of certain plants like basil. Some Hindus do not eat without putting a basil leaf on cooked food that is sacred to them. There are various sacred trees like Ficus religiosa (Peepal tree), Neem, Banyan, Seneca indica and many others in Hinduism and they worship them. This helps to conserve these species.

How spirituality helps to conserve biodiversity

Spirituality means awareness, a deep sense of vitality, the sense of awareness, understanding and recognition that you are living for a specific purpose and connecting our physical life and our physical world with something greater than knowledge. Spiritual peoples respect and consider all species have soul and thus he must respect all living organisms. They give equal values ​​and respect living and non-living beings. So, biodiversity is the varieties of life on earth that live in different ecosystems / habitats and are interconnected with each other.
Spirituality helps remind people that existence is associated with all these living and non-living beings and that they must respect and preserve it for their existence and the survival of the earth. In spirituality, you are not limited to the earth, but you connect with the universe and try to find the answer for your existence, your life purpose and how to serve mother earth.
Spirituality makes people kinder and more responsible, begins to think about nature, begins to believe in reality. Therefore, spirituality has rebuilt the human mind for positive thinking and if that spirit worships certain trees, it will grow to protect entire forests.
How spirituality helps to conserve biodiversity
Basil plan is holy for Hindus
The concept of spirituality practiced by Hindus has made people aware of the energy they get from the sun and that is why they represent the sun, it is the supreme god who cares about mother earth. The sun is the main source of energy for all living organisms and each organism has feelings because the soul exists in all living organisms. This concept is the basis for connecting many species of flowers, trees, animals, even lifeless things like rivers, mountains, rocks, etc. with spirituality and were worshiped by the Hindus to thank them.

Due to modern lifestyles and urbanization, people disconnect from nature day by day and forget their traditional culture, become liberal in religious rituals, and withdraw from human spiritual ties to the natural world. But culture, religion and spirituality change and influence the basic values ​​of human beings, which helps to conserve biodiversity.

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