Yoga is the practice of the Vedas. Veda means 'wisdom' or 'knowledge'. Yoga is one of the greatest products of human endeavor extending for thousands of years, back 5,000 to over 10,000 years ago. The emergence of the Vedic oral traditions in northern India corresponds with the emergence of the Agricultural Revolution and the Holocene Epoch, around 8,000 years ago. It's likely that people were telling stories about their connections with the gods of nature, and asking Nature for good fortune. The Yogi becomes the weather god. This is The Ancient Soma-Yoga Hypothesis, that the original yoga was for creating climate stability, focused on balancing Agni and Soma, the primordial fire (agni) and cooling and bliss (soma) principles fundamental to life and creation.
Eternal Purusha Sukta, the Cosmic Being (Rigveda)
Eternal cycles of creation and destruction of multiple universes
311 trillion years, Lifespan of Brahma (Upanishads)
8.4 (or 4.3) billion, lifespan of a Universe, a night and day of Brahma
13.7 billion years, Universe (modern science)
4.5 billion, Earth (& 30b planets in our Galaxy & 100b Galaxies)
4.1 billion, First Microbial Life on Earth
1.5 billion, First Fungi
650 – 500 million, Human Ancestry: Animals evolve from Fungi
55 million, PETM Extinction +5-8C, (50% Species, 90% Biomass)
5 – 3 million, Last Atmosphere over 400 ppm CO2 (+2-3°C)
4 million, Hominis Ancestors
400,000, Homo-sapiens, Stone Age
200,000, Exit Africa, Fire
40,000 – 30,000, Cave Paintings in France, Indonesia & India.
30,000 – Present, Shamanism: Controlled Altered Consciousness
15,000 BC – 200 CE, Ancient Era (of Yoga)
14,500 BC, Migrations: Asia to America via Berengia 'land bridge'
10,000 BC – 500 CE, Oral transmission of the Vedas & Yoga
Soma-Yoga Theory: Vedic Rituals Create Climate Stability
9,700 BC, Holocene Epoch Begins: 11,700 years Climate Stability
9000, 6000 BC, Fungi (Soma) Rituals in Algeria, Spain
9000 – 6000 BC, Agriculture (India, China, Mesopotamia, Mexico)
6000 – 5000 BC, Mahabarata, Ramayama, Ayurveda Origins
Yoga is considered 'ancient' (Gita, 4.3).
3500 – 1500 BC, Indus Valley Civilization (IVC, Harappa)
(3500 – 3200 BC, Egyptian Hieroglyphs, Sumerian Cuneiform)
3000 – 1900, BC, Rigveda Age, First Asana Images (Lotus Posture)
Primary Hymns for Sages, Rishis & Arya Nobility
1500 – 500 BC, Vedic Age & Civilization
1500s – 1200s, Rigveda, Earliest Sanskrit
900 BC – 1400s CE, Upanishads & Vedanta School
(570 – 495, Pythagoras, Ancient Greek & Western Philosophy)
563 – 483, Buddha (Vishnu avatar) & Buddhism
500 BC – 300 CE, The “Hindu Synthesis”
400 – 200 BC, Mahabarata & Bhagavad Gita
100 – 200 CE, Samkya School (seeds back to 800 BC)
200 – 450 CE, Classical Era: Yoga Sutras, Patanjali.
Eightfold Path: yama, niyama, asana, pranayama, pratyahara, dharana, dhyana, samadhi (ecstasy), and a manual for the attainment of mystical powers, siddhis.
450 – 1820s, Post-Classical Era (Tantra, Hatha)
800-900, Shiva Sutras (Saivism, from Yajurveda, c.1000 BC)
1100 – 1800s, Hatha Yoga Pradipika, Shiva & Gheranda Samhita
(1478 – 1834, Catholic Inquisition)
(1540s – 1680s, Scientific Revolution in Europe)
(1620s – 1789, Western Age of Enlightenment, Age of Reason)
1800, Human caused climate change identified (von Humboldt)
1820s, Industrial Era, Shift to Coal
1830s, American-Vedic Transcendentalism (Emerson, et.al)
1893 – 2000, Modern Era
1893, Yoga introduced to USA, Swami Vivekenanda (1863 – 1902)
(1914 – 1945, World Wars I & II)
1920, Self-Realization Fellowship (SRF), Yogananda (1893-1952)
1933, Yogashala, Krishnamacharya (Students: Iyengar & Jois)
1936, Divine Life Society, Sivananda Saraswati (1872 – 1950)
1947, Independence Day for India, Mahatma Gandhi (1869 – 1948)
1948, Integral Yoga, Sri Aurobindo (1888 – 1989)
1948, Ashtanga Yoga Research Institute, Pattabhi Jois (1915 –2009)
1966, Light on Yoga, BKS Iyengar (1918 – 2014)
1950s, Rise in oil, coal, and natural gas consumption
1960s – 1970s, Climate Science Consensus, Alarms
1988, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)
1995 – 2018, Climate Conferences (24) (UNFCCC's COPs)
1996, Mindful of Famine: Religious Climatology of the Warao
2000 – Now, Contemporary Era
2007, IPCC Nobel Peace Prize
2014, First International Day of Yoga
2015 – 2030, Paris Agreement (1.5-2°C, Resilience Goals)
2015 – 2030, Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
2017, United States withdraws from the Paris Agreement.
2017, Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming, Paul Hawken.
2020 – 2030: Climate Yoga: Siddhi-Seva
Negative emissions of 82 GtCO2/y, for 240-300 ppm.
Preventing 5,000+ GtCO2e Methane in the Arctic.
(compared to 2,200 GtCO2e total emissions, 260 years).
HISTORY OF THE CLIMATE
It's possible that the pre-Vedic yoga helped create the modern age of climate stability that began 8,000 to 10,000 years ago. This may be a testable hypothesis (recorded in the Akashic Field). It is based on the fact that thousands of years of documented oral (rigveda) tradition believed to go back as far as 10,000 years—that these prayers explicitly focus on creating climate stability—plus an elaborate fire-soma ritual where the principle of Soma is cooling and bliss for creating balance. If this is true, then Yoga is the oldest and most sophisticated climate intervention (CI) 'technology'. The hypothesis of Climate Yoga is that one of the most important keys to solving the climate challenge is to upgrade and synthesize the yoga tradition with modern climate science.
Rigveda is first among the Climate Yoga cycle of meditations. It deals with hymns to Nature deities, the oldest part of Rigveda, plus commentaries on hymns (Brahamas), forest books for karma-actions (Aranyakas), and philosophic upanishads (jnana-yoga). Rigveda-yoga's practice is enhanced with grounding in the knowledge of mantras, daily deity yidam meditations, daily Gayatri mantra, regular meditations on the Great Sayings of the Mahavakyas, and to study and practice the Vedanta of Gita's devotional love (bhakti).
About 500 years after the Rigveda, the Yajurveda rituals, Samaveda chants (95% Rigveda, Bk8-9) and Artharveda (Rig.10) were all written around 3200 to 3000 years ago. These were rituals, songs, and prayers that builds off of the Rigveda hymns.
The Climate Yoga thesis is that the Rigveda facilitated the Kuru Kingdom alliance of tribes in northern India, to transition from semi-nomadic to agricultural settlements. With rigvedic prayers for harmony with the Earth and Sky, there were consistent rains and a surplus of rice and barley. With surplus food, there was an emergence of class/caste hierarchy with laborers, artisans, warriors, aristocracy administrators and priests. The Arya priests were the ones who read the Vedas and performed the fire-soma rituals, which included the first written articulation of formulistic prayers, about how to ensure the continuation of society’s food, safety, and ongoing harmony with nature.
There was a yogi in the 1950s through the 1990s who specialized in invoking the weather deities. Tibetan rainmaker Yeshe Dorje Rinpoche could summon the rain and work in cooperation with the weather and elemental spirits. This provided special value to communities, especially for the Dalai Lama’s sacred ceremonies. (The Rainmaker: Story of Venerable Ngagpa Yeshe Dorje Rinpoche, Woolf, 1994).
Yesho's advice is to transform yourself into a meditational deity (yidam), for mastery of the weather and water. This was the original yoga practice of the Rigveda. To train and work with the weather, Yeshe said, is the science of the mind. Cleanse the mind and make it perfect, without illusions or delusions. Part of everyday life, morning and evening, visualize with great compassion and love. Try to improve yourself as much as possible with virtue and without any negative feelings or actions. Tame the mind. Concentrate, with calm abiding stabilization, capable of meditating on the actual mode of existence of phenomena. The main consideration is: ‘What is needed in this situation?’
To quickly review the climate change situation, the above graph shows Earth’s temperature history from the Cambrian Explosion about 542 million years ago when the first animals and plants emerged. Notice the past 8,000 year Holocene Epoch, an era of unusual stability that allowed for agriculture and civilization. (Graph: Global Warming Natural Cycle, at ossfoundation.us/).
The climate crisis is that the atmospheric composition of greenhouse gases today is outside the limits of the human experience over the past 2 to 15 million years of evolution. Humans evolved for about 400,000 years with carbon dioxide at 180 to 280 ppm, never above 300 ppm. Humans caused CO2 to spike to 410 ppm. The climate crisis is causing record-breaking heat, droughts, fires, super-storms, food supply disruptions, famines, population displacements, refugee crises, resource wars, mass species extinctions, and other types of suffering. This should motivate everyone in the world to participate in being part of the climate solution. The climate crisis is not a future issue; it's already upon us, here and now, around the world.
The average land and ocean temperature of Earth in 2016 was about +0.94°C (1.69°F), and in 2017 was +0.90°C (1.62°F) above the 20th Century average. These are the first and second hottest years ever recorded since records began in 1880. The four hottest years on record are: 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2018. March 2016 saw global land surface temperatures +2.35°C (4.23°F) above average. (www.ncdc.noaa.gov/).
Ancient Indians loved dice games and gambling. The climate-dice analogy is that the climate dice are 'loaded,' due to GHGs, and we're more likely to get a 'bad roll.' Extreme temperatures of +3°C over land in the summer in the northern hemisphere increased from 0.1% (1951-1980) to 14.5% (2005-2015); and hot temperatures of +0.5-3°C went from 33% to 67% likelihood. (Hansen, 2018). However, these statistics under-represent the magnitude of the crisis.
The Arctic Emergency is the most concerning issue of the climate crisis. The Arctic spiked +20°C (36°F) above average in November 2016. In March 2017, regional temperatures in the Arctic were +15°C (27°F) above normal. In July 2018, Arctic temperatures were a record 32°C (90°F), or +15°C above average, and stayed around 30°C for an extended period. Unbelievably, forest fires raged in the Arctic Circle. The Arctic ice cap lost 75% of its volume since 1979, contributing about one-third of global temperature rise.
The 2018 Arctic Report Card (NOAA) shows that surface air temperatures in the Arctic are warming at twice the rate relative to the rest of the globe, which is called “Arctic Amplification.” Also, herd populations of caribou and reindeer have declined by nearly 50% over the last two decades, old (multiyear) ice has declined about 95% in the last 33 years, there's an expansion of harmful toxic algal blooms, and there's a rise in microplastic contamination.
The biggest concern is about the an increasing possibility for a sudden release of 5,500 to 10,000 GtCO2e of arctic methane—compared with about 2,200 GtCO2e total historical emissions the past 260 years. This could cause a global temperature spike of an additional 5-9°C in 10-20 years, which could threaten billions of lives and human extinction.
The magnitude of the climate crisis is generally under-represented. Global temperatures are said to be about 1°C above the preindustrial baseline. However, in addition to this, there is 1.5°C warming that is hidden due to the 'global dimming' caused by aerosol pollution and plane contrails. These block solar radiation, but temperatures spike when we clean up the pollution. Humanity has therefore already created conditions for 2-3.5°C above the pre-industrial baseline. We are just not seeing the full implications of our prior actions because of the pollution.
Plus, due to the lag time between when greenhouse gases (GHGs) are emitted and the resulting heating effect, largely due to the thermal inertia of the oceans—but not accounting other positive feedbacks—there's an additional 1 to 3°C warming that is “unavoidable.” Therefore, humanity has already created conditions for 3 to 6.5°C warming, perhaps more, even if emissions were completely stopped before 2020. This is why large-scale negative emissions technologies are assumed in the IPCC models and are vitally necessary to prevent warming ‘well below 2°C’, the Paris Agreement goal.
Globally, there are no developed countries likely to meet the nonbinding Paris Agreement. Only Morocco and The Gambia are 1.5°C Paris compatible, but their efforts only reduces emissions about 20 MtCO2 by 2030 (0.02 GtCO2). And only five countries are 2°C compatible: Bhutan (6 MtCO2/2030), Costa Rica (18), Ethiopia (185), Philippines (317), and India (4,469). However, 'there is still substantial uncertainty in India about coal power capacity.’ Coal generates 80% of India’s electricity and they plan to increase coal by over 93 GW by 2027. India's ability to tackle poverty and helping the 240 million out of 1.3 billion people without electricity—without fossil fuels—will decide the fate of the planet.
For comparison, the US is on track for 6,205 MtCO2/2030, and China 12,750/2030. (Climate Action Tracker). The problem is that country's Paris pledges would only cut emissions to limit warming to 3.5°C. The shortfall in pledges is the 'emissions gap.'
The world has a fossil fuel addiction and is not making the change nearly as quickly as needed. “The message is clear: we need to make an almost existential change... Net zero must become the new mantra... The only missing link is leadership.” (Emissions Gap Report (UNEP, Nov. 2018)). “Unprecedented and urgent action is required by all nations.”
The current nationally determined contributions (NDCs) are estimated to lower global emissions in 2030 by up to 6 GtCO2e compared to a continuation of current policies. This level of ambition needs to be tripled for the 2°C scenario and increased fivefold for the 1.5°C scenario. Total annual GHGs, including from land-use change, reached 53.5 GtCO2e in 2017. GHGs in 2030 need to be 55% lower to limit global warming to 1.5°C. There needs to be a rapid increase in ambition and action within the next few years. The gap in 2030 between emission levels under the full implementation of NDCs and the 1.5C target is 32 GtCO2e. For a 66% chance of keeping temperature increase below 1.5°C in 2100, global GHGs in 2030 should not exceed 24 GtCO2e. Countries need to strengthen the ambition of NDCs to bridge the 2030 emissions gap.
There's comprehensive failure. Current and projected emissions represent climate catastrophe and societal collapse, which is an unacceptable future scenario. The IPCC says that, at these current rates of emissions, 1.5°C is likely between 2030 and 2052. This is incredibly misleading when, as we just reviewed, conditions are already for 3-6°C, even if emissions were to stop in 2019. Is 1.5°C and 280 ppm even possible?
The IPCC reports that limiting global warming to 1.5°C requires CO2 reductions of 45% (from 2010 levels) by 2030 and carbon neutrality by 2050. The 2018 COP24 produced a 'rulebook' (256p) about how to measure emissions and impacts and how the Paris Agreement (2016, 27p) will work. UN Secretary-general Guterre warned negotiators that failing to increase efforts would be “not only immoral but suicidal.” However, it's not likely that the UN process alone will meet the Paris goals. Climate Yoga's goal is to create negative emission leadership by 2030 without industrial geoengineering.
Pathways limiting global warming to 1.5°C with no or limited overshoot will require rapid and far-reaching transitions in energy, land, infrastructure including transport and buildings, and industrial systems. All pathways that limit global warming to 1.5°C with limited or no overshoot project the use of carbon dioxide removal (CDR) on the order of 100–1000 GtCO2 over the 21st century. Climate Yoga should aim to create this scale CDR by mid century. CDR needs to be used to compensate for residual emissions and achieve net negative emissions to return global warming to 1.5°C following a peak. However, 'CDR deployment of several hundreds [and perhaps over 2,200] GtCO2 is subject to multiple feasibility and sustainability constraints.' (Global Warming of 1.5°C, IPCC, 2018).
There were $2.9 trillion in economic losses due to all disasters over the past two decades (1998-2017), 'of which climate-related disasters accounted for $2.2 trillion or 77% of the total.' This compares with climate-related disasters that accounted for $0.9 trillion, 1978-1997. 'The last twenty years have seen a dramatic rise of 151% in direct economic losses from climate-related disasters. Floods, 43%, and storms, 28%, are the two most frequently occurring disasters. During this period, 1.3 million people lost their lives and 4.4 billion people were injured, rendered homeless, displaced or in need of emergency assistance (Economic Losses, Poverty & Disasters 1998-2017, UNISDR, 2018). Relatedly, the number of chronically malnourished people in the world, after a decade of decline, had started to grow again—by 38m, to a total of 850m, “largely due to the proliferation of violent conflicts and climate-related shocks.”
Due to climate change and other interconnected issues, about 60% of populations of mammals, birds, fish, reptiles, and amphibians have declined over the last 40 years. About 50% of shallow water corals have been lost in the last 30 years. About 20% of the Amazon has disappeared in the last 50 years. The $125 Trillion in Nature's supply of fresh air, water, food, energy, medicines, and so on, is being destroyed. (Living Planet Report, WWF, 2018). The climate crisis is, in part, defined by various estimates of expected costs:
Biodiversity loss: $17 trillion by 2050.
Arctic's total costs: $90 trillion by 2100.
Arctic methane: $60 trillion by 2100.
Hurricanes and tornadoes: $20 trillion per year by 2100.
Sea Level Rise (SLR): $1-2 trillion per year by 2100.
Ocean acidification: $1 trillion per year by 2100.
The world needs to come together to save nature. If humanity becomes more sustainable, then there would be $26 trillion in savings by 2030 (Global Commission on the Economy and Climate, 2018). However, the problem with this economic framing is that it prioritizes monetary value, where mountains, trees, oceans, and animal life are seen and understood as commodities. It's important to consider but it also reflects a materialistic and anthropocentric consciousness, which is a fundamental problem.
In 2018, the climate news headlines included global heatwaves killing hundreds of people—with record temperatures in Pakistan and Iran above 54°C (129°F) and the heat index in Oman at 60°C (140°F)—, record-setting temperatures and wildfires in California, higher than expected emissions from natural gas, and ongoing struggles to recover in Huston and Puerto Rico from (2017) hurricanes Harvey ($125b, 107 fatalities) and Maria ($140b, 3,000 fatalities).
The news in 2018 also reported worse than expected conditions at the poles, where warming is the greatest: Greenland melting is worse than we thought, the West Antarctic ice shelf (WAIS) is disintegrating, and Alaska and Siberian permafrost is thawing rapidly. New research found that Greenland alone lost about 7,500 gigatons of ice mass over the course of the 20th century, which has shifted Earth's 'wobble' about 5 meters.
Around the world, about 60% of people see climate as a big threat. (The World is Losing the War Against Climate Change, The Economist, 2018). In 40 nations, 54% believe climate is a 'very serious problem' (Pew, 2017). In India, 73% are 'very concerned' about climate change (2015, Pew); 80% think climate change is 'important'; and 90% and are 'concerned' about air and water pollution (2011, Nelsen). For Americans, opinion about the climate is a partisan issue, with 68% concern among Democrats and and 20% concern among Republicans. (Pew 2017).
Only terrorists create more fear. In the face of the climate crisis people often feel powerlessness, helplessness, and fatalism. Fear is the shadow of death. It’s natural, but it creates problems and it's unnecessary. One of the goals of Climate Yoga is to overcome fear and become love-oriented, with no fear of the future. Love is a state of being. The more you love, the less you fear. When you accept it, it disappears. Knowledge of it liberates. Thankfulness and gratitude arises. Life thrives with dangers and risks—physical, psychological, financial, and spiritual risks. We can only grow through difficulties.
Climate Yoga’s guiding vision involves a synthesis of the traditional knowledge of ancient and classic era Yoga with modern and contemporary developments in yoga and science, to help the world meet the 2020-2030 Paris Agreement on climate change.
The purpose of the Paris Agreement is to restore stability: to (a) limit temperatures to 1.5°C, (b) adapt to adverse impacts and foster resilience and lower emissions and focus on food production; and (c) make finance flow to lower emissions and resilient development. (Art. 2). Parties must undertake and communicate ambitious efforts defined in Articles 4, 7, and 9-13:
The heart of the Paris Agreement is that Parties aim for peaking GHGs ASAP with rapid reductions thereafter, to balance sources and sinks by the 2050s, with equity, sustainable development, and the eradication of poverty. (Art. 4). The Parties’ goal is to enhance adaptive capacity, resilience, and sustainable development, and reducing vulnerability. (Art. 7). Developed Parties shall provide financial resources to developing countries for both mitigation and adaptation. (Art. 9). Parties’ long-term vision is technology development and transfer to improve resilience and reduce GHGs. (Art. 10). Parties’ capacity development enhances the least developed countries and those who are particularly vulnerable to climate change effects, such as small islands that need the deployment and access to finance, education, and training. (Art 11).
Parties shall cooperate to enhance climate education, training, public awareness, public participation, access to information with respect to enhancing actions under this Agreement (Art. 12). Parties build trust and confidence with effective implementation and enhanced transparency framework for action and support, with flexibility. (Art. 13). The Paris Agreement includes the promise for the mobilization of $100 billion per year in climate finance by 2020.
Climate Yoga could potentially be the most important climate project that deserves special attention and financing.
Climate Yoga needs to focus its energy and time on education, public participation, and skills training for reducing emissions (mitigation), adaption, and resilience. Climate Yoga skills (siddhis) include: (a) creating cloud-cooling effects in the Arctic and elsewhere to limit temperatures to 1.5°C; (b) enhanced biosequestration to reduce atmospheric GHGs back to 300 ppm; and (c) preventing extreme weather and producing predictable rains and resilient food production. It’s time to organize around and implement yoga wisdom that’s informed by the best available science. Evidence suggests huge possibilities and larger-scale studies and R&D are now in order.
Just as any climate project must be informed by the IPCC and the Paris Agreement, any yoga project must be informed by the official calls for action from the world's yoga Hindu leaders. The Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, addressed the United Nations, on the first International Day of Yoga (June 21st, 2015), about how 'Yoga is a Vision for a Harmonious Future for Humanity':
'… the great tradition of yoga helps individuals and societies to discover a sense of oneness with the self, with each other and nature. From the banks of the river Indus to every continent in the world yoga has spread harmony between man and nature and a holistic approach to health and wellbeing. A yogi is a person who is in harmony—with herself, her body, with her surroundings, with nature. Yoga is the means to achieve that harmony.
'From the Upanishads, comes the idea of Yoga to transform human consciousness through control of body and senses through constant practice. The body is the vehicle for the realization of the Supreme Being. Yoga is excellence at work. People often think that yoga is just a set of exercises. Yoga is a philosophy of discipline and meditation that transforms the spirit and makes the individual a better person in thought, action, knowledge and devotion. It awakens the deeper sense of unity and oneness with the whole Universe and all living beings. In crafting a new self through Yoga, we create a new world.
'We are at a point in history, where global warming threatens the world as we know it. The world’s ecology is threatened by human greed and excess. Yoga shows the way to consumption that is healthy, balanced, and in tune with nature.
'Sri Aurobindo said 'Indian Yoga is potentially one of these dynamic elements of the future life of humanity. It is now emerging from the secret schools...' The spread of yoga, therefore, is the symbol of a changing world. In the past, yoga was the preserve of a select few saints. Today, it is available to all—in the words of Patanjali, a universal culture. It represents a world where people come together across boundaries, for causes and concerns that unite the planet. The closest parallel I can think of is the movement to protect the environment, to protect the world that we live in.’
Yoga is the practice of the Vedic ‘Knowledge’ tradition that is considered to be direct from Lord Shiva, Ishvara, and Brahama and passed down the generations. The Vedic tradition developed into or contributed to traditions of Jainism (5 million people), Baha'i (7m), Sikhism (20m), Buddhism (400-535m), and Hinduism (1.1b)—the third largest religious group in the world, after Islam (1.8b) and Christianity (2.4b). In the contemporary era in the US, nearly 40 million people practice yoga and about 5.5 million are Hindu, Buddhist, or followers of one of the other Vedic traditions. There's an ongoing development of Vedic philosophy and yogic practices. The climate crisis context demands greater clarification of Vedic philosophy and the development of pragmatic yoga practices.
For millions of years the climate was unpredictable, characterized by drastic, abrupt changes in temperatures and ecosystems. Humans were only able to establish agriculture and civilization beginning around eleven-thousand years ago (11kya) when the climate stabilized. This corresponds with yogic sages creating a very powerful technology of higher states of consciousness, defined by Rigveda's hymns, mantras, soma/psychedelics, and group ceremonies, led by priests who specialized in the practical application of enlightenment-consciousness. These yogi priests ritualized and organized society to facilitate good weather and food security, catalyzing an era of climate stability and significant leaps in the evolution of society.
These practices for climatic stability through the worship of Nature gods who presided the Powers of the physical world—the Sun, Moon, Heaven and Earth, Wind, Rain, Storm, etc.—were considered sacred wisdom and part of great universal, eternal and impersonal Truth of divine inspiration. While in the course of seeking self-knowledge, to 'know thyself', to know the Self, the Atman, as the great spiritual need, the mystics found a Truth, a Reality behind the outward aspects of the universe. They discovered secrets and powers of Nature which can bring mastery over the physical world. The articulation and organization of this knowledge and power was the occupation of the yogis and mystics. Through Vedic knowledge, training, discipline, and purification, this knowledge and power was revealed by the ancient sages, rishis, and yogis.
Yoga was to the ancient Aryans a battle and struggle between the Devas and Daityas. Devas are the shining ones, the Masters of Light, the great cosmic gamesters. Devas are those who play in light and their home is in all things luminous, where life is an ordered Lila or play. The Devas are the warrior gods who fought the Daityas for man and were made strong and victorious by the effective practices (kriya) of Yoga.
The Daityas try to upset the perfect functioning of the Lord. They disturb that which is established in order to push man below or give him an opportunity of rising higher by breaking that which was good and harmonious in itself but imperfect, to render him dissatisfied with anything short of perfection and drive him continually to the Infinite or Prakriti. The Daityas are the enemies of Yajna and Yoga. Life and Yoga is a struggle between the Devas and Daityas is one of the most fundamental ideas of Veda, Tantra, and Hinduism. (Sri Aurobindo, Hymns to the Mystic Fire).
The Holocene epoch of unusually long climate stability corresponds with the emergence of the Vedic ritualists: the rishis, sages, and priests/brahmans/aryans who would guide society in soma-transcendence to have a direct experience with the powers of nature, to facilitate rain during droughts, to oversee the harvests to ensure abundant food and nutrition, and to facilitate ceremonies for other major life events such as during birth, initiation into adulthood, marriage, sickness, and death.
Overall, the primary focus of the leaders of our ancestors was to connect their consciousness with the demigods, the animate powers of nature, part of one’s all-pervading consciousness, unity, and oneness. This is beyond the veil of Maya of ordinary perception of a limited reality of separateness, a sad worldview and reality that afflicts about 99.9% of people.
Climate stability reigned along with the priests of yoga until the Christian church began suppressing these rituals, schools, and other institutions around 1,500 years ago. This created a rupture in human’s connection with nature, a catastrophic shift in consciousness as the Church wanted to be the intermediary between people and Spirit (and power, governance, and money). Society and the collective conscious lost its direct connection to itself, to nature, and to the divine.
The collective’s connection with nature and access to divine consciousness was further decimated during the Inquisition’s (1478-1834) vicious attack on shamanism and indigenous-based spirituality. This cultural genocide throughout Europe and the Americas erased millennia of very sophisticated knowledge and wisdom from indigenous cultures. These ‘pagans’ and ‘Indians’ knew how to maintain harmony and balance between society and the environment. With their traditions, knowledge, and leaders eliminated, an era of spiritual darkness and climate chaos descended upon Earth.
Then, climate instability and environmental destruction increased proportionally with the emergence of the Industrial Age (c.1820s) about 200 years ago. Chaos accelerated with the rise in oil, coal, natural gas consumption in the 1950s, about 50-75 years ago. At the heart of the climate justice issues is that the nations most responsible for emissions are the US, UK, Germany, Canada, Russia, and Australia—with emissions greater than 150 tons of carbon per person, compared with the 50t/p global mean (1751-2016). The least responsible are Africa, South and Central America, Asia Pacific, India, and China, all with less emissions than the global mean. (Hansen, 2018). The term 'climate justice' implies that it's a moral issue where the least responsible are suffering the worst effects.
About 70% of global emissions since 1988 (and 52% since 1751) can be traced back to just 100 fossil fuel companies, led by ExxonMobil, Shell, BHP Billiton and Gazprom. About 50% of emissions can be linked to 25 corporate and state producers. (Carbon Majors Database, 2018). The largest corporations are creating over $2 trillion in environmental destruction each year. We need accountability, penalties, and restrictions on dumping carbon waste into the atmosphere to help facilitate a fast transition.
The scientific era, starting around the 1540s, facilitated the cliamte catastrophe, with a domineering emphasis on material reality to the exclusion of subtle energies that instruments could not yet measure. For all its achievements and possibilities, the scientific establishment is intimately interconnected with and a driver of the Culture of Death and ecocide that is creating the climate crisis. The scientific establishment gave ‘rational’ justifications for the genocide of alternative perspectives, peoples and cultures. And now the scientific worldview and belief is one of the primary barriers to resolving the climate crisis. Stuck at the rational-consciousness level of evolution, the scientific mind often prevents ascending to higher states of transpersonal consciousness, preventing evolution, and is therefore undermining and suppressing the most important technologies for bringing back climatic stability. Science is therefore a primary force for accelerating humanity’s mad rush to extinction. (See the War on Science section). Western civilization itself—the culture, social norms, traditions, values, politics, and economics—is interconnected with these issues, a primary driver of ecocide, extinction, and the climate emergency.
The solution to the environmental and climate crisis and the crisis of collective-consciousness, is a collective awakening into a higher state of awareness, and an alignment with our highest Self or Source. Climate Yoga is a path to this reality, where people can be trained to collaborate with the forces of nature. This is the “control” of the weather and nature through enlightened states of expanded, all-pervasive consciousness of the purusha-prakriti-buddhi substructure of our quantum reality. It's about the 'control' of our mind to awaken into a state of unity, oneness and interconnectedness with everything, which is the source of our potential powers of quantum-consciousness. Climate Yoga is itself a journey to enlightenment consciousness on Earth to facilitate the continued prosperity, abundance, happiness, and evolution of humanity and all other sentient beings on Earth. Climate yoga represents just the first step on a far longer journey in our cosmic evolution, beyond the Event Horizon of our ever-evolving consciousness and reality.
Climate science represents the largest international scientific project in the history of humanity. There's been an ongoing collaboration for over three decades, well before the IPCC First Assessment Report in 1990, which involved thousands of scientists from hundreds of institutes, universities, foundations, and governments. And the result is the unanimous agreement from almost all scientists and governments around the world that climate change is an urgent priority. There's now an ambitious international consensus to dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions, as expressed in the Paris Climate Agreement. Integrated into the process is Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming (2017, Hawken; GCA, 2018).
However, not only have numerous technological and political barriers prevented implementation, but there's also a fundamental flaw in the climate science paradigm, and therefore a fundamental problem with the horrible mainstream response to the climate crisis. The fatal flaw of orthodox (IPCC et al.) climate science up to this point is that it does not consider the fundamental role of consciousness. The fundamental quantum substructure of the fabric of reality is the fabric of atmospheric dynamics and are interconnected and entangled with the mass-consciousness of humanity. Significant possibilities for climatic stability arise when consciousness is considered. Yoga is a method to develop and train higher states of consciousness.
Yoga is the ancient technology of transcendental consciousness for the realization that the Gods of Nature are real beings and vibrations and an extension of the collective consciousness. Climate Yogis are a living, vibrating prayer for climate stability, emanating out, with measurable, nonlocal consciousness, with exponential field effects while synchronized with other Climate Yogis around the world, to create significant changes in the climate system.
Climate Yoga is a proposal for an environmentally sound technology (EST) for ‘climate interventions’ (CI) or geoengineering—for high emission reductions, primarily through the accelerated rate of biosequestration. Climate Yoga needs to prove that it is scalable, replicable, safe, inexpensive, and effective, with education and training using the traditional knowledge (TK) of the Vedas as well as other related local and indigenous knowledge systems around the world (eg, Tibetan, Andean, and shamanic practices). The goal of Climate Yoga is to integrate into the mainstream climate response, the yoga perspective as an incredibly important and practical traditional knowledge of developing higher states of consciousness, to purify the atmosphere and to ensure resiliency. These are the Climate Yoga responsibilities.
Traditional Knowledge (TK)
The yogis and indigenous are guardians of the world and were maintaining climate stability for thousands of years. In the documentary ‘The Heart of the World: Elder Brother’s Warning’ (1992, 28’), the Elder Brothers of the Kogi in Columbia, say, “the younger brothers’ looting will destroy the world. What would they think if all of the elders died? If that happened, we all died, and there was no one doing our work, well then the rain wouldn’t fall from the sky, it would get hotter and hotter from the sky, and the trees wouldn’t grow and the crops wouldn’t grow. Or am I wrong and they would grow anyway?” The narrator says, “Are we to believe that they have been secretly been taking care of the world for centuries? They believe it. That's why they live the way they do.” The Elders say, “The Earth is now weak and diseased. Younger brother is violating fundamental principles continually and totally. This is destroying all order and damaging the world. Open your eyes. Hear the Elder’s law and story. Learn how things really are.”
The term 'traditional knowledge' (TK) used in the climate change literature refers to indigenous ways of knowing resulting from a close relationship to the environment and developed over thousands of years. Traditional knowledge understands, perceives, and appreciates how the Earth is sacred and conscious. Yoga is the traditional knowledge of the Vedas of India.
Indigenous people are about 4% of the world population (250-300 million people), utilizing about 22% of the land, maintaining about 80% of biodiversity that is next to 85% protected areas. They are excellent observers and interpreters of environmental changes. The IPCC (AR4, 2007) says, Indigenous knowledge is “an invaluable basis for developing adaptation and natural resource mitigation strategies.” The IPCC says, TK “may prove useful for understanding the potential of certain adaptation strategies that are cost-effective, participatory, and sustainable.”
Indigenous peoples are the least responsible but disproportionately face the worst effects of climate change. The Indigenous Elder’s statement to COP21 (2015) at Paris says: ‘The people of the world cannot continue to ignore Aboriginal Indigenous Peoples, the Natural System of Life, the Natural Law, and our connection with All Life… To survive climate change and see the future we must heal the sacred in ourselves and include the sacredness of all life in our discussions, decisions, and actions… World leaders must lead us away from the commodification of Mother Earth… Neither world leaders nor modern institutions have the tools to adequately address climate change. Indigenous peoples must be included…’
The world community and official climate change process recognizes the importance of including traditional knowledge. The Paris Agreement (2015), Article 7.5 says:
“Parties acknowledge that adaptation action should follow a country-driven, gender-responsive, participatory and fully transparent approach, taking into consideration vulnerable groups, communities and ecosystems, and should be based on and guided by the best available science and, as appropriate, traditional knowledge, knowledge of indigenous peoples and local knowledge systems, with a view to integrating adaptation into relevant socioeconomic and environmental policies and actions, where appropriate.”
However, IPCC assessments have been unable to access this type of information because TK is considered grey literature outside of the peer-reviewed academic forums. Therefore, the next phase of TK is to develop the practices and have them evaluated for the peer-reviewed process.
TK is a cumulative body of knowledge and practices by people with extended histories of interaction with the natural environment. These sophisticated sets of understandings are part of a cultural complex that encompasses language, naming, and classification systems, resource use practices, ritual, spirituality, and worldview. TK and yoga also integrates theology, psychology, philosophy, biology, mathematics, physics, and other areas of knowledge.
The purpose of Climate Yoga is to integrate the very practical TK of Yoga into the mainstream UN response to climate mitigation and adaptation. The full implementation of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, including the 'free, prior and informed consent' and democratic participation of indigenous peoples is of great importance. Traditional knowledge of indigenous people, about technologies of subsistence, ethnobotany, ecology, medicine, and the climate, is crucial for survival.
Climate Yoga is about achieving the highest levels of mastery of Yoga TK and applying it to the climate crisis. TK is compared with scientific knowledge. Ideally, for practitioners of Climate Yoga, one develops a synthesis of both traditional and scientific knowledge. Traditional knowledge is sacred, spiritual, experiential, holistic, subjective, and cyclical. Scientific knowledge is secular, material, objective, and linear.
Climate Yoga is part of the ancient and worldwide practices of Nature Mysticism. Mysticism is defined as an indefinable, transcendent, realization, perception, psychology, and transcendent experience, beyond the duality of subjects and object—beyond the duality of people and nature. Ancient shamanic cave art, around 15,000 BC, shows archaic images of humans as weather gods. It's likely this corresponds with traditional rituals around the world for rain-making. Most importantly, the book, Weather Shamanism: Harmonizing Our Connection with the Elements, describes how a few indigenous communities have kept alive their weather religion as an important part of their cultural beliefs, practices, and worldview.
Sandra Ingerman’s, Medicine for the Earth: How to Transform Personal and Environmental Toxins (2001) talks about the shamanic method, and documents a few successful scientific experiments, for how to implement specific changes to detoxify purify our inner- and outer-elements from energy imbalances. When more people are trained in weather shamanism/yoga and earth-healing shamanism/yoga, then we can facilitate global, decadal and millennial climate scale changes.
Vedic (‘knowledge’) literature (c.1500-500 BC) also includes weather mysticism. The most referenced deities in the Vedas is Indra, the King of gods, the god of the sky, lightning, thunder, storms, rains, and river flows. Indra held one of the highest places in the hierarchy of the Vedic pantheon and was responsible for all activities of the atmosphere. Indra saved the land and humans from drought but also had a violent and stormy nature. Indra, time and again, defeats the deceiving forces of the drought monster Vritra, who obstructs human prosperity. Vritra is Darkness, a demon who covers and holds back the Light and Water. We call upon the aid of Indra and the gods to destroy the dark powers who conceal the light, who obstruct the flowing streams of Truth and obstruct the soul's ascent. Indra brings rains and Life, sunshine and Light, as the friend of mankind. The powers of Indra dwell within. We invoke Indra by inner sacrifice, with the power of the Mantra-sound.
Ancient weather practices existed in indigenous cultures around the world, from the Tibetans to the Hopi Indians. Mayan priests conducted rainmaking activities (c.500 BC to the 1600s), often with the perspective of ascending into the clouds and acting as the rain deities themselves. They are the shamanic 'skywalkers.'
A few indigenous communities continue to practice traditional mysticism such as the Venezuelan Warao Indians, as described in Mindful of Famine: Religious Climatology of the Warao Indians. The book, Weather Shamanism, describes various indigenous peoples' relationships with the weather spirits and gods. For example, the Russian storm god Perun liberates the rains locked up in cloud castles. The Sudanese god Deng brings fertility to the land, as well as destruction. The Iroquois thunder deity Hino lives in the clouds and protects people from natural forces of harm.
The relatively recent alienation of weather mysticism and the mystical worldview has proved extremely destructive for humanity. The personification and embodiment of the forces of nature was central and critical part of society's spirituality and survival throughout the world.
Ancient ancestors passed down timeless, perennial wisdom that was experienced by shamans, seers, rishis, mystics and others who had a “non-ordinary” transcendental consciousness.1 Thousands of years of oral traditional wisdom about the nature of nature and consciousness culminated in the creation of the Eastern and Western civilization with the Eastern Vedas and, inspired by that, the Western Mysteries of ancient Greece. At their heart, the Eleusinian Mysteries are an experience of the same underlying reality, unity and oneness, and were designed to help facilitate all people's direct experience, to integrate this Enlightenment imperative into Western culture and society.
The essence of Eastern Yoga is the same as the essence of Western Mysticism. The word Mysticism is from the Greek mystikos “secret, connected with the Mysteries,” and from mystes “one who has been initiated,” and from the Latin mysticus “of secret rites.” The Mysteries were secret religious ceremonies and schools of the ancient Greco-Roman, Pan-Helenic and Occidental world, around 1600 BC to 300 AD, with enormous influence on European and Western culture.
The Mysteries are the underlying, fundamental basis for Western philosophy, science, culture, and civilization. The source of Greek wisdom is derived from Indian, Egyptian, and Chaldean sources. To better understand the Vedic knowledge, it helps to be familiar with the heart of the Greek Mysteries – an initiation that should once again be available for everyone for the direct experience of Reality.
The Mysteries, like the Vedas, consist of the perennial wisdom, secrets, and direct experience of universal mysticism, divinity, and an enhanced perception of natural elements, music, art, mathematics, spirituality, and evolving our peak-consciousness. It's a mind-altering and life-changing experience that demands a transformation of our definition of reality. It changes our interaction with the world.2
Mysticism is the direct experience of the Divine. In the mystical state of consciousness where You are That (Tat Tvam Asi). This is the samadhi unity-consciousness of Yoga. Modern science confirms this reality: there is an energy field that unifies ourselves with our environment.
In order to make simple the great truths of Nature and the abstract principles of natural law, the vital forces of the universe were personified, becoming the gods and goddesses of the ancient mythologies. While the ignorant multitudes brought their offerings to the altars of deities representing energies, the wise recognized in these deity statues only symbolic representations of great abstract truths. In all cities of the ancient world were temples for public worship and offering. In every community also were philosophers and mystics, deeply versed in Nature's myths. These individuals were usually banded together, forming exclusive philosophic and religious schools.
The Mystery priests sought to illustrate the sublimest truths of religion, morality, and virtue, and impress them on the hearts of their disciples. The ‘Mystery’ knowledge is only for people who have dedicated their lives to the unselfish service of humanity. Their chief object was to teach the doctrine of one God, the resurrection of man to eternal life, the dignity of the human soul, and to lead the people to see the shadow of the deity, in the beauty, magnificence, and splendor of the universe.
Similar to the Brahmanic/Vedic Mysteries, the Greek Mystery priests stood as mediators between the gods and men. They had a deep understanding of Nature and her laws. When certain areas of the brain are stimulated by the secret processes of the Mysteries, the consciousness of man is extended and he is permitted to behold the Immortals and enter into the presence of the superior gods. Priests became adepts in the use of the unseen forces of Nature. The philosophy of Nature spirits is generally attributed an Brahmanic origin. (The Secret Teachings of All Ages, Manly Hall).
“Lifting the veil” to see Reality is the original meaning of the Apocalypse. Once the reality of our interbeing, Unity and Oneness is unveiled and realized, we call this an Awakening. Once awakened, one achieves an Apotheosis, meaning “human becoming God,” one of the highest points of existence. It's the omega point of divine unification. The solution to climate change is therefore an apocalyptic apotheosis—with the implication that the Yogi or Mystic has mastered the divine powers to “control” Earth's life-forces.
The expanded state of consciousness that we need to solve the climate crisis is described by the Christian saints and Islamic Sufis, the Jewish tzadik's and Buddhist arhats, the Indian rishis and yogis, the indigenous healers and shamans and other mystics. These people who embody individualized divinity have a transcendental or supernatural relationship with the “order of existence.” The expanded state of consciousness that we need sees how our bodies and lives are a holographic microcosm of the macrocosm.
1 See also, Fingerprints of the Gods (Hancock, 1995), and the sequel, Magician of the Gods (2015), describing evidence for a prehistoric, advanced civilization around 12,000 years ago, who passed this information down to us – and with the specific message that, at this time, we shall either experience a quantum leap in consciousness or we shall go extinct.
2 The Modern Mystery School (MMS) defines the Mystery School as 'a group of initiates who are dedicated to preserving, protecting, and perpetuating the sacred mystery teachings, the keys to living an enlightened and empowered life. It's for those who have eyes to see and ears to hear. The initiates are known as the Guardians, Teachers, Healers, Light bearers, and Magicians. Humanity is awakening to its true divine nature and it's time to live in an enlightened society.'
The Mystery Schools describe Initiation as a process of personal transformation and a spiritual journey of empowerment. Initiation involves handing down knowledge that prepares one to master themselves,to “Know Thyself”, to manifest the life one truly desires, to be in alignment with your highest and best good, and to live out your purpose here on Earth.