Blaming the changing lifestyles of people as the reason for environmental degradation, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday said increasing consumerism was at the root of the climate crisis and advocated practice of age-old traditions of the country to fight it.
“I have said it many times that we are making all the rules to curb carbon emissions...but we are not willing to change our lifestyle. In the root of the problem is that the humanity kept increasing its consumption and the nature is harmed most where consumption is maximum,” he said.
Addressing a meeting of Environment Ministers of States, he said, nature was exploited less where consumption was limited.
“So long as we do not focus on our lifestyle and bring it in the centre of the global attention we cannot despite all attempts (succeed)... But it is difficult to make developed countries understand it,” he said.
Noting that recycling of products had become in vogue as the world worked to cut down on the exploitation of nature, Mr. Modi said, Indians always believed in recycling and using old products and suggested that India has a long tradition of protecting nature.
Mr. Modi referred to several traditional practices to drive home his point and lamented that India could not forcefully put across its views in a way the world could understand.
He said grandmothers would use old clothes to make mat for sleeping and it was later used for mopping floor, as he spoke about presence of recycling in Indian houses. “Recycling everything in house was a simple tradition. It was natural.”
People believed that God was present in trees and worshipped and protected them, he said.
Grandmothers would teach children on full moon nights how to thread a needle and advocated that urban bodies switch off lights during such nights so that people could feel it and the practice will save energy as well.
“If you ask the new generation of people whether they have experienced a full moon night, whether they have gone out...
We are so detached from the nature now,” he said.
Mr. Modi suggested a day like Sunday should be promoted for cycling to save energy and took a dig at his critics, saying they would “accuse” him of being an “agent of cycle manufacturers”.