Ashoke believed in three things, protect the environment, the people, and the animals. Ashoka established the forest protection laws, preventing them from being destroyed, and ordered that all four footed animals must be protected. He also eliminated the burning of the chaff, plants that create a harmful smoke for the environment. Most of these laws still stand today in the present day.
Varanasi, the City of Lights
The Present Day
In India today, the ancient ideas about protecting the environment for spiritual and practical reasons have not seemed to hold up in the Present Day.
Most people in India harm the environment without even knowing it. India as a country is the third largest oil consumer in the world. Oil is a fossil fuel, a dirty energy source, meaning that just by using it, you are polluting and destroying the environment. Another problem with oil is the cost. They get about 60% of the oil from Western Asia, 19% from Western Africa, 15% from Latin American countries, and 2.5% from South Eastern Asia. Instead of spending all of the money on destroying the environment by buying oil, they could use the oil funding for research on ways to clean up the environment and find new, clean energy sources. Environment Minister Prakash Javdekar wants to increase the amount of Non-fossil fuel energy in India by 33%, yet the problem is they are limited on this type of new, clean energy. India went from being based on a clean, healthy environment to one of the most disgusting, polluted environments in the world. In addition to oil, pollution comes from exhaust from cars, smog, wood burning stoves, coal burning power plants, and other harmful gasses. When these mix, poisonous gasses are formed, and they can be deadly if breathed in. In Delhi, about 2.2 million children are poisoned by these gasses.
Arun Singh, a post graduate from MIT, attended and presented ideas on how to solve the problem of India's climate and their policies at COP22, and environmental panel in Marrakech, Morocco. He first stated that the problem was that India was emitting a huge amount of Carbon Dioxide emissions. The Carbon Dioxide emissions tear through the ozone, letting harmful radiation into the atmosphere. This is called the Greenhouse Effect. The greenhouse gasses in India were tested by the World Health Organization and examined. The air was tested and Soon, the WHO stated that Indian air was among the most unhealthy, poisonous, and deadly air in the world. Singh's goal was to reduce the Greenhouse emissions. Like Javkedar, he planned on doing this by creating more reusable energy that is cheaper, and cleaner for the environment, such as solar, wind, and water energy.
Here is a photo of Mr. Singh at COP22
Although India has not lived up to the expectations of their Buddhist ancestors, there is still a light through the smog. India is rapidly increasing the renewable energy use. It is a new era in India for their environment.