A guest post by Makesh Karuppiah
Makesh makes one of his books available free over the internet. This set of quotations prominently features at the opening:
Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s needs, but not every man’s greed.
What we are doing to the forests of the world is but a mirror reflection of what we are doing to ourselves and to one another.
The greatness of a nation can be judged by the way its animals are treated.
Poverty is the worst form of violence. Recall the face of the poorest and weakest man you have seen, and ask yourself if this step you contemplate is going to be any use to him.
If we are to teach real peace in this world, and if we are to carry on a real war against war, we shall have to begin with the children.
Always aim at complete harmony of thought and word and deed. Always aim at purifying your thoughts and everything will be well.
Keep close to Nature’s heart… and break clear away, once in a while, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean.
When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.
In every walk with Nature one receives far more than he seeks.
Between every two pines is a doorway to a new world.
You can see why I invited him to send me a guest post.
I left the topic up to him. He chose to describe his personal progress from “normal,” onto the path of being of benefit.
I came to know Dr. Bob Rich through Quora, both of us answering questions on environmental topics. That led me to read his article, “How to change the world.”
My expertise is in environmental sciences, where I have treaded a little in the vast knowledge of Ocean. I am from an agriculture based town in the foothills of Western Ghats of India in the state of Tamil Nadu, called Pollachi. I chose biology for my undergraduate degree, having had an interest in life sciences from childhood. During a limnology lab, I got interested in environmental sciences and completed a Masters with focus on Environmental Chemistry, and an M.Phil. degree in the same field with focus on Environmental Physiology.
After completing these degrees, I pursued a Ph.D. in the Unites States of America and got into the University of Maryland System — Marine Estuarine Environmental Sciences, working under Dr. Gupta.
We investigated various topics, including air pollution. During that time, my aim was to get a well-paid job, buy a good house and drive luxury cars. My Ph.D. research was on Toxicity identification Evaluation (TIE) of the Environment. I became expert in TIE tests and identified that Pocomoke River toxicity was high due to nonpoint sources in 1996. Later, since no action was taken, that wonderful Chesapeake Bay watershed area had massive fish kills and even affected the health of fishermen.
My publications can be read here. With all this environmental related experience, I thought it would be easy to get a University job to teach and research in my field of expertise. Somehow, even though I came to final rounds of interviews, I couldn’t land in a job I liked.
I did not waste any more time. With a part time Environmental Science teaching job, I jumped wagons with my statistical analytics skills to complete a Masters in Computer Science. That was a good move, and monetary rewards started showing in the computer field. I could satisfy all my dreams such as buying house, luxury car and tasting success.
But in the back of mind I never lost interest in Environmental Science and always wanted to give back to that field where I’d worked hard.
My beloved aunt who only showered love and affection passed away. A close friend also passed away at very young age after becoming very successful in his business. These two incidents made me to think a lot and understand life. So, I started to read more and more to understand, Why are we here? What is the purpose? Is there any meaning to our life?
The corrupt, greedy politicians who could do a lot but just want to increase their own wealth also made me to ask questions to myself. I saw some tyrant rulers walking like a King one day, next day hiding in ditches, facing a violent death and their wealth and power gone. and still why do people still fail to understand REAL LIFE? Why don’t these people follow the great real leaders who have lived to contribute to the society?
I met Dr. Kalam, a selfless scientist who later became President of India, in Orlando. He gave a speech asking us to GIVE to the society in whatever way we can. This changed my attitude.
Then my younger brother sacrificed a well-paying VP-level Job in the IT field of a Singapore Bank to work on our project EAFARMS, where he has to clean cattle by himself. His example also contributed toward the change in my attitude.
Seeing people who does selfless acts in the world including Bob motivates me toward a path of satisfaction rather than material wealth.
As I read more, I came to understand that we are nothing in this vast universe. Why do we do everything, running after education, jobs, money, and material things and finally come to a stop, when none of this matters? I am still working and researching on this topic. During this time, I came across the quote from famous scientist Albert Einstein: “Try Not to Become a Man of Success. Rather Become a Man of Value.” This quote helped to focus to do something of value. Along the lines of Dr. Bob Rich’s words in the article, How to change the world: “Striving for the survival of humanity and its wonderful life support system is a more satisfying game than seeking power and wealth,” I wanted to contribute towards the betterment of the environment in the field where I have some expertise. So I started my own environmental project called EAFARMS Sustainable Organic Natural Agriculture Land Development. In this project, we work with the environment to produce quality food. We increase biodiversity, enrich soils, improve water conservation, and enhance the ecosystem, which also acts a climate change counteracting tool. Also I am working along Dr. Bob’s lines – “The world would be transformed if enough people gained their personal satisfaction from achievement in service, not achievement in acquisition” – by sharing my environmental knowledge wherever and whenever I can to create awareness.
I am still working with my scientific and non-scientific friends on environmental projects. I completed a book on environment – Modern Realistic Environment and put it in my site for free, so anyone can read it. My objective is to make any person, whether a leader or someone in an ordinary position, to think before doing an activity (small or big); to ask the question, “Will my action harm the environment?”
My family and I created an environmental niche for the birds where we live, and enjoy them when they visit us. We also wanted to share this with the world by means of photography and free eBook for everyone to enjoy and create their backyards conducive for the birds. That gives me far more immense satisfaction than any material acquisition.
One of my joys also is that I share this planet with birds. Do have a look at the little picture book.
Anyone who comments on Makesh’s essay has won the right of viewing his free book, Modern Realistic Environmentalism.