Verse 3.14: All living bodies subsist on food grains, which are produced from rains. Rains are produced by performance of yajña [sacrifice], and yajña is born of prescribed duties.
It is easy to live our lives thinking that we do not have an impact on our surroundings and environment. I think one of the root causes for this kind of thinking and behaviour is a lack of understanding one's responsibilities. I'm not just speaking of the spiritual responsibility each of us have of asking "Who am I?" but a responsibility to the planet.
Mother Earth is crying out for help. Due to our exploitation of her natural resources and disregard for her general well-being, so many anomalies are happening nowadays. Whether it be strange weather patterns, tsunamis, hurricanes, tornadoes and/or floods, we can't ignore it any more. We are all, individually and collectively, responsible.
Each of us have our own tolerance limit, don't we? We can only handle so much until we can't take it anymore. The earth, has been tolerating our abuse of her offerings for our own gratification for so long. Some of us have been consuming and consuming without even thinking to offer her recognition and appreciation. In short, we've been acting as though we're entitled to everything she is providing and that those gifts will never deplete.
Here, the Gita speaks out against that attitude and teaches us of our responsibility and required participation in ensuring that we look out for the earth's welfare.
Although our time on earth may be temporary, that is no excuse to neglect our responsibility to her. To those who may be wondering how we have an impact on the earth, the Gita explains:
It is by the performance of sacrifice, through the chanting of the greatest mantra and by offering everything we have in gratitude to the Supreme, that rain falls. That rain is required to nourish food grains which we in turn consume in order to subsist.
Although it may not seem as much, this verse speaks volumes. When we offer sacrifice, in the form of time and appreciation, we start to realize the importance of the earth and our crucial role in helping to maintain her. It prompts us to recognize that we are not entitled to everything, and that we have an essential role in ensuring that we get our basic necessities, such as grains to eat. This in turn may help us realize that there is no need to waste anything and that be using our intelligence we can find ways to minimize the pain we may be inadvertently be inflecting on Mother Earth.
As a quick and practical suggestion, take the time everyday to give thanks to the earth and everything she gives us. In conjunction with offering appreciation, find ways to minimize food wastage in your daily household. These small steps can go a long way.