By Indira Guerrero
New Delhi, July 17 (EFE).- Sadhguru, India’s “new age” Hindu spiritual leader, has been on a mission to stop soil degradation by riding his 360-kg BMW K1600 GT motorcycle around the world.
He has traveled more than 30,000 miles in 100 days, from Trafalgar Square in London to southern India, passing through 27 countries to bring awareness around the world about soil degradation and its dangers.
“I traveled at a certain speed, I couldn’t look around too much,” the 64-year-old spiritual leader told EFE, responding with humor to how the world looks from the road.
But the reality of the planet is “worrying,” he added immediately, the quality of the soils is far from the minimum required levels of 3 percent organic content recommended by the United Nations agencies.
“Not even a single nation has this average. The highest average you have is in Northern Europe, which is 1.48 percent. In the United States, it is 1.25 percent, and in Southern Europe 1.1 percent,” he underlined.
While levels below 1 percent is considered as desertified, Africa has average soil quality of 0.3 percent and India 0.68 percent.
“The soil is the largest living system, not only on this planet, in the known universe there is nothing like it, millions of lives, billions of species depend on it,” he explained.
Known to world leaders, politicians, and celebrities, Sadhguru has for decades drawn attention towards soil, although he admitted that he had not achieved much more than get people to think about it.
“So I thought I had to do something to wake them up. And that’s why this motorcycle trip, although it was dangerous in many ways, trying to cover the distance at the speeds we were doing, I took this risk to get down to it,” he said.
Desertification is advancing across the globe, even faster in India, where, according to several studies, changes in vegetation show that plants will not be able to withstand drastic climate changes.
In this country of over 1.4 billion people, which will soon become the most populous one on the planet, two-thirds of the farmland and forests are at dangerous levels of degradation, and its watersheds are at risk of drought because of low soil moisture.
“You just need to touch the bare earth with your hands and touch the soil under a tree and see what the temperature is,” said the guru, referring to the depleting soil condition caused by loss of plant cover.
The causes of desertification are related to poor agricultural practices, overgrazing, deforestation, and urban development.
According to an FAO study, induced land degradation is increasing risk levels for agricultural production at times and places where economic growth is most needed.
“We are plowing 54 percent of the soil full-time and 18 percent part-time. Thus, almost 71 percent of the world’s land is plowed and uncovered most of the time, and another 4.2 percent is urban land,” he pointed out.
Therefore, by these estimates, 76 percent of the land does not have any green cover most of the time, which eventually results in soil erosion.
Still immersed in data and a passion to save the soil, Sadhguru continues to be Sadhguru, with his call for attending to the planet and humanity’s subsistence also carrying his vision of the individual being.
On being asked how the famous spiritual leader entered into these pursuits, Sadhguru laughed and replied, “when you say spiritual, people think it’s about looking up or looking down, that people look up to heaven and look to God. It’s not about that.”
“Spirituality means that your life experience has transcended the limitations of your physical self, that something non-physical has become a reality for you,” he summarized. EFE