Fight Climate Change With Yoga, India’s Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, Says

Lifestyle changes, including yoga, is one way to address global warming, according to Narendra Modi.

Modi, India’s prime minister who took office about a year ago in a landslide victory, included this recommendation in a wide-ranging speech about climate change and the economy in Paris at the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

In the UNESCO speech, Modi acknowledged that climate change is a serious global challenge that requires a worldwide response. He noted that over the next seven years, India intends to add 175,000 milliwatts of clean and renewable energy as part of that effort in the country’s rapidly expanding economy.

India’s leader embraces, in general, a free-market philosophy and is visiting France, Germany, and Canada in part to attract business and investment to his country. As far as CO2 emissions, however, “the Indian government has said it needs to emit more to industrialize and lift millions out of poverty,” Reuters noted.

PM Modi’s speech that referenced the benefits of yoga also seemed to be lukewarm, as it were, about greenhouse gas reductions being forced on his country by the international community, such as what might emerge at a U.N. climate change conference scheduled for later this year.

“But, we are more likely to succeed if we offer affordable solutions, not simply impose choices. That is why I have called for global public action to develop clean energy, that is affordable and accessible to all. And, it is for the same reason that I call for a change in lifestyle. Because, the emission reduction that we seek will be the natural outcome of how we live. And, it will also mean a different path to economic well-being. It is with this vision that I had called the United Nations General Assembly last September to declare June 21 as the International Day of Yoga. Yoga awakens a sense of oneness and harmony with self, society and nature. By changing our lifestyle and creating consciousness, it can help us deal with climate change and create a more balanced world.”

Coal is an important part of India’s energy industry, and India is said to be the third largest nation for carbon dioxide emissions (China is in first place, followed by the U.S.). “However, Modi’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has pursued a development agenda that is at odds with Western hand-wringing. The BJP has opened up the nation’s coal mining industry in a bid to meet domestic demand. It has also taken on environmentalist groups such as Greenpeace, regarding the latter as inimically hostile to India’s economic success,” Breitbart News explained about India’s reliance on coal for electricity.

In Delhi recently, Modi declared that “The world guides us on climate change and we follow them? The world sets the parameters and we follow them? It is not like that. We can lead the world.”

Added the Guardian about Modi’s climate change policies which may reflect a more skeptical approach, “Since his election, Modi has dismantled a number of environmental protections, clearing the way for new coal mines and other industrial projects. He also blocked funds to Greenpeace and other environmental groups and is known to be vehemently anti-NGOs.”

Do you think that yoga can help combat global warming as the prime minister suggests, or is the lifestyle change for climate change recommendation a “stretch”?

[Photo by Kena Betancur/Getty Images News]