Mahatma Gandhi loved nature very much. He knew the important of environment. So he always said to the people of India that he did not destroy nature for their greed. He wrote many times about it. He spoke in his prayer and other meetings about it.
Gandhi mentioned about environment in Indian Opinion, which published on dated 9 February 1907 that we ought to know the direction in which our Environment disposes our instincts. We know that we are not in every way masters of our own life; there are conditions outside of us to which we have to adjust ourselves. For instance, in a country where Himalayan cold prevails, we have to put on adequate clothing, whether we like it or not, in order to keep the body warm. That is, we have to act with prudence.
The question now arises: does the influence of environment lead us to be moral? Or can it be that the forces that surround us are indifferent to morality? At this point it becomes necessary to consider Darwin’s views.
Though Darwin did not write as a moral philosopher, he has how close the connection is between morality and environment. Those who think that morality is unimportant and that physical strength and mental capacity are the only things that matter should read Darwin. According to him, there is an instinct of self-preservation in men as in other creatures. He also says that those who survive the struggle for existence may be regarded as successful, that is, those who are unfit tend to extinction, but that the issue of the struggle does not depend on mere physical force.
It is difficult to escape from the conclusion that the head and front of The Indian offending lies in the fact that he possesses a superabundance of those characteristics which, if found in his detractors, would be regarded as virtues to be extolled and emulated. Unhappily for his peace and safety, the Indian in South Africa is not content to remain the mere hewer of wood and drawer of water. Even despite the disadvantages of his environment, he succeeds in raising himself from lowly beginnings to ‘comparative affluence.
Gandhi mentioned about environment in Indian Opinion, which published on dated 9 February 1907 that there is no people to whom the moral life is a special mission. Everything depends on the individual himself. One can pursue the principles of morality at any place, in any environment or condition of life.
Gandhi wrote a letter to Maganlal Gandhi, on dated 25 October 1914, in which he mentioned about environment that Follow all the ideals of Phoenix even at the cost of extreme suffering. Tell me in detail how everybody is keeping and what has been the effect of the environment on the minds of the children after going there.
Gandhi spoke his many speeches about environment, which are published in Speeches and Writings of Mahatma Gandhi (4th Ed.), pp. 329- We commit a breach of the swadeshi spirit certainly if we wear foreign-made cloth, but we do so also if we adopt the foreign cut. Surely, the style of our dress has some correspondence with our environment.
Gandhi wanted that environment should be taught in schools that our youths learn one thing from parents at home and from the general environment, and another at school. The pattern at school is often found incompatible with that in the home. The lessons in our readers are regarded as of little relevance to conduct.
Gandhi spoke in women meeting, Surat on dated 26 May 1919 that I want to talk to you about another matter besides this. It is as important as satyagraha. It grows out of Satyagraha, though not out of the Rowlett Acts. When Satyagraha is going on, men and women come to think about truth. If we have followed truth even in a small measure, we shall want to overcome the imperfections in us and in our environment.
Gandhi spoke in Guajarati Bandhu Sabha, Poona, on dated 8 August 1919 that If we but try, a favorable environment will be created and we shall get back the inheritance we have disowned. Principal Paranjapye said that we would fail in the competition with the rest of the world. But there is no question of competition in this. This is a question, rather, of the economic freedom of peasants and of the poor. The farmer is the father of the world. Take the example of America or Japan. They help the cultivator there. Our Governor, too, is anxious [to know] how the cultivator may be helped. The problem can be solved in accordance with the principle of economics.
Gandhi wrote about environment in Young India on dated that 11 February 1920 that we are not a colonizing nation in the modern sense of the term. The labourers are not followed by their better-class countrymen who whilst they would want to earn a living would make it dependent upon their service of their countrymen. The religious and the social tie are loosened. The restraints of Indian environment do not follow the emigrant. Going therefore to an environment which has become debased by servility and degraded by the inevitable immorality of the system under which his predecessors have lived, the new emigrant succumbs to that environment. It is not right to expose the would-be emigrants to such grave moral risks.
I have absolutely no such fear for the simple reason that earnest workers must realize as they have realized already, that there must be in all organic growth constant adaptability to changes that take place in the environment
Gandhi wrote about environment in Young India on dated that 23 February 1922 that If we have understood the essential parts of non-violence, we can but come to one conclusion that any eruption of widespread violence and I call the Chauri Chaura tragedy widespread for the purpose automatically stops mass civil-disobedience. That many other parts of the country have nobly responded to the spirit of nonviolence is good, but it is not good enough to continue mass civil disobedience even as a most peaceful meeting is disturbed if one man obstructs or commits violence. Mass civil disobedience for becoming successful requires a non-violent environment. The reason for restricting it to one single small area is to prevent violence elsewhere. It, therefore, means that mass civil disobedience in a particular area is possible when the other areas passively co-operate by remaining nonviolent.
Gandhi wrote about environment in Young India on dated that 19 June 1924 that the majority of the Mussalmans of India and the Hindus belong to the same ‘stock’, the religious environment has made them different.
Gandhi wrote about environment in Navjivan on dated that 22 June 1924 that What is necessary for promoting it is education in morality, a moral environment and moral conduct among the elders. I do not write at this length about purdah with a view to finding fault with the Conference. It would have been difficult to abolish purdah right at the start. But a few Rajputs must start working for the future.
Gandhi wrote a letter to Sir Prabhashanker Pattani on dated 10 February 1925, in which he mentioned about environment that You have surpassed me, because you are living in an environment where it would be difficult to publicize one’s private life.
Gandhi wrote about environment in Navjivan on dated that 19 July 1925 that In any case, they are not responsible to the subjects. This makes them more susceptible to the evil influences in their environment.
Gandhi wrote a letter to Girdharilal on dated 19 March 1926, in which he mentioned about environment that It is our environment rather than yourself that is to blame for your inability to put your spare time to good use. You must not resign yourself to it thinking it God’s will. On the contrary, you should cultivate the strength to stand against the environment.
Gandhi wrote about environment in Young India on dated that 9 September 1926 that the fashion of regarding the sexual acts as natural, necessary, and moral and conducive to mental and physical health has accentuated the evil. The advocacy by the cultured men of the free use of contraceptives has created an atmosphere favoring the growth of the sexual microbe. The tender and receptive minds of youngsters draw the hasty deductions favoring and justifying their unlawful and destructive desires and the parents and the teachers exhibit a sad, almost criminal, indifference and tolerance in respect of the deadly vice. Short of complete purification of the social environment, nothing, in my opinion, will stop the evil.
Gandhi wrote about environment in Young India on dated that 30 December 1926 that Mussalmans have an ordeal to pass through. There can be no doubt that they are too free with the knife and the pistol. The sword is no emblem of Islam. But Islam was born in an environment where the sword was and still remains the supreme law. The message of Jesus has proved ineffective because the environment was unready to receive it. So with the message of the Prophet. The sword is yet too much in evidence among Mussalmans. It must be sheathed if Islam is to be what it means—peace. There is danger of Mussalmans secretly endorsing the mad deed. It will be a calamity for them and the world. For ours is after all a world problem. Reliance upon the sword is wholly inconsistent with reliance upon God. There should be, on their part, unequivocal mass condemnation of the atrocity.
Gandhi talked with Manu Gandhi about environment on dated 21 April 1947 that that boy will grow into a courageous, healthy and service minded boy, provided he gets a wholesome environment.1 His body as well as his mind will develop in right proportion. He will be free of any fraud or immorality. Staying in the village he will serve the villagers and will be content to live on the subsistence provided by the villagers. Through his service and the knowledge acquired by him he will provide proper guidance to the people around him and thus train more young men. I expect that a student trained under the Nayee Talim would develop on these lines. Slavery to the environment dulls a man’s mind.
Gandhi wrote a letter to Girdharilal on dated 8 December 1945 in which he mentioned about environment that This is a gross error or thought and consequent action, handed down from generation to generation by the British official element. Your gigantic project will come to nothing until the whole mass of the people of Bengal is interested in the Government of the province. Therefore, religion and even individual ambition are intermixed. They are as much abiding factors of our environment as the land and water of Bengal, and they are equally shifting.
Gandhi wrote on dated 5 April 1945, in which he mentioned about environment that we shall be undone if we succumb to the psychological environment around us. The situation regarding the Chimur prisoners keeps changing from day to day. Let us do our duty and remain detached.
Gandhi spoke in a speech at Ahmedabad meeting on 1 January 1918, in which he explained the importance of purity of air, water and food air, water and grains are the three chief kinds of food. Air is free to all, but, if it is polluted, it harms our health. Doctors say that bad air is more harmful than bad water. Inhalation of bad air is harmful by itself and this is the reason we [sometimes] need change of air. Next comes water. We are generally very careless about it. If we were to be sufficiently careful about air, water and food, the plague would never make its appearance among us.
Gandhi mentioned the importance of pure air is a gift to mankind on 31 August 1942 that the atmospheric air around us is not always pure, either is it the same in every country. The choice of the country does not always lie in our hands but the choice of a suitable house in a suitable locality does rest with us to some extent. The general rule should be to live in locality which is not too congested and insist upon the house being well-lighted and well-ventilated. . . Nature has provided us with sufficient reserve of vitality. But for that, man would have long ago disappeared from the face of the earth because of his own mistakes and transgressions of the rules of health.
We must see that the air that we breathe in is fresh. It is good to cultivate the habit of sleeping in the open under the stars.
Gandhi spoke in a speech at prayer meeting on 24 March1946 at Uruli Kanchan everybody must be sleep in the open to get fresh air the most essential of these is air. Man can live without food for several weeks, without water for some time, but without air he cannot live for more than a few minutes. God has, therefore made air universally available. Shortages of food or water there may be at times but of air never. Inspite of it we foolishly deprive ourselves of God's blessings of fresh and pure air by sleeping within doors with doors and windows shut. One may shut doors and windows, if he is afraid of thieves at night. But should one shut oneself up?
To get fresh air, one must sleep in the open. But it is no good sleeping in the open only to breathe dust and dirt Iaden air. The place where you sleep must be free from both.
Anyone who fouls the air by spitting about carelessly, throwing refuse and rubbish or otherwise dirtying the ground, sins against man and nature.