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Carbon Dharma: The Occupation of Butterflies

Using the metaphor of metamorphosis, Carbon Dharma calls for our occupation of the Earth as Butterflies, to undo the damage done by the human species in its present Caterpillar stage of existence. It diagnoses the reasons for our Caterpillar stage of existence as the misinterpretation of the fundamental principles that underlie our democracy and our industrial civilization. It posits that the solution to our predicament was already revealed in the first chapter of the Rig Veda, one of the oldest and foundational texts of human religion, and that we are doing the exact opposite of the Rig Veda’s prescription in our modern consumer societies, following false Freudian assertions. The book is intended for the youth of this world who are facing some of the gravest challenges ever faced by any generation of human beings. It is also intended for all those who love the youth of this world, for the youth cannot solve these challenges on their own while their parents, grandparents, uncles and aunts continue to pile on more grave challenges for them to solve. While drawing upon the ancient Hindu concept of Dharma, or “right action”, the book weaves illustrative stories from the author’s life and leads up to a global call to action, action of a very specific, focused kind. Rather than listing hundreds of “change-light-bulb” type actions that a lot of us have been doing disjointly, but somewhat ineffectively, it lists three specific actions that we can begin to do concertedly to make a difference. While changing the world is about changing ourselves, effecting social change requires such concerted action.

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Tags: Occupation, rig veda, Dharma, Carbon, Butterflies


  1. Juan Jover says:

    Saving the planet Sailesh Rao has chosen to put his energy into solving the biggest problem that humanity faces.Sailesh, whom I have known for about thirty years, has the ability to study a problem and find the substance of the issue and then propose an innovative solution. The problem we are facing is that the planet is on the verge of not being able to accommodate the destruction that humans continue to inflict upon it. The world will be a much better place due to his work.Others have called attention to the problem for decades, but proposed partial solutions that really may not be enough to reverse the damage. Sailesh proposes three actions to take: (1) eat a vegan diet (preferably organic), (2) shop once a year (or once a quarter) except for certain items such as food and written materials, and (3) organize frequent meetings everywhere.The book also illustrates the author’s personal path and includes a dose of Eastern philosophy which makes it very interesting and new to Western audiences.I have purchased the print edition to keep at home and the kindle edition to have in my electronic devices at all times to discuss with people. Plus this book will be the present to give during the upcoming holidays.

  2. Anonymous says:

    In Carbon Dharma, Dr. Rao shows succinctly and definitively that moving to a plant-based diet is the single most important, affordable and immediate step an individual can take to help avert the coming climate and, indeed, other environmental disasters. After all, there are many more people who consider themselves to be environmentalists than there are politicians and industry executives who are acting against the best interests of the planet and its current and future inhabitants. While we cannot control politicians (even though we vote for them and protest til kingdom come), we can control what we eat and every day we can choose to fight climate change, habitat destruction, loss of biodiversity, etc by choosing a plant-based diet. Well done, Dr. Rao! And thank you for spreading this important message.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Sailesh Rao is brilliant. He pulls together so many critical issues, shares his personal challenges and changes, reveals connections between both societal and personal choices and the world that we can (and must) create, and manages to share the most frightening issues of our time in ways that educate while leaving readers empowered. I have dog-earred pages and pages of this wonderful book. Rao is a role model for our time, someone willing to continually examine new information and change accordingly; someone always willing to look deep into the complexity of the worst problems we face and to strategically and wisely seek positive solutions, but more importantly, Sailesh provides a map for the next generation to take up the call to create change.

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