A boy had a dream
I was born and raised in a small town in the North-Westerly part of Zimbabwe, built around a century old coal mining operation and thermo-electric power station. Growing up, I was fond of the surrounding natural environment. My family often took fishing and camping trips along the Zambezi River as well as excursions through the expansive Hwange National Park. This exposure opened my heart and mind to the elegant beauty and silent symmetry of the natural order.
It did not take me long to begin to notice the detrimental effects that open-cast mining and thermo-electric power generation had on the natural environment. Having been an exceptionally inquisitive person I often questioned my family and educators on the rationale behind such harmful methods of living, to the point that their knowledge no longer satisfied my thirst for answers to such perplexing questions, spurring me to seek independently.
It was at an early age of about 11 years when I first envisioned what has now become my life defining dream, during many hours at our local library, investigating historical encyclopedias and natural science texts for possible solutions. Through this, what dawned on me was that ancient societies seemed to be free of most of the problems that modern societies face. Why was that? The answer lay in their unclouded understanding of the symbiotic balance between all living beings in the natural environment, fundamentally understood today as a balanced biodiversity, and founded in an unshakable belief in a supreme conscious Being. This faith guided and directed their activities and allowed them to live harmoniously with their surroundings. Thus I started a life-long investigation into the diverse and intricate systems of human communal living that have incorporated this intimate understanding between man and nature as a possible solution to many of the challenges we face. Since beginning my journey towards a God centred lifestyle, this dream has been enhanced and developed to include not only the needs of human community but how best to benefit all living creatures that make up God’s creation.
As the various global socio-environmental crises deepen, a new generation is rising up into leadership with the intention of rectifying the detrimental effects of the current disharmonious way of living. My dream is to assist in addressing the social, environmental and spiritual crises, by questioning the commonly proposed notions of ‘development’ and getting involved in research and projects that explore well thought out systems for not only sustainable living, but holistic regeneration of natural environments. My hope is to one day contribute my knowledge, skills and experience into an exemplary model where humans not only understand but actively live in symbiosis with nature, and where they can then focus on their spiritual well-being. This was also the hope of His Divine Grace Srila A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, the founder of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, a society dedicated to the spiritual upliftment of all of the entire world. Srila Prabhupada desired that sustainable communities be established with this very purpose, and for us as devoted children of God to act as examples and custodians of a spiritually centred life in harmony with the entirety of creation.
In pursuit of this desire I have applied and been accepted to study towards a Masters Degree in Environmental Ethics (MPhil) at the University of Stellenbosch South Africa, beginning in February 2021. I strongly feel that the attainment of this qualification is an important step towards accomplishing this long held dream and thus humbly ask for your generous assistance in making this dream a reality.
Yours in service to God
Jurgen Wolfenden (Jagadananda Das)