The Greek word Gaia and the Sanskrit word Gau both refer to the earth and to the cow. This pairing of cow and earth in linguistics or folk culture is found in other places too, including Persia, Scandinavia and Japan. These are not such trivial conjunctions. Consider the qualities of a cow, and those of the earth: Both are like mothers, giving sustenance. We milk the earth as we milk the cow. The farmer is milking the Earth. The fisherman, miner and logger are all milking the Earth. In addition, cows are generally peaceful loving animals, while the planet is like one big mother cow, peacefully providing all the needs of her children.
As such we should be giving our environment, Gaia, Mother Earth, the respect due to a loving mother. Instead we are busy unnecessarily chopping down rainforests, polluting water ways, blasting mountains, removing the topsoil, and drilling holes deep into to the Earth. We are exploiting the Earth. We are abusing our mother.
We may talk about conservation and the environment, but ultimately our consciousness and view of ourselves has to change or our attempts to save the environment will be superficial band-aid solutions which address the symptoms instead of the problem.
That consciousness change cannot be something artificial. It must be a personal understanding rooted in the truth of our identity. This truth will set us free from the environmental calamities that face us. Each of us must find out the truth of our identity and act on it. And that truth can be found with the saints, sages, and scriptures of the world which we’ve so much neglected.
That truth is that because we are spiritual in essence matter can never satisfy us and therefore the material things supplied by the Earth will not in and of themselves make us happy. There is enough in this world for everyone’s need but not for everyone’s greed. If we know this and act on it we will only take that milk from the Earth that we need for our sustenance, and will seek elsewhere, in the spiritual realm, for full satisfaction. This being the case, as individuals we will no longer be drawn into exploiting and abusing the environment, but instead will treat Mother Earth with the respect she deserves.