Religion and Environment Conservation in Bali
Balinese religion, Hindu with all its numerous religious ritual and ceremonies depends largely on the nature for its survival. There is a constant demand leave – coconut leave, banana leave, bamboo leave, jackfruit leave virtually all leave native to Bali; flower – all flower that have fragrance scent and bright color; trunk – areca nut trunk, banana trunk, bamboo, etc. Sometimes even branch and twig are used in the ceremony. All parts of plant from most of the plants that grown in Bali are needed in the ceremony.
Animal just the same, thousands of chickens, hundreds of ducks and dozens of other animals are sacrificed each month in Bali, this small figure can be doubled when the month is full with auspicious day suitable for a ceremony. The biggest animal sacrifice in Bali is in Eka Dasa Rudra ceremony (a great exorcism once every a hundred years) where every sort of animal native to Bali, and that including everything from insect up to tiger, from turtle up to eagle is sacrificed in the ceremony. These never-ending animal sacrifices create a constant demand on the animal.
So what is the relation between the ceremonies and animal sacrifices with the conservation of the environment in Bali? The constant demand on plants and animals in Bali has to be fulfilled with a constant supply of the required plants and animals and of course, the constant availability of the required plants and animals can only be reached with good environment conservation. Without good environment conservation, due to the unceasing demand, soon or later, the required plants and animals will be extinct; and if they are gone, no religious rituals and ceremonies can be performed.
Moreover, Balinese not just need the plants and animals; they preserve the plants and animals for the sake of the religious ritual ceremonies. And they show their gratitude to the nature in their indigenous way, of course, once again, through offering and ceremony. There is a Tumpek Wariga ceremony where a ceremony is held for those plants that provide useful and important products for Balinese people. Offerings and prayer of thanks and appreciation are dedicated to God and plants that He created as a source of life. Animal is also has a special day known as Tumpek Andang or Tumpek Uye when prayers of thanks are said, offerings are wafted toward the animals, and all of them are sprinkled with holy water and showered with uncooked rice. The animal is honored in this special day.
Finally, all religious rituals and ceremonies in Bali create a need for environment conservation. It is a unique way to preserve the nature, though the ritual and ceremonies do not directly intended to conserve the nature but indirectly, their existence support the existence of the environment.
P.S. Thank to I Nyoman Sadra for giving me an interesting insight into the connection of the religious ceremony and conservation of environment.