On Earth Day, I thought of a prayer that resonated with me in my youth. “The earth is the Lord’s, and the fullness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein. For He has founded it on the seas, and established it on the floods. Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord, or who shall stand in His holy place? He that has clean hands, and a pure heart; who has not lifted up his soul to vanity, nor sworn deceitfully. He shall receive the blessing from the Lord.” (Psalm 24:1–5)
Later, when I met Srila Prabhupada, I came across a verse, spoken by the Lord Himself, Krishna, which confirmed and expanded the same principle. “A person in full consciousness of Me, knowing Me to be the ultimate beneficiary of all sacrifices and austerities, the Supreme Lord of all planets and demigods, and the benefactor and well-wisher of all living entities, attains peace from the pangs of material miseries.” (Bhagavad-gita 5.29)
How, then, should we deal with the earth and its resources? “Everything animate or inanimate that is within the universe is controlled and owned by the Lord. One should therefore accept only those things necessary for himself, which are set aside as his quota, and one should not accept other things, knowing well to whom they belong.” (Isopanisad 1)
Thus one should be happy and satisfied in Krishna (God) consciousness.