In part, this is already happening, not to human beings at the moment; in fact, we are overpopulated. But we are doing this to other beings, other animals, other species. It is said that the normal rate of species disappearing is about one in one million in a course of one year. And yet, at the current rate we're going, because of how forests are cleared for animal agriculture, because endangered species are hunted and not protected, because of the fishing industry that is wiping out the oceans, we are now looking at 50% of all species being wiped out in about 100 years' time. Again: how did we get to this point?
To examine our reality, we have to examine what underlies the manifestation of this reality. Before a yoga mat is made, someone had to think of the idea or the concept of this yoga mat. It boils down to the intention, the perception, the vision of that creation. Going back to the problem of mass extinction, let's frame it with this collective norm that we now have, the vision in which the world is built. According to corporate law, corporations are persons. And yet, beings like fish or dolphins or cows or eagles are not considered persons. When we live in a world where inanimate objects are given more personhood than sentient beings, we see where priorities lie. Hence, it is no surprise that companies are flourishing at the expense of other beings they do not consider persons, and consequently, our environment.
What does awareness about the environment have to do with yoga? The short answer is: everything. The practice of yoga is to see that we are not separate from the environment, we are not separate from animals, that we are all parts of one whole unit. Notice how when you breathe your ujayi breath, you might influence the person beside you to synchronize to your breath. Notice when someone shifts their position during meditation, you get distracted and have the urge to shift your position too. Nothing we ever do exists in isolation. We all affect each other. Even what we breathe is a result of the oceans breathing.
When we come to terms with the scientific fact that 50% of the oxygen that we breathe comes from phytoplankton in the ocean, the yogic concept "we are connected" becomes a pragmatic reality. It is not just on an abstract level that we are connected, but on a very physical level. It is also humbling because while we may think it's the dominant species, namely us human beings, who are essential to survival, this could not be further from the truth. It's the small creatures that we often ignore who hold the key to our collective survival.
For us to change our course, to survive and thrive as a whole, it is necessary that we see other beings as persons. Go back to the scenario of you being the last person on Earth. You automatically know you do not desire this kind of suffering for yourself. Now replace yourself with another person in the scenario, perhaps with someone you love, and you still know that this is not the kind of suffering you would inflict on others. Keep replacing this person with another person and another person, until you include all beings in all the world belonging to all species. When you are able to feel within your heart that this should not happen to anyone, that you would do what you can to alleviate the suffering of others, then you have let go of that separation. Then you see all beings as persons. Then you are in a state of Yoga.