Buddhist Leaders Unite
Fifteen of the world’s most senior Buddhists have issued a landmark call to political leaders to adopt an effective climate change agreement at the UN negotiations in Paris starting 30 November. This urgent call for action on climate change, from leaders representing over a billion Buddhists worldwide, is unprecedented. The Buddhist Climate Change Statement to World Leaders urges the twenty-first session of the Conference of the Parties (COP21) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to act with wisdom and compassion, and agree to phase out fossil fuels and move towards 100 percent renewable and clean energy.
With Pope Francis’s call for action on climate change and unprecedented destruction of ecosystems earlier in the year, it is becoming apparent that more and more people are voicing their concerns publicly for the welfare of the planet and humankind. Pope Francis advocated a “change of lifestyle in rich countries steeped in a throwaway consumer culture and an end to an ‘obstructionist attitudes’ that sometimes put profit before the common good.”
Now Buddhist leaders are urging global leaders to cooperate with compassion and wisdom and reach an ambitious and effective climate agreement at the 21st Session of the Conference of Parties (COP21) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Paris. Some of the signatories of the Buddhist statement included; the Dalai Lama, Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh, His Holiness the 17th Karmapa, as well as Supreme Heads of Buddhism in Bangladesh, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Secretary General of the International Buddhist Confederation (IBC), President of the Buddhist Association of the USA, President of the UBF (l’Union Bouddhiste de France) and Her Royal Highness Princess Ashi Kesang Wangmo Wangchuk of Bhutan.
Acting Out of Love Not Fear to Save the Planet
“Everyday life can easily lead us to forget that we are inextricably linked to the natural world through every breath we take, the water we drink and the food we eat,” Lama Lobzang
The Buddhist leaders concerns relate to the realization of dependent co-arising, which interconnects all things in the universe. Understanding this interconnected causality and the consequences of our actions are critical steps in reducing our environmental impact. Cultivating the insight of interbeing and compassion, we will be able to act out of love, not fear, to protect our planet. Buddhist leaders have been speaking about this for decades. However, everyday life can easily lead us to forget that our lives are inextricably interwoven with the natural world through every breath we take, the water we drink, and the food we eat. Through our lack of insight, we are destroying the very life support systems that we and all other living beings depend on for survival.
Humanity Must Act decisively NOW
“Humanity must act on the root causes of this crisis, which is driven by greed, thoughtlessness and a lack of concern about the consequences of our actions.” Lama Lobzang
The Buddhists believe it imperative that the global Buddhist community recognize both our dependence on one another as well as on the natural world. Together, humanity must act on the root causes of this environmental crisis, which is driven by our use of fossil fuels, unsustainable consumption patterns, lack of awareness, and lack of concern about the consequences of our actions. This is the first time so many Buddhist luminaries have come together on a global issue to speak with one voice.
Living Simply is the Key
“The earth is not just our environment. The earth is our mother. We are all children of the earth, and we must help one another as brothers and sisters of one big planetary family. We must take action, not out of a sense of duty but out of love for our planet and for each other. The Buddha has shown us that we can all live simply and still be very happy.” Sister Chan Khong
The good news is that there is a unique opportunity at the Paris climate negotiations to create a turning point. Scientists assure us that limiting the rise in the global average temperature to less than 1.5 degrees Celsius is technologically and economically feasible. Phasing out fossil fuels and moving toward 100 percent renewable and clean energy will not only spur a global, low-carbon transformation, it will also help us to embark on a much-needed path of spiritual renewal. In addition to our spiritual progression, in line with UN recommendations, some of the most effective actions individuals can take are to protect our forests, move toward a plant-based diet, reduce consumption, recycle, switch to renewables, fly less, and take public transport. We can all make a difference. (1)
Sources: excerpts from One ~ A Survival Guide for the Future…
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