August 28, 2014
Our collective economic practices are endangering life on Earth. It’s time to set a new course through collective action.
As our dharma practice deepens, it begins to inform and influence everything we do, including how we engage with the important moral and social issues of our times.
At this moment in human history, the unrestrained extraction and burning of fossil fuels has brought us, in the industrialized nations, to the point where we are contaminating and pillaging the Earth to such an extreme that we are endangering all life on this planet. Nothing could be further from the intention and practice of dharma.
People around the world experience the devastating effects of climate change in the form of cataclysmic storms, droughts, floods, wildfires, and sea-level rise taking lives, destroying homes, threatening food security, and reducing access to fresh water.
The dharma encourages us to take a hard look at what is happening and seek out appropriate action to extricate ourselves from destructive practices. We need to set a new course for our society toward wholesome, sustainable, and compassionate living.
We cannot accomplish this through individual action, no matter how hard we try. Our energy infrastructure and our economic model itself must be rethought. We need to come together in massive numbers to influence the systemic changes that are needed.
Desperate to bring world leaders together in commitments of concrete action, the UN Secretary General has called a summit for September 23rd in New York City. In solidarity and support, organizations and individuals by the tens of thousands from across the US are planning to converge on New York on September 21 for the People’s Climate March, expected to be the largest demonstration for climate action in history.
To sit by idly as the world burns in the flames of our destructive practices would be to go against our principles as people of faith. Serious practitioners of all religious traditions will be in New York to support the summit’s process toward a positive conclusion.
We now have the opportunity to act, to make a real difference, to lend our moral voice to this great movement. This movement, like none before, is for the benefit of all beings. We are all in this together. Every living being on Earth faces the same danger. By participating in this march, we take up the care and protection of the present and future generations of every species on Earth. This is dharma in action.
Join Tricycle and Buddhist communities in New York and beyond as we march to demand climate justice on September 21. Register to get updates, including the meeting location for Buddhist groups, here.
Ayya Santussika Bhikkhuni lives at Karuna Buddhist Vihara monastery in Mountain View, California, and serves on the board of directors for Buddhist Global Relief.
Image: Urs Buhlman / Gallery Stock