May 07, 2009

Buddhist Declaration on Climate Change

In anticipation of the December 2009 U.N. Climate Treaty Conference in Copenhagen, several prominent Buddhists have drafted a document in support of environmental action from a "pan-Buddhist" perspective. The Time to Act is Now, as the declaration is called, was initiated by over 20 Buddhist teachers from a diversity of traditions who contributed to a recently published collection entitled A Buddhist Response to the Climate Emergency. (The Summer 2009 issue of Tricycle, which will hit newsstands next week, includes an essay from the book by Joseph Goldstein on taking the first steps as an environmental advocate.)

Authored by Zen teacher Dr. David Tetsuun Loy and senior Theravadin teacher Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi with scientific input from Dr. John Stanley, the statement pulls no punches:

Eminent biologists and U.N. reports concur that “business-as-usual” will drive half of all species on Earth to extinction within this century. Collectively, we are violating the first precept—“do not harm living beings”—on the largest possible scale.

The first signer was the Dalai Lama. Read the declaration and add your own name here.

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Robin Soukvilay's picture

I want to tell you about a contest I did that helped me be informed about the Copenhagen Summit this December. It's probably the best chance we have to curb climate change. Help sign the petition to pressure politicians into believing our world is worth saving. Also, vote for my ad! I would really appreciate it =)

I learned a lot about Copenhagen because of this ad contest I did. I'm asking for votes for my ad. However, I've also signed the petition. I believe it's great that this contest occured. I'm much more informed and have since looked up what people feel about it as well. Brilliant way to reach the youth if you ask me.

Follow these steps to vote for me:
2. Search "Billy" and click "Go"
3. VOTE Thumbs up

At the end you'll see the link to sign the online petition too!
Spread the word!

Also if you could make a post out of this to direct people to my ad and vote for it as well as sign the petition, I would love that. Thank you =)

Tyler Poulson's picture

I wholeheartedly agree that increasing levels of carbon emissions pose a threat to species worldwide. In addition to climate change, ocean acidification is drastically changing the chemical composition of the oceans and making it difficult for species to survive (ref below). Environmental issues are often a violation of the precept to not harm living beings and I'm pleased to see collective action among Buddhist leaders to address this.

NOAA fact sheet on Ocean Acidification:

Carol Schlenger's picture

Great that this has finally come to people's attention! It's time we Buddhists take a lead in bringing into political and economic arenas the importance of Bodhicitta. Rather than perpetual consumption and material growth being the marker for success, we need to take a lead in demonstrating how success is marked by the contentment derived from simplicity and self-sufficiency, and from seeing that a satisfactory standard of living is enjoyed by all the living beings on this beautiful planet.

Dr. Suzanne Soehner's picture

The climate crisis is the most critical emergency of our time. I hope and pray that this declaration, with HH Dalai Lama as the first signatory, will become the focal point for all Buddhists to take action. Thank you Tricycle for doing your part to publicize this important movement.

eddie stack's picture

It is both auspicious and telling that HH Dalai Lama was the first signer of this declaration. I've signed it and hope + pray that multitudes follow suit. It's too late for the 'business as usual' model and everyone of us need to take action. We need to be more than sunny day Buddhists in dharma colours. We have to get back to basics: stop harming 'all living beings' and that great organism that we call Mother Earth.