Critical Dharma for Thinking Minds
In the last One Earth Sangha online training (Oct. 2016), Bhiku Bodhi presented the global picture of climate change and how Buddhists can take action at every level, from personal to political to global arenas:
Simple and Practical Steps to Combat Climate Change
I. To abstain from all evil (application of the stick) 1. Rescind subsidies to fossil fuel corporations
2. Impose a carbon tax to ensure costs of fossil fuel extraction and pollution are built into the market price of carbon
3. Reject trade agreements (TPP etc.) that allow corporations to prevail over sovereign governments
4. Reject the construction of new mega-pipelines (DAPL etc.) to transport oil and gas.
5. Protest the leasing of public lands for fossil fuel extraction 6. Prohibit oil trains (“train bombs”), a danger to communities along the routes
7. Shift away from model of industrial agriculture (including intensive livestock breeding), responsible for 30–32% of global carbon emissions
II. To cultivate the good (offering carrots)
1. Provide subsidies and low-interest loans to clean, renewable energy projects: solar panels, wind, geothermal
2. Finance refurbishing of old buildings to make them energy-efficient
3. Develop better, more efficient means of public transportation to replace the private automobile
4. As a second choice, rely on electric and hybrid cars 1
5. Promote agro-ecological models of agriculture to replace industrial agriculture. Harmonizes agriculture with natural cycles.
III. To purify one’s own mind
1. Develop contentment, the basis for a steady-state economy based on the principle of sufficiency, dedicated to qualitative growth rather than endless production and consumption
2. Utilize wisdom, to understand the long-range and long-term consequences of our actions, rooted in the subtle interconnections of diverse chains of causality
3. Arouse a heart of compassion, extending loving concern to all people everywhere on earth, based on deep inner identification and respect for human dignity
4. Advocate for justice, to establish the necessary social, economic, and political institutions, laws, and modes of governance that offer everyone the conditions needed to unfold their potentials and realize their best aspirations
IV. Concrete steps to benefit all sentient beings. How?
1. Vote: Though the political system is badly flawed, elections can make a difference. Vote only for candidates who admit human-caused climate change and are willing to act against it.
2. Write and sign: Write letters to your representatives, senators, and others. Call their offices and sign petitions and appeals to be sent to them. Local action may be most effective.
3. MOM & POP: Move Our Money, Protect Our Planet: divestment from fossil fuel corporations & related firms.
4. Get moving: participate in marches and demonstrations to convey a message to those in power.
Get moving in another way: join a movement to protect the climate: BCAN (Buddhist Climate Action Network), 350.org, Climate Mobilization, Greenpeace, support OneEarth Sangha.
5. Take direct action: to block climate-destroying projects, such as oil rigs, pipelines, fracking sites, etc. But beware of risks: long prison terms, large fines. Take precautions before taking action.