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.“We are at a crucial crossroads where our survival and that of other species is at stake as a result of our actions” the Statement´s initial section warns. Eminent Signatories include His Holiness 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 and Her Royal Highness Princess Ashi Kesang Wangmo Wangchuk of Bhutan.
This urgent call for action on climate change, from leaders representing over a billion Buddhists worldwide, is unprecedented. This is the first time so many Buddhist luminaries have come together on a global issue to speak with one voice.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.
The Statement also calls on world leaders to find the political will to close the emissions gap left by national climate pledges tabled with the UNFCCC Secretariat, to ensure that the global temperature increase remains below 1.5 degrees Celsius relative to pre-industrial levels. To help vulnerable, developing countries address the cost of mitigating climate change (reducing emissions) and adapting to its devastating impacts, Buddhist leaders have asked for finance to be increased above the currently promised US$100 billion per year as from 2020 through the Green Climate Fund amongst other instruments.
“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 stated, Secretary of the International Buddhist Confederation (IBC). “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.”
“When we harm the earth, we harm ourselves,” according to Sister Chan Khong, of the Plum Village International Community of Engaged Buddhists. “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.”
The Buddhist Leaders Climate Statement amplifies “The Time to Act is Now: A Buddhist Declaration on Climate Change,” which has been endorsed in 2015 by more than 300 eminent Buddhist leaders and teachers representing the main schools and traditions of Buddhism from 37 countries, as well as thousands of Buddhist practitioners. It also welcomes and supports the climate change statements of other religious traditions. Buddhists are encouraged to show their support and join the conversation online using #Buddhists4Climate.