Mobilizing on Behalf of Life
Why is it essential to mobilize, to gather as a community and march, as engaged Buddhists, as active and aspiring EcoSattvas, as citizens of Planet Earth, at the Peoples’ Climate March this coming April 29th? The Venerable Bikkhu Bodhi, Chair of Buddhist Global Relief, makes it explicit. For another perspective on how Buddhists can engage on the climate, see the companion piece by Bikkhu Bodhi, Let’s Stand Up Together. You can learn more and join the Buddhist presence at the People’s Climate Mobilization.
Note that this article is also available in Chinese as translated by Sangha member, Sylvie Sun.
Among the many challenges facing us today, as both Americans and global citizens, none demands our attention more urgently than the rising tide of climate change. The global temperature is gradually increasing, and the consequences of a hotter climate stifle the imagination. They include unbearable heat waves, long droughts, more violent floods, species extinction, and lethal food shortages. Everyone on earth will be affected; no one will be spared the terrible ravages of a changing climate.
There is no longer any room for doubt that it is human activity that’s been spurring climate change. By our reckless over-reliance on fossil fuels we are heating up the earth’s atmosphere, and it is only by concerted action that we can avert full-scale devastation. Above all, we must make the shift toward a future powered by clean, renewable sources of energy. The means of making this shift are already available to us. The technology is here; the knowledge of how to apply it is at our disposal. All that is lacking is the political will.
Human civilization is in the crosshairs of this administration. As people of conscience we cannot, we should not, stand by and watch from the sidelines.
Yet, while the scientific consensus on the climate crisis is clear, we face a formidable obstacle in the administration of Donald Trump and his cabinet of oil executives and climate change deniers. This administration, funded by powerful fossil fuel interests, prefers fiction to fact, falsehoods to truth, and is prepared to lead us in exactly the wrong direction. Trump has already announced his team will be promoting even more pipelines, more extraction of fossil fuels, which will only promoting even more pipelines, more extraction of fossil fuels, which will only increase the likelihood of full-scale catastrophe. Human civilization is in the crosshairs of this administration. As people of conscience we cannot, we should not, stand by and watch from the sidelines.
To block this ominous policy we have to fight back—to fight back peacefully, in love and compassion for all of life, making a shared commitment to a sustainable future. This will require a massive display of resistance from the American people. Together we’ll have to oppose Trump’s policies and insist on a rapid transition to a clean energy economy. To move us toward this end, the nation’s major environmental organizations have initiated a People’s Climate Mobilization that will culminate in a HUGE climate march in Washington D.C. on April 29th. At this march, hundreds of thousands of people will come together and walk shoulder to shoulder, demonstrating that we reject Trump’s energy policies, that we are pledged to usher in a sustainable future.
…to fight back peacefully, in love and compassion for all of life, making a shared commitment to a sustainable future…will require a massive display of resistance from the American people.
It is imperative that as many people as possible join this march, and as Buddhists it’s crucial that we turn up in significant numbers. Our faith commits us to the timeless values of compassion, peace, and wisdom, and in no area today are these values needed more badly than in inspired action to protect the climate. We must come forward and march together with people from all over the world—marching for our own sake, for future generations, and on behalf of our voiceless brothers and sisters all around the world. It is only by acting together—in a massive show of strength—that we can bring into being the future for which we yearn. Thank you, and I hope to see you at the march.
Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi Chair,
Buddhist Global Relief
Learn more and join the Buddhist presence at the People’s Climate Mobilization.
Venerable Bhikkhu Bodhi is an American Buddhist monk and translator of Pali Buddhist texts. He is also the founding chair of Buddhist Global Relief, an organization dedicated to helping communities worldwide afflicted with chronic hunger and malnutrition. He was appointed editor of the Buddhist Publication Society (in Sri Lanka) in 1984 and its president in 1988. Ven. Bodhi has many important publications to his credit, either as author, translator, or editor, including the Buddha — A Translation of the Majjhima Nikaya (co-translated with Ven. Bhikkhu Nanamoli (1995), The Connected Discourses of the Buddha — a New Translation of the Samyutta Nikaya (2000), and In the Buddha’s Words (2005).