A Dharma Perspective for Climate Action
There is a point at which our dharma practice takes center stage in our lives. From then on, it informs and influences everything else we do, how we care for our children and our aging parents, do our jobs, interact with everyone we meet, even how we eat, sleep and breathe.
This “everything” certainly includes how we engage in the important moral and social issues of our times. At this moment in human history, the structures that have developed and the use of fossil fuels and technology have brought us, in the industrialized nations, to a point where we are all engaged in the overuse, contamination and pillage of the earth, to the point of endangering all life on this planet. Nothing could be farther from the intention and practice of dharma.
The practice requires that we take a hard look at what is happening, mindfully experience the feelings that arise, and seek out appropriate action to extract ourselves from these destructive practices and set the correct course towards wholesome, sustainable, and compassionate living. Because of the complexity of our society, how interconnected we all are, not just spiritually but also economically and politically, we cannot do this work of course correction individually. None of us is in a position to stop, by our own volition, no matter how hard we try, the destruction we are engaged in. The systems themselves must be changed. So we need to come together, en masse, to create the change that is needed.
As we, the people of planet earth come together, dharma practitioners have a special gift to offer into the process. We have the opportunity to bring the practice into this massive and extremely important context. We come with a quiet dignity, a depth of calm, and all the mindfulness and compassion we can muster. We certainly won’t be the only ones. Serious practitioners of all faiths will be there to support this process towards a powerful, positive conclusion.
This event, the People’s Climate March, is intended to be for everyone. As the description of the event says, “This will be a family-friendly event. The tone and tenor will be dignified, fun, impactful and empowering, and we are committed to making sure that it is permitted, peaceful and safe for all who come.” There is nothing intended here that goes against our principles as practitioners. In fact, what would go against those principles would be to sit idling by as the world burns in the flames of our destructive practices.
So now we have this opportunity to act, to make a real difference, to lend our moral voice to this great movement. This is a movement that is for the benefit of all beings, like nothing that has ever happened on this planet before. We all, every living being on Earth, are in this together. We all face the same danger. As we act by participating in this event, we are taking up the care and protection of all future generations of all species on Earth. This is dharma in action.
I hope to walk with you as we go together to bend the course of history.