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Buddhist Leaders Pay Close Attention to Climate Change

Imagine: Dharma leaders using their position of influence to talk about global warming, sustainability and justice, carbon footprints, and how to practice individual and collective care for our earth.

You don’t have to imagine it – it’s happening right now. This week (October 1-7, 2013), Buddhist teachers across North America and the United Kingdom are organizing the first Earth Care Week, to reconnect us with the natural world and address climate change and other major environmental issues.

Born at a recent International Vipassana Teachers’ meeting, 12 sanghas including almost 30 teachers have stepped up to the challenge and are offering everything from traditional dharma talks, daylongs, and retreats to litter cleanup, tree saplings, and a fundraising drive for a solar water heater. (Find out if a sangha near you is participating).

When we touch the Earth, our home, with awareness we can open to joy, beauty, and belonging. This heartfelt connection can bring forth a sense of care and compassion for all of life. With awareness we can also let in the challenges to the Earth’s well-being: pervasive drought, extensive wildfires, and rapidly melting sea ice. These and other threats of climate change can be the ground for awakening. – from the description of Albuquerque Vipassana’s Earth Care Retreat, led by BPFer Kathryn Turnipseed

BPFers, what do you hope to see as part of this and future Earth Care Weeks in your communities? How do you imagine we can translate dharma talks and assessments of our individual carbon footprints toward more systemic analysis of the conditions that have created climate chaos? How do we build on the momentum of over 100 Buddhist teachers signing a letter to President Obama calling for a rejection of Keystone XL?

As part of our theme “Getting Real about Nonviolence” this month, it’s time get strategic and get creative about nonviolent direct action for the planet, for our lives. BPFers have that special mix of dharma sensibility and serious activist skills that can help our communities imagine ways to care for our earth that directly undercut the systemic forces that are destroying it. Let us know what you are dreaming up in the comments!

PLUS: stay tuned for an interview this month with Kristin Barker, BPFer and co-founder of One Earth Sangha, to learn more about how One Earth Sangha is building a Buddhist response to climate change!

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Comments (2)

  • Bob

    I’m happy to hear that Buddhist Leaders are stepping up to protect the earth. This week I’m going to be giving a talk about Non Violent Civil Disobedience in Ashland Wisconsin to Northland college students in preparation for resisting a massive and terribly destructive pit mine. A mine that is also an attack against Native Americans and tribal lands.

  • Dawn Haney

    I hope your talk went well! If there’s any media (writing, photos, video) coming out of the pit mine resistance, especially with a Buddhist slant – send it our way so we can share with other BPFers!

    Info on submitting media:

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