The Network of Buddhist Organisations (NBO) which StoneWater Zen is a member of, hold a Buddhist Action Month in June each year. The theme for 2019 is “Climate Action – Personal Action”. The NBO have produced a Handbook which suggests actions that Buddhists might want to consider taking, either personally or in groups, to make a contribution towards tackling climate change. 2019-BAM-Handbook The introduction to the Handbook explains the reasoning behind the choice of this theme:
“In the last 50 years the average global temperature has risen at the fastest rate in recorded history.1
This rising temperature has fuelled the extreme weather patterns and events that we are becoming more familiar with. Climate change has created droughts that lead to forest fires, and floods that wipe out homes and habitats and lives.
As the temperature in the oceans increases tropical storms gather more energy and create more destruction.
“Climate change is devastating people’s lives all over the world. With drought, storms, floods, crop damage and sea-level rise, millions are fleeing their homes. And it’s the world’s poorest who are hardest hit. The UN Refugee Agency says climate change adds to many of today’s conflicts — from Darfur to Somalia to Iraq and Syria.”
According to a recent study burning fossil fuels is now the “most significant threat to children’s health”
The first teaching of the Buddha was the Four Noble Truths. How can we form a Noble response to climate change?
Supported by the teachings of the Buddha and our teachers through the ages we begin to inhabit the good qualities the Buddha described: generosity, ethics, wisdom, compassion and so on.
Supported by experts in climate change and environmental work, we can bring these qualities to actions that make a difference.
We can educate others, change our individual habits and take collective action.”
The NBO held a Training Day on climate action in February. Dorinda Genju Talbot attended on behalf of StoneWater Zen and produced the following notes as a summary of the day. Climate Action Training Day
Since then Dorinda has been busy with her response to climate change, supporting the Exctinction Rebellion actions in London, which some other StoneWater Zen members have also been part of.
“The XR actions I participated in last month have ranged from flyposting and leafleting in Brixton to attending an interfaith gathering of prayer, ceremony and song at St Paul’s Cathedral. There were also road blockades, meditations on Waterloo Bridge, a stint as a Wellbeing volunteer, dancing in the middle of Oxford Circus by the pink boat of truth, talking to people about XR and their own fears and concerns about the climate crisis, sacred drumming, taking part in citizens’ assemblies and sharing circles, and generally being part of an incredible uprising of ordinary people who care deeply. One of our sangha members provided arrestee support at far-flung police stations, while another StoneWater stalwart spent a night in a central London police cell after being voluntarily arrested on Waterloo Bridge. The rebellion is constantly shape shifting with local groups mushrooming around the country and inspiring actions being created daily. “We are rising up, the time has come to stir things up. Join the Rebellion!” ”
UPDATE: Since the above post, action has continued. On Wednesday 26 June some SWZ London members will be attending a mass lobby of Parliament to put pressure on MPs to take stronger action on climate change. See:- http://tiny.cc/vbwq7y
What is your response to climate change? Do you feel moved to take action? If so, does this feel like part of your practice? We’d be interested to hear. You can share your own reflections on the SWZ Facebook page or via the contact page on the website.