Title

Ecological Interdependence: The Buddhist Response to Climate Change

Presentation Type

Presentation

Abstract

Increased temperatures, species extinctions, ocean acidification, melting sea ice, rising sea levels, and extreme weather events all point to the climate emergency that is quickly gaining speed on our planet. As life on earth becomes witness to a changing climate caused by the misuse and abuse of natural resources by humans, our generation faces perhaps the toughest battle nature has waged with humankind. This century must be a time of transformation and reform if we hope for our species (and many others) to continue to live on this planet. We must transform our energy consumption, our resource extraction, our polluting habits, but most of all our relationship with the land as a human race. The Vietnamese Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh wrote: “If we continue abusing the earth this way, there is no doubt that our civilization will be destroyed. This will require enlightenment, awakening. The Buddha attained individual awakening. Now we need a collective enlightenment to stop this course of destruction.” This Buddhist author and teacher offers an understanding of Buddhist precepts and philosophies that allow for a holistic and integrated perspective on humanity’s place in the world. My paper proposes that certain Buddhist concepts can help foster a healthier and more sustainable human relationship with the natural environment. Using writings from Buddhist scholars Thich Nhat Hanh and Sulak Sivaraksa, I hope to prove the relevance of Buddhism, and religion in general, as a crucial contributor to the fight against climate change and the call for humanity’s response to the ecological crisis. I have composed three paintings as a means to supplement the academic paper in order to communicate these Buddhist concepts to a wider audience. Each piece attempts to embody an ecologically aware Buddhist concept that may help us to realize our place an interdependent, and cooperative world.

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Apr 12th, 2:40 PM Apr 12th, 3:00 PM

Ecological Interdependence: The Buddhist Response to Climate Change

UC 331

Increased temperatures, species extinctions, ocean acidification, melting sea ice, rising sea levels, and extreme weather events all point to the climate emergency that is quickly gaining speed on our planet. As life on earth becomes witness to a changing climate caused by the misuse and abuse of natural resources by humans, our generation faces perhaps the toughest battle nature has waged with humankind. This century must be a time of transformation and reform if we hope for our species (and many others) to continue to live on this planet. We must transform our energy consumption, our resource extraction, our polluting habits, but most of all our relationship with the land as a human race. The Vietnamese Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh wrote: “If we continue abusing the earth this way, there is no doubt that our civilization will be destroyed. This will require enlightenment, awakening. The Buddha attained individual awakening. Now we need a collective enlightenment to stop this course of destruction.” This Buddhist author and teacher offers an understanding of Buddhist precepts and philosophies that allow for a holistic and integrated perspective on humanity’s place in the world. My paper proposes that certain Buddhist concepts can help foster a healthier and more sustainable human relationship with the natural environment. Using writings from Buddhist scholars Thich Nhat Hanh and Sulak Sivaraksa, I hope to prove the relevance of Buddhism, and religion in general, as a crucial contributor to the fight against climate change and the call for humanity’s response to the ecological crisis. I have composed three paintings as a means to supplement the academic paper in order to communicate these Buddhist concepts to a wider audience. Each piece attempts to embody an ecologically aware Buddhist concept that may help us to realize our place an interdependent, and cooperative world.