On Thursday, 15 Buddhist leaders, including the Dalai Lama, Thich Nhat Hanh, the Karmapa, and the King of Bhutan issued a Buddhist Climate Change Statement, calling on world leaders to completely phase out fossil fuels.
The statement is the latest effort by the Global Buddhist Climate Change Collective, which was formed in September 2015 to facilitate a Buddhist contribution to COP21, the United Nations conference on climate change, happening in Paris from November 30 to December 11.
Already, in the lead-up to COP21, the Dalai Lama made comments about climate change, activists called for 24 hours of meditation for the environment, One Earth Sangha issued a Buddhist declaration on climate change, and Buddhist teacher Bhikkhu Bodhi gave a talk on “The Four Noble Truths of the Climate Crisis” at the White House.
The new statement reads, “Our concern is founded on the Buddha’s realization of dependent co-arising, which interconnects all things in the universe.”
The Buddhist leaders also called on the global Buddhist community to, “recognize both our dependence on one another as well as on the natural world. Together, humanity must act on the root causes of this environmental crisis, which is driven by our use of fossil fuels, unsustainable consumption patterns, lack of awareness, and lack of concern about the consequences of our actions.”
Sister Chan Khong of the Plum Village International Community of Engaged Buddhists shared on Facebook, “We must take action, not out of a sense of duty but out of love for our planet and for each other. The Buddha has shown us that we can all live simply and still be very happy.”