The Dalai Lama and Greta Thunberg Unite Against the Climate Crisis

Two of the earth’s most ardent climate advocates, His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Greta Thunberg, are joining their voices together to discuss what we can do collectively to correct the impact of destructive climate feedback loops.

Ross Nervig
22 December 2020
His Holiness the Dalai Lama (left) and Greta Thunberg (right). Photo (left) by Christopher Michel. Photo (right) by Anthony Quintano.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama, climate activist Greta Thunberg and leading scientists will gather to address the question: “What can be done to slow down this threat before it’s too late?” on January 9, 2021. The free livestream event will be hosted by the Mind & Life Institute. See registration details here. 

From the devastation of forests to the major melting of polar ice caps, the effects of climate change have created feedback loops that are accelerating global warming. This human-induced climate crisis has weighed heavily on His Holiness’s mind — he is the first Nobel Laureate to be recognized for his concern for global environmental problems. In the latest issue of Lion’s Roar, he calls on us to make this a century of compassion for the planet and all its inhabitants. “Simply meditating or praying for change is not enough,” the Dalai Lama asserts in his powerful statement on the climate crisis, “We Need a Revolution of Compassion,” “There has to be action.” 

‘Simply meditating or praying for change is not enough,’ the Dalai Lama asserts in his powerful statement on the climate crisis, ‘There has to be action.’

In our most recent cover story by journalist and activist Franz Alt, His Holiness discusses developing a sense of universal responsibility, saying “This blue planet of ours is a beautiful habitat. Its life is our life; its future our future. Indeed, the earth acts like a mother to us all. Like children, we are dependent on her. Our world is deeply interdependent, both in terms of our economies and the problems like climate change that challenge us all.”

His Holiness is far from the only Buddhist figure advocating for change. Thich Nhat Hanh has penned a love letter to earth, writing: “The earth is not just the environment we live in. We are the earth and we are always carrying her within us.” Lama Willa Miller has offered five meditations to help bring the truth of climate change into your awareness and lay the ground for a skillful response. In 2019, the Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi delivered a UN speech on climate change emergency — you can watch it here. And in a deep-read for the Spring 2019 issue of Buddhadharma, “ecosattva” David Loy makes clear what Buddhism offers in the face of climate change, writing: 

The insight and equanimity cultivated by eco-bodhisattvas support what is most distinctive about Buddhist activism: acting without attachment to the results of action, something that is easily misunderstood to imply a casual attitude. Instead, our task is to do the very best we can, not knowing what the consequences will be—in fact, not knowing if our efforts will make any difference whatsoever. We don’t know if what we do is important, but we do know that it’s important for us to do it. Have we already passed ecological tipping points and civilization as we know it is doomed? We don’t know, and that’s okay. Of course we hope our efforts will bear fruit, but ultimately they are our openhearted gift to the earth.

If you’d like to register for the conversation between His Holiness and Thunberg, details can be found on the Mind & Life Institute’s website.

Ross Nervig

Ross Nervig is the assistant editor of Lion’s Roar magazine.