A Talk on Climate Change and its (Buddhist) Solutions

On October 12, 2018, IBC hosted an event on the topic of climate change at Classroom C (Ksitigarbha). The speakers were our MA students Ven. Henrik from Germany and Brother Miao Lin, Michael from China.

Henrik opened the talk with a presentation on climate change, which he gave in the name of the "Climate Reality Project", an international NGO based in the US. After explaining the underlying mechanism, he presented vivid examples of climate related natural disasters such as storms, floods, droughts and wildfires. The emphasis was hereby put on Southern Asia, which is the most affected area by climate change worldwide. He also spoke about the spread of pandemic diseases due to warmer climate, the extinction crisis, the link to animal agriculture and meat consumption as well as the melting of the poles and its consequences on sea level rise and the thread of climate refugees.

After all those alarming notes, he changed course in the second part of his presentation and spoke about the many reasons for hope due to the latest technological, economical and political developments. He showed that right now, a rapid shift is happening from fossil fuels to renewable energies, since in many parts of the world wind and solar are already the cheapest source of energy. According to him, the adaptation of renewables is happening especially rapidly in the developing world, where the unreliable infrastructure of conventional energy sources is a strong argument, especially for solar.

He finally took a look at the current climate politics with a focus on the mega-emitters China, the US and India. He showed how both China and India are on track to overachieve their commitments made in the 2015 Paris Agreement, and that even the US, notwithstanding the announced withdrawal, are still expected to meet their goals. This final note really left the audience with a feeling of hope and optimism for the second part of the event, led by Brother Michael where he provided clues for proper solutions of the climate crisis. His solutions includes both physical and psychological approaches.

We should design the products with the concept of cradle-to–cradle, not cradle –to-grave which means we need to produce and use more biodegradable and eco-design products meanwhile minimizing the use of raw materials and replacing the new products with reuse and recycle.

Education is the backbone to create alertness and awareness of people to be environmental friendly. Greed, hatred and delusion are the root causes of the present climate crisis. Cultivation of wisdom and compassion is the best solutions to care, cope and protect the mother earth for the sake of all beings for all time.

Ven. Anandajoti Bhikkhu, Prof. Tilak, Dr. Krishan Ghosh, Dr. Fa Qing, students and other participants joined the speakers providing feedback and suggestions especially based on Buddhist perspectives on how to get rid of serious environmental crisis that humanity is facing now and to present a better world for the present and future generations.