Earth Sangha is a non-profit public charity based in Washington, DC. Their mission is to work towards ecological restoration as a form of socially engaged Buddhism. Although they work in the spirit of Buddhist practice, their volunteers come from a wide variety of backgrounds, and their work is secular and science based. To read more about Earth Sangha, click here.
Dharma Gaia is an organization that aims to nurture awareness of the relation between Buddhism and ecology. They generate funds for Buddhist-inspired ecological projects in Asia and the developing world, motivate Buddhist communities to actively engage in the ecological challenges of the time, and publicize the efforts of engaged Buddhists working on environmental projects. To read more about Dharma Gaia, click here.
Climate Change, Ethics, and the Field of Greed is an article from the Dharma Action Network for Climate Engagement. The author, Victor von der Heyde, discusses human’s everyday actions and decisions and how they impact our environment. He describes how most people take more than “their share,” and this gets into ethical territory. He then talks about eight ways that people rationalize their decisions and uses Buddhist perspectives to shed light on other answers. To read the entire article, click here.
Dharma Action Network for Climate Engagement (DANCE) is a space to explore the breadth of possible Dharma responses to climate change and related issues. Started by a group of Dharma teachers, DANCE is meant to support creative ideas and initiatives. They believe that by sharing and working together, people can encourage and inspire each other and make a difference. To read more, click here.
This short video consists of David Loy discussing the Buddhist perspective on the Eco-crisis. He begins to describe anata, the belief that all things are constantly changing and there can be no such thing as a permanent self, and dukkha, which is the idea that human experience is short-lived and suffering results from excessive desire. These ideas come together to describe the Buddhist idea that there is no “self”. Loy says that, “our sense of self is usually haunted by a sense of lack.” This sense of lack and false sense of “self,” create issues for people that can be related to consumerism, the Eco-crisis, and more. To watch the entire video, click here.
Can Religion Save the Environment? is a twenty-five minute video on Cambodia’s indigenous Chong people as they are led by Buddhist monks to protest the construction of a hydroelectric dam. The dam would displace the Chong and destroy their ancestral forest home. This is an example of how China is beginning to draw on its religious traditions to help address serious environmental challenges. To watch the video, click here.
The Alliance of Religions and Conservation works with twelve different faiths worldwide. They believe that religious organizations have an immense influence on social, educational, political, and cultural issues around the world. This influence makes these organizations one of the most powerful in social changes in society. Therefore, the Alliance of Religions and Conservation works with these twelve religious organizations to care for the environment and use their own unique relationships with the natural world to do so. To read more about this organization and their specific programs with the different religious organizations, click here.
The Earth Keeping Summit 2016 was held at the Ohio State University, School of Environment and Natural Resources. The summit went deeper than the importance of recycling, shutting off your lights and using less energy, and addressed questions of ecology, justice, and race. Dr. Melanie Harris was the keynote speaker of the event and also spoke on the importance of sharing stories. She is an Associate Professor of Religion at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, TX.
Dr. Harris spoke of the importance of diversity in ecology and how social justice relates to the environmental movement. She talked about how sharing our stories and experiences plays a part in taking care of the environment and having a connection to the environment and to each other. In this environmental movement we must listen. We must reflect on our experiences. We must take race, class and gender very seriously. She gave the example of Eric Garner whose life was taken by police but before that he struggled with asthma. Melanie talked about our air and how the earth is barely breathing. When we heal our earth we will then heal ourselves.
Earth connection begins by sitting with difference. Sitting with nature and seeing things in a different kind of lens. You can hear Melanie’s powerful message here.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama recently spoke in Brussels to promote global responsibility in business and economics for the sake of social and environmental sustainability. His appearance was coordinated with the recent publication of Business as an Instrument for Societal Change: In Conversation with the Dalai Lama, a book by Sander Tideman. For more information about the Dalai Lama’s teachings on the environment, visit his website and browse his list of environmental speeches and messages.
Buddhist beliefs, at their core, line up with environmental stewardship. Here is an awesome resource that looks at how the relationship between Buddhism and the environment works.