Triratna Earth Sangha
A group of Triratna Order members, Mitras and Friends worldwide who are deeply concerned about the climate and ecological crises we face and see it as part of their practice to do something about them
What we did in 2021
In the Triratna Earth Sangha we are all too painfully aware of the Buddha’s core teaching that actions have consequences. The accelerating destruction of ecosystems in the natural world caused by greed, hatred and ignorance is causing untold suffering to beings of many kinds, and we feel that it is our duty as Buddhists to do what we can to raise awareness of the plight of the planet, demonstrate an alternative way of life based on stillness, simplicity and contentment and act to relieve suffering where we can.
The Working Group I contribution to the Sixth Assessment Report, "Climate Change 2021: The Physical Science Basis", has just been released, and you can read it here. The press release which accompanies it confirms what has been common knowledge for many years now: that major and irreversible changes to the climate, affecting all parts of the globe, are underway now and that swift and drastic cuts in emissions are needed now if we are to have any hope of keeping the global temperature rise to below 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels. This comes on top of the International Energy Agency's assessment that all future explorations for new gas and oil deposits must be halted immediately as part of a transition to net zero by 2050.
... are familiar to most of us, but here are just a few:
Anthropogenic climate change
Biodiversity loss/mass extinctions
Extreme weather events
Sea level rise
Acidification of the oceans
"Dead zones" through fertiliser run-off
Present and future shortages of water and food
Mass migration induced by climate change
Conflict for resources
What Buddhism can offer
The centrality of mind: human wellbeing is not dependent on consumption and the pursuit of pleasure. True meaning and satisfaction come from within.
Compassion. We value wellbeing for all life, for its own sake. The natural world has intrinsic value; life isn't for anything.
Conditionality. We accept that actions have consequences. On a practical level, we depend on conditions in the world; on the level of phenomena, we share in the nature of all things, being empty of true, independent existence, impermanent and ultimately unsatisfactory. This gives us a deep kinship with all life, whether sentient or not.
Metta. Metta is inclusive. It is not limited just to human beings or even sentient life. The way metta has been taught in our community risks an anthropocentric view: that human wellbeing matters above all other considerations.
Contentment. Buddhism locates happiness away from consumerism. We can learn to take less and encourage others to do so out of love for the world.
Skilful communication. We can add a kindly and compassionate voice to the environmental debate, free of polarisation and free of blaming. Or at least we can try!
What can I do?
Join the conversation! We have fortnightly meetings on Zoom at 10.30 am on Sundays mornings, the next scheduled meeting being 3 July and fortnightly thereafter. These are primarily organisational meetings of the central convenors, but you're more than welcome to show up and say hello/join in! The link is tiny.cc/shrewsbury-sangha.
You can also join our Slack workspace, where the planning for our actions takes place. Sign up here.
Start a Triratna Earth Sangha at your own centre. If people in your sangha are talking about the climate and ecological crisis, get them together and start acting. If they aren't, start the conversation yourself! If you'd like to meet up online with other people of like mind, you could consider coming to one of our local convenors meetings, which also take place online using the above link. The next scheduled dates are: Sunday 14 August, Sunday 23 October. Sunday 18 December. Until now we've held two meetings on each of those dates, one at 10 am UK time and the other at 7.30 pm. The idea is to allow people from different time zones to participate. Please watch this space for confirmation of the morning meetings, but the evening meetings will take place.
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