Thich Nhat Hanh on climate change

On monday, in his inaugural speech, President Obama said that ignoring climate change amounts to betrayal of our children and future generations.

Also on monday, Justin Gillis, a New York Times writer, published the findings of geologists whose study of the location of fossil deposits adds some real numbers to the threat of rising oceans.  With a rise of “only a couple of degrees Fahrenheit, enough polar ice melts, over time, to raise the global sea level by about 25 to 30 feet.  But in the coming century, the Earth is expected to warm…perhaps 4 to 5 degrees, because of human emissions of greenhouse gasses.”

And again, on Monday, Thich Nhat Hanh, the Vietnamese Zen master who Martin Luther King nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize, was quoted in an article in The Guardian speaking of climate as the great crisis facing civilization over the next century.

“The 86-year-old Vietnamese monk, who has hundreds of thousands of followers around the world, believes the reason most people are not responding to the threat of global warming, despite overwhelming scientific evidence, is that they are unable to save themselves from their own personal suffering, never mind worry about the plight of Mother Earth.”

Thich Nhat Hanh

Thich Nhat Hanh

Hanh, who is known by the nickname, Thay, has been a proponent of “engaged Buddhism” since the 60’s, when he came to this country to speak out against the Vietnam war.  Now he refuses to sidestep the seriousness of our environmental crisis.  Noting that people with vested interest in the status quo are unlikely to change, he says we need the kind of grassroots movement Gandhi organized, but insists it will only work if “activists first deal with their own anger and fears, rather than projecting them onto those they see at fault.”

Thich Nhat Hanh has written more than 100 books, the most popular being The Miracle of Mindfulness.

His writing often seems deceptively simple, but it’s a hard won simplicity, forged in daily meditation over the seventy years since his ordination. His concepts are born of realization rather than doctrine “By recognising the inter-connectedness of all life, we can move beyond the idea that we are separate selves and expand our compassion and love in such a way that we take action to protect the Earth.”

What are the alternatives?  This is an important article and an important issue to face, since the potential cost of ignoring it continues to rise.

6 thoughts on “Thich Nhat Hanh on climate change

  1. Pingback: Pebble for your pocket Meditation – 6 min video- Thich Nhat Hanh « Zen Flash

  2. Pingback: Thich Nhat Hanh: Living Mindfully | The Dhamma Brothers: Vipassana Meditation « Real Rest is the Best

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s