A fundamental concept in Buddhism is the idea of ‘interrelatedness’, ‘dependent origination’ or ‘interdependent co-arising’, the understanding that everything and everyone is interconnected, and that our perception of separateness is an illusion. The image of Indra’s Net depicts this interconnectedness beautifully, suggesting a web with a sparkling jewel at each intersection. When one strand of the net is pulled the whole net is activated and the jewels refract and reflect each other suggesting that the actions of everyone/thing affect the whole.
Acknowledging our interdependence with others promotes the virtues of compassion, giving, and generosity and the suggestion that when individuals can transform the ‘poisons’ of greed, anger and illusion into compassion, courage and wisdom our lives become contributive rather than reactive.
Towards the United Nations Annual Climate Change Conference, COP26, which was held in Glasgow in November 2021, CfAB worked in partnership with the Eco Dharma Network as part of the Network of Buddhist Organisations, Faith for the Climate and Religions for Peace UK. These partnerships extend beyond COP26 and towards the achievement of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which are based on the ‘Five Ps’ of peace, prosperity, people, planet and partnership. The Eco Dharma Network holds regular webinars. If you are interested, please visit their website here.
GreenFaith suggests that ‘.. the heart of sustainability is a shift in values that reveals a new worldview and a new understanding of progress. In the sustainability vision, the natural environment is protected and nurtured as the foundation of all economic activity, while human well-being and equality are central to economic design.’
We are facing a climate emergency and we all have a powerful responsibility to take personal and collective action to keep the world below 1.5 degrees of warming. There is an urgent imperative for us to transform ourselves and our society, and to work together to bring about a just and sustainable society where well-being is not sacrificed for profit. The decade between 2020-2030 is crucial for climate action, and we want to take this opportunity to advocate for behavioral change as individuals, communities and within wider civil society. At the Centre, we aim to live more simply, more sustainably, and in solidarity with those disadvantaged and most impacted by climate change in the UK and the Global South, therefore we pledge to:
- Promote responsibility for the environment within our organisation and networks
- Reduce the carbon footprint of our centres
- Conserve energy and use renewable energy
- Minimise waste by reduction, re-use and recycling
- Provide education, training and advice, and encourage our staff and communities to develop new ideas and initiatives
- Plant trees and re-wild and reforest land
- Not use pesticides, which are harmful to wildlife
- Promote and encourage involvement in local environmental initiatives
- Divest from fossil fuels and invest in green and nature-based solutions
We also advocate personal lifestyle changes by looking at our consumption and behaviours and adhering as much as possible to the following sustainability principles:
- Reuse, recycle, compost and cut down on single-use plastic
- Shop local, sustainable and vintage
- Eat less meat, poultry and fish
- Bike, walk, take public transport and reduce air travel
- Consume less energy and use renewable energy wherever possible
- Save water wherever possible
- Reconnect with life and the earth though re-wilding, planting, conservation
- Divest and change bank accounts
CfAB is collaborating in the following areas with other faith communities:
• Creating narratives from Buddhist perspectives
• Training in and providing training for religious leaders to be advocates
• Building a collaborative roadmap
This is part of a values-based exploration of Global Citizenship.
The following are some resources which you may find useful:
- Mapting App developed by young people of SGI
- Buddhist Toolkit for Climate Action
- BAM Handbook
- The Time is Now