What to say?

I’m on my way to another environmental event, the launch of the Australian Religious Response to Climate Change’s policy paper. It’s a great paper, strong, well argued, and convincing.

But it gets hard to find words sometimes. How to say what is so obvious? Consumption doesn’t make you happy – how can anyone not get that, really? How many times do we have to keep pointing at the bleeding obvious? Until it really does start to bleed, I guess.

Floods, cyclones, fires: the end does seem a little more nigh than is comfortable. Of course, we can’t pin any one event down to climate change, any more than we can blame cancer on any one cigarette. One thing is sure: the past months in Australia are just a taste of what’s to come.

How much do we need to do? More, that’s for certain. The Buddhist scriptures pin climate change down to one thing: insatiable human greed. We have to start wanting less.


17 thoughts on “What to say?

  1. An comprehensive paper of 13 pages that will be disliked by the two major political parties especially the current opposition, businesses in the coal extraction industry and other major CO2 polluters.

    Notice that recent pronouncements by government and opposition politicians on the Queensland and Victorian floods as well as the intensity and frequency of cyclones in Australia omit any mention of anthropogenic climate change because it is too difficult to an issue to face.

    You can read the full paper on the ARRCC website.

  2. Council banned burn offs since 2000 in the Perth hills, thus increasing the fuel load and make any subsequent fires more dangerous and destructive- hence what happened in the WA fires recently.


    A contributing factor to the Victorian fires may have been banned controlled burn offs as well.

    There are a lot of argument suggesting that this whole ‘climate change’ is a fraud – If you hear something often enough, one will start believe it.

    Many also argue that this whole climate change is a scam to frighten people and extort money out of them through increasing taxes and electricity prices & stifling economic development.
    If you want to get government of public funding or any media, you put ‘climate change’ and you get the attention.

    But sure- Buddha’s second noble truth: craving is the cause of suffering. But one can’t blindly blame the cyclones on craving! I’m skeptical and encourage serious investigation into anything we’re exposed to.
    As Buddhists, investigation into the truth takes priority over going along with the fad, be it climate change or whatever.

    But ending on a positive note, it’s best to keep on practicing the noble eightfold path to get out of samsara and never be reborn into any realm including one with fires and cyclones 😉

  3. Very convincing article on climate change being the worst scientific scandal of our generation. Very convincing arguments which would be irrational to ignore.


    Documents were found that the scientists were “trying to manipulate data through their tortuous computer programmes, always to point in only the one desired direction – to lower past temperatures and to “adjust” recent temperatures upwards, in order to convey the impression of an accelerated warming.”

  4. The cyclones belong to Utu-niyama, the law of temperatures, a natural occurrence in universe belong to kama-loka.This law usually have nothing to do with kamma-niyama, the law of volitional activities. However, floods are very much link with destruction of forests, mostly by human beings.
    In a consumerist age like us, telling people do not get more, be contented with what one has is ‘going against the stream’, and i afraid very few people want to hear!
    if the world is going to end, let it be. Let’s end our cravings for things change in a desirable way, the way one wishes it to be.

  5. Dania wrote: …. challenging blind acceptance of propaganda…

    lol I came here unsuspectingly to read Banthe’s excellent blog and here’s climate change denialism personified by Dania :-))))))))))

    and the truth about the Holocaust and 9/11 is….

    (sorry, could’t help myself, instant karma’s gonna me)

  6. Hi Bhante

    I don’t know if my comments are going to be too late for the event you have mentioned…or even if they will be of any help in what you need to do/say…but i offer them any way.

    I’ve read all these comments and some others on this topic. I am not a scientist. So all i can do is take on face value what those who are scientists say…whatever side of this debate they may be on…

    Nevertheless, here’s my two cents, for what it’s worth.

    For decades, environmentalists have been banging on closed doors in an effort to stop people felling forests, befouling the air, polluting the water and taking away the homes of indigeneous people and a massive variety of animals. Few seemed to care and to be ‘green’ was to be on the fringes.

    Climate change is not the only issue that has somehow managed to move the apathy and disinterest of a mass of people. A few decades ago, it was the ‘hole in the ozone layer’. Remember CFCs and hydroflurocarbons? People cared about the environment enmasse and it was amazing. More and more people started to care about the homes of small creatures, the existance, age and necessity of having trees in this world. (Where would the ‘forest’ monastary be without the forest?) Like, ‘the hole in the ozone layer’, climate change has got whole hoards of people listening to political parties like the Greens who were once very much on the fringes. The policies of this sort of group may well have the chance to change the very way in which our society defines morality, prosperity and community kindness. But first they have to get past old prejudices that still seem to be prevalent in more conservative quarters. I think this MAY shift.

    The current Australian leader of the opposition stated not too long ago that he ‘believed’ in climate change but not that it was caused by us. The current government’s line is that we are causing it, at least to some degree.

    I personally don’t know directly which side to ‘believe’. I do have a very close relative who is working at one of the frontlines of this ‘industry’ and he certainly believes that things need to change towards a more sustainable future. (And nevermind climate change…what are we going to do when the oil runs out?)

    I have two trains of thought to offer here:

    1. Those who want the most to keep things as they are, are those who are super wealthy (and generally at the expense of many) and don’t believe in kamma and rebirth. They’re okay right now. Who cares about all other beings on this planet. Their greed driven economic philosophies are what rule the world at present.

    2. I don’t know if rebirth is real. But I’m better off behaving like it is. Because the consequences of not behaving like it is (doing what ever i pleased with no sense of the effects on others or my mind) would be disastrous if it really turned out to be true. I believe this was the Buddha’s advise.

    You could view climate change in the same way. What if it’s true and we find out far far too late. We’ve doomed ourselves to be re-born into a place that will be far harder to practise in. We’ve doomed all other creatures on this planet to unnecessary suffering (have you ever seen a small creature coughing because the air is smoky? I have. And if there’s anything I could’ve done to prevent it, I would have). And if it’s true, aren’t there likely to be many small islands and coastal communities that are going to be devastated by the effects of warming currents and rising sea levels.

    I don’t want to find myself in a situation where I have followed the ‘Climate Change is a Hoax’ group and then find out when it’s too late, that i was wrong.

    With respect and metta towards all the views expressed here.

    • Beautifully written and expressed Kanchana. At its core, Buddhism is the practice of kindness and compassion towards all life so we humans as the ultimate predator and having domination over all animals and plants must step lightly on the planet whether we believe in climate change or not.

      Personally having read the literature on global warming I believe anthropogenic (human caused) climate change is here with us and the researchers who warn of it are not hoaxers.

  7. I don’t think you’re really going to get much objectivity from a neo-liberal think tank.

    I’d go with the “step lightly” view, global warming or no global warming.

  8. Here’s an article titled “World Security is
    Threatened by Hunger Caused by Gluttony” by a well known US medical doctor Dr John McDougall in which he says that the people’s revolutions in North Africa and the Middle East are caused by their inability to afford basic staple foods as their prices have risen beyond their meager incomes of around a dollar a day.

    His options for saving humanity are:
    1.Controlling population
    2.Increasing food productivity
    3.Switching from a meat-based diet to a grain-based one

    The solutions are all tied up with CO2 and CH4 (methane) emissions, global warming, climate change and
    though he did not say so in this article, the sanctity of the lives of all animals including those raised for food. Should concerned people follow his advice? I would especially if we want to be kind and compassionate.


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