How Are YOU Changing the World Now?

by Shen Shi'an, The Buddhist Channel, Feb 4, 2005

Singapore -- This shocking piece of news appeared in the papers recently... About 160,000 people worldwide die every year as a direct result of sudden extreme changes in climate (leading to floods, droughts, heat and cold waves). The European heat wave of 2003 alone had left 19,000 dead. Unless air pollution, the root cause of climate change is reduced, we are on a catastrophic collision course with nature.

Dominated by worldwide temperature increase, climate changes are widely believed to be result of carbon emissions. A resurgence of diseases like dengue and malaria is also attributed to rising temperatures, which could also melt the Antarctic ice caps, raising sea levels beyond 5m, threatening coastal regions. What can we do? For a start, use smaller, more fuel-efficient vehicles, since they account for 1/5 of global carbon emissions. We can also make environmentally informed purchases, like opting for energy-efficient goods and use less electricity.

The above are live examples of how we are all interconnected, interdependent. It is living testimony to the reality of the Buddha's teaching of dependent origination. Interbeing! As Venerable Cheng Yen taught, "When kindness prevails, there will be perfect climate, peace and prosperity." Whatever anyone does anywhere anytime affects everyone and everything. Saving the planet is largely a concerted effort of reversing our collective downward-spiralling ecological karma.

A good socially-engaged Buddhist is always a green one. If you are not part of the solution, you are most probably part of the problem. For instance, must you really drive? I do sincerely hope your answer is "no". Every excess joyride leads to the opposite of joy in the long run. Every excess craving for convenience will lead to future inconveniences. Public transport, be it cabs, buses or trains, are running anyway - why not use them instead? Give up your car entirely if possible!

It's amazing how we are actually killing each other via lack of concern for the environment and those who dwell in it. Environmentalism is not an abstract thing anymore. Your disegard of global cause and effect, along with others', can indeed kill thousands via various means, as listed above. Are you an accomplice? Who says you can't change the world? You are changing the world now with the things you choose to do or not do. How are you changing the world now?

Some of the many things I'm going to do - support recycling more, create less trash, turn off the extra air-con and lights, save water... (more tips at I'm going to forward this message to my friends too. Will you too, as a fellow citizen of this one world we share, please help the world, by doing the same... or more?