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Steph Delaney writes from London: “Central London, Sunday 29 November 2015. On the eve of the 2015 International Climate Conference in Paris, 50,000 people, including members of the Triratna Buddhist Community, marched across London, demanding that global leaders take urgent action to tackle climate change. This was the largest of about 2,500 demonstrations taking place around the world ahead of the critical UN summit.
People from Triratna’s London, Cambridge, Oxford, Surrey, Kent and Birmingham sanghas met in Hyde Park, and joined a group meditation organised by DANCE (Dharma Action Network for Climate Engagement) and Wake Up London, to mark the start of the march. From there, armed with banners, waterproofs and lots of enthusiasm, the group joined the march.
This gathering of Triratna Buddhists was co-ordinated by a group called Transforming Self and World, based at the London Buddhist Centre. The group was established earlier this year by Mitras and Order members dedicated to making social action a greater part of their Buddhist practice. As well as holding monthly discussion meetings at the LBC and actively campaigning on a number of issues, the Transforming Self and World group also organised a Triratna presence to attend the Solidarity with Refugees Rally in London in September.
The mood on the Climate March was positive. For the first time in many years of this annual event, there was a palpable sense of empowerment, of momentum and hope; a sense that this demonstration was making a difference, creating something greater than the sum of its parts and that international leaders were taking heed.
The 2015 Paris Climate Conference, will, for the first time in over 20 years of UN negotiations, aim to achieve a legally binding and universal agreement on climate, with the aim of keeping global warming below 2°C.
For the sangha gathered that day, some were old friends, old faces meeting again. Others were new to Triratna. Many people were new to one another. All agreed that coming together under the banner of Triratna allowed the group, in a very simple yet tangible way, make manifest what we aspire to realise; to be the positive change we want to see in the world.
Transforming Self and World will continue to provide a focal point for Triratna Buddhists to come together at future rallies and demonstrations calling for justice and equality for all.