Dharma Teacher Gathering, USA 2015

Faith for the Climate Network: Speaking out on Climate Change

On Thu, 11 July, 2019 - 12:03
Vishvapani's picture
Vishvapani

On 26th June I represented Buddhists at a gathering of the interfaith group, Faith For The Climate Network, which preceded a Mass Lobby of the UK parliament.

Over the last couple of years I have spoken a few times about climate change in my regular Thought for the Day slot on BBC Radio 4. As a result, the co-ordinator of the Faith for the Climate Network invited me to join other faith ‘leaders’ at a big gathering they were organising in Westminster. Even though I don’t lead anything and no-one can speak for Buddhists collectively, I was happy to accept as this is something I feel strongly about.

I joined former-Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams (a very impressive person) and representatives of other faith groups at St Martins-in-the-Fields Church in Central London. Then we led a Walk of Witness down Whitehall to Church House where almost a thousand people were gathered, including quite a few Triratna people. There were talks from Rowan Williams, an imam, a rabbi and a Quaker teenager, who brought a youthful perspective. 

I based my talk around the Buddha’s words in the Metta Sutta: 

Even as a mother protects with her life
Her child, her only child,
So with a boundless heart
Should one cherish all living beings.

I said that we can’t protect our children without protecting the planet and that we should do so with the commitment of a mother protecting her only child. The climate crisis asks us to look beyond our narrow interests and affinities to take in the needs of the whole planet, and all living beings. Then I led a short period of meditation before adding my voice to those calling for swift and effective action from political leaders. 

The full text of my talk is here. 

Following the event, like 16,000 others, I met with my MP to discuss climate change issues - one of the biggest mass lobbies in recent history.

Read The Three Jewels meet the Climate Emergency (including an extended discussion around some of the issues raised here).