From NYC–>DC: Buddhist Global Relief Stands up for Clean Energy!
On July 24th, Buddhist Global Relief joined over 10,000 others in Philadelphia to make their voices heard for Clean Energy legislation. Environmental and health activists found the timing, just before the democratic national convention, apt. Traveling with the Buddhist and Jewish Climate Action Networks was a great opportunity to meet other members of faith organizations.
JCAN members provided a teach-in on the perils of continuing fracking, mining and drilling non-renewable energy sources. Fracking uses a tremendous amount of water. Furthermore, the dangers of leaking pipes threatens to contaminate water in wells and aquifers. Once companies complete the extraction of natural gas at a drilling site, an underground cavern remains. These underground caverns leave an unstable ground, which can and often do cause earthquakes.
Clean Energy is the Solution to Non-Renewable Energy
The better solution, we learned, is to rely more on clean, renewable energy sources. We can get unlimited energy from solar and wind energy, neither of which pollute the atmosphere. Further, switching to a less meat-heavy diet is one thing we can all do to help the planet. It’s the one thing all of us have in our control. How does it work? Raising cattle in incredibly bad for the environment. Cows drink a great deal of water. Also, many countries clear cut their forests to make grazing land for cattle.
Trees are the lungs of the planet, they clean the air and turn carbon dioxide into oxygen. When trees are cut down, more carbon dioxide stays in the ozone, allowing for the trapping of these green house gasses. Industrial farming is not only incredibly violent to the planet, but to the animals as well. We see the karmic consequences of our cruelty towards these animals in the warming of our planet.
Taking Action with Compassion
Several representative of the faith contingent, including Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi, offered words of hope and inspiration before beginning the march. Bhikkhu Bodhi led a compassion meditation to the hundreds gathered in the center court of City Hall. His meditation led us around the world to witness the devastating effects global climate change. The meditation was so touching that many were literally moved to tears. So, in the 95 degree heat, we began our march from City Hall to historic Independence Mall.
En route, we met a man in a polar bear suit, a law professor at American University. Even with a heat index of over 100 degrees, professor Snape insisted he was fine. “I’m in much better shape than the polar bears of the Arctic,” adding that their habitat was melting at a rapid pace. His words reminded us all of the critical nature of our action. We must remember that all our actions have consequences, and we are the only ones responsible for the outcome. May all beings wake up to the necessity to care about our planet, our original mother, Mother Earth.