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Your Planet Needs You: UNite to Combat Global Warming

On Sunday, May 31, 2009, Venerable Chang Ji gave a talk entitled, "Your Planet Needs You: UNite to Combat Global Warming" at CMC. The talk was based on Venerable’s attendance of a recent conference at the UN with the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) and focused on the issue of climate change.

Issues related to climate change include economic crises, food and water shortages, natural disasters and rising sea temperatures.

The melting of polar ice and glaciers are causing sea levels to rise, drowning out many islands and coastal cities and affecting freshwater supplies. This is leading to mass migration as people are displaced from their homes, denser populations in smaller areas, and the battle for limited resources.

In a span of a short time, the earth has experienced natural calamities on a scale that was never experienced before. For example, in 2004, the Asian tsunami killed 225,000 people in 11 countries. In 2005, Hurricane Katrina killed over 2,000 people and in 2008, the Sichuan earthquake in China killed over 68,000 people. Disasters mean not only loss of human lives, but destruction of homes and livelihoods.

Tensions intensify as more and more environmental refugees move into regions that already have existing conflicts and people fight for diminishing resources. There is a growing dependency on developed nations for foreign aid. Resources are being reallocated to these countries instead of being used to help our own people.

In the struggle to survive, people resort to unsustainable methods to grow food and get access to resources, creating a vicious cycle which will eventually destroy the earth and life on this planet.

Through presentations of charts, short films and interactive sketches, Venerable tried to teach the audience to consume less, share more, and have gratitude. Venerable called for us to take action and preserve sustainability by changing our world view. Climate change is a result of our collective actions and is affecting everyone.

Experts from the CSD propose 3 principles for sustainable development:
Ecological capital – the earth will not grow bigger
People's capacities are limited. If they are exposed to too much social pressure, alienation or environmental pollution, it will be unhealthy for them
Economies must serve the needs of the people, and not the other way around.
We should try to put into action Shifu’s teachings of the Four Kinds of Environmentalism, and begin by taking small steps to make a collective change.

(By Lydia)

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