The People’s Climate March

In many ways, global warming is a perfect expression of karma and interconnection. The coal pulled from the mountains of western Virginia and burned in Ohio creates carbon pollution that warms Earth and melts the glaciers of Tibet, flooding villages in Nepal and draining into the Indian Ocean, which raises sea levels, which flood the US Naval base in Norfolk, Virginia. This is the most truly global of our human challenges; it knows no boundaries.

But just as the causes of climate change travel through the interconnected web of life, so do its solutions. This September, UN Secretary General has called the heads of state from every country on Earth to New York this September to discuss how to make sure that negotiations toward a new climate treaty (due to be finished in Paris in December 2015) succeed. You’d be forgiven if the phrase “climate treaty” led to dismissive thoughts of Copenhagen from 5 years ago. But a lot has changed since then, including significant action at home in key countries, including in China, Brazil, Mexico and recently the United States. This domestic progress lead many to think that Paris could be different. And let’s face it, we can’t solve this problem without coming together across cultures and countries.

Without formal invitations, tens of thousands of teachers, nurses, ministers, electricians and dog walkers will travel to New York to join a party that looks to be the largest public march for climate action — the People’s March. They’ll come by train and bus and bicycle to show the leaders of the world that the people of the world are watching and looking for leadership. And in the process, they’ll connect with each other and be reminded that they are not alone in working for a better future.

One Earth Sangha will be there, bringing not only “numbers” to this demonstration of care but our presence, our voice and, when needed, a powerful silence. You are invited to join us, either in-person or via global online events, about which you’ll be hearing much more. In the article below from Dharma teacher Santussika Bhikkhuni, she firmly seats our participation in this global event in the context of individual and communal practice.

ProtestBuddha

There is a point at which our dharma practice takes center stage in our lives. From then on, it informs and influences everything else we do, how we care for our children and our aging parents, do our jobs, interact with everyone we meet, even how we eat, sleep and breathe.

This “everything” certainly includes how we engage in the important moral and social issues of our times. At this moment in human history, the structures that have developed and the use of fossil fuels and technology have brought us, in the industrialized nations, to a point where we are all engaged in the overuse, contamination and pillage of the earth, to the point of endangering all life on this planet. Nothing could be farther from the intention and practice of dharma.

The practice requires that we take a hard look at what is happening, mindfully experience the feelings that arise, and seek out appropriate action to extract ourselves from these destructive practices and set the correct course towards wholesome, sustainable, and compassionate living. Because of the complexity of our society, how interconnected we all are, not just spiritually but also economically and politically, we cannot do this work of course correction individually. None of us is in a position to stop, by our own volition, no matter how hard we try, the destruction we are engaged in. The systems themselves must be changed. So we need to come together, en masse, to create the change that is needed.

As we, the people of planet earth come together, dharma practitioners have a special gift to offer into the process. We have the opportunity to bring the practice into this massive and extremely important context. We come with a quiet dignity, a depth of calm, and all the mindfulness and compassion we can muster. We certainly won’t be the only ones. Serious practitioners of all faiths will be there to support this process towards a powerful, positive conclusion.

yochei-morning-dewThis event, the People’s Climate March, is intended to be for everyone. As the description of the event says, “This will be a family-friendly event. The tone and tenor will be dignified, fun, impactful and empowering, and we are committed to making sure that it is permitted, peaceful and safe for all who come.” There is nothing intended here that goes against our principles as practitioners. In fact, what would go against those principles would be to sit idly by as the world burns in the flames of our destructive practices.

So now we have this opportunity to act, to make a real difference, to lend our moral voice to this great movement. This is a movement that is for the benefit of all beings, like nothing that has ever happened on this planet before. We all, every living being on Earth, are in this together. We all face the same danger. As we act by participating in this event, we are taking up the care and protection of all future generations of all species on Earth. This is dharma in action.

I hope to walk with you as we go together to bend the course of history.

Sincerely,
Santussika Bhikkhuni


Are You In?

You can join One Earth Sangha in this global event in two ways:

  • Come Together in New York City
    If you can work it out, we’d love to meet you at the event in Manhattan. There are buses coming from all over the US and even a train, the People’s Climate Train, bringing Sangha members from San Francisco through major northern US cities arriving in New York. We’ll be gathering as a Buddhist community at the New York Insight Center on Saturday morning to meet, practice together and prepare for Sunday’s march. Get more details on the in-person event here.
  • Come Together Locally
    Avaaz is organizing a Global People’s Climate March with events on September 21 all around the world. Whether you are 2, 20 or 2,000, we invite you to gather with sangha members and others in your community to share practices, images, quotes, and your earth-loving, earth-action Dharma! Sign up for the Global People’s Climate March on Avaaz and let us know if you’re interested in organizing Sangha members in your region.

Finally, we would love to hear from you! Comment below or send us an email and share your ideas and comments.

4 Comments on “The People’s Climate March

  1. I feel very happy to see that members of the One Earth Sangha see the relevance of the Peoples’ Climate March. I live in NYC and will surely be at the March. I find many opportunities to show up for the earth at the local level as part of a group called the NYC Grassroots Alliance which is doing many things to both raise awareness of local and national issues and to address those that we can address. When a group from the village of Minisink NY went to the US Court of Appeals to appeal the ruling of FERC (Federal Energy Resource Commission) which had permitted construction of a compressor station very close to the homes of families in the town and the people were getting sick, a bus load of people from NYC and other parts of NYS went to Washington to quietly fill the courtroom as the 3 judges listened to the lawyers explain their positions. When the FERC lawyer explained that they had permitted this site because it was a small place where they didn’t think there would be any objection, we all spontaneously gasped but that was the only sound we made during the hearing. We don’t yet know what the results will be of this hearing but, we felt it was important to show up for this so that the judges would know that people are watching and so that those who had brought the case would feel supported. (For more info on this case, see: http://www.minisinkmatters.org).

    I am happy that the One Earth Sangha will come to NYC on September 21 for the Peoples’ Climate March and do other things around the world to quietly acknowledge the importance of the countless situations like Minisink that, together, are creating the harm we are seeing to our planet.

  2. Dear friends, dear Sangha,
    I am sorry I cannot come to New York because I live in Germany.
    But I am with you all in my heart and in my mind.
    We activists of Europe are always with you all and we send much good energy to support you.
    May the Buddha support you and help to become successful for this miraculous action.
    In Internet I will follow The People’s Climate March in New York.

    Best regards and much love and care to you all
    from Amelie Kauth (Germany)

  3. Many know that this is an important issue but are not informed of the depth of destruction that this will bring. Tornadoes may not kill us. but the speeded up disappearance of species, food supplies dropping, forests disappearing , the increasing appearance of methane gas pools in the Artic and much more ,when these things are brought together and explained in mass, as you are attempting to do, I will pray for
    an awakening touching the hearts and minds of all, speaking to them, with profound and deep sincerity to commit themselves and give their lives, to the restoration of the planet and to the restoration of there selves merridygalloway@yahoo,com

  4. I am writing to provide some information about recent developments in planning for the Peoples’ Climate March. As many of you may have seen, there is a growing number of groups that are signing up as supporters of the march. They can be viewed on the website: http://www.peoplesclimate.org/march There have been some large planning meetings taking place in NYC to encourage developments of collaborations among groups that share common interests.

    As of now, it is my understanding that the message emerging from a large group representing the growing number of groups is:

    “Climate Change is a concern central to all other issues. The impact of Climate Change will destroy all creation as we know it — causing droughts, influencing food supplies and creating refugees of island nations. And of course, the poorest and most vulnerable of us, who contribute least to these changes, are the most dangerously effected by them.”

    Out of the large planning meeting, smaller meetings of groups that share common interests have been encouraged. One that may be relevant to One Earth Sangha is a group of faith groups. An upcoming event will be a Faith Leaders’ Breakfast on July 23 at 9:30AM in NYC at the Society for Ethical Culture at 2 West 64th St. All faith leaders are invited.

    It is my understanding that, thus far, a common message that is emerging from this faith group of groups is:

    “”Climate Change is about our faith, our theology, our moral identity. Let us come together as faith leaders to see how to tackle this world wide problem.”

    There will be a Faith Breakfast Planning Meeting on July 23 at 9:30AM at Ethical Culture at 2 West 64th St. near Central Park West in Manhattan. All Faith Leaders are invited. I’m sending this to you now in case you would like to “save the date” or arrange to send representatives from your sanghas to this meeting. It is my understanding that a group of sanghas in the NYC area are planning to participate in the march together. I don’t yet know if any plan to attend the July 23 Faith Leaders’ Breakfast.

    Faith events are being planned on several dates that are close to the 9/21 march itself and some may also be happening after the march.

    respectfully and with gratitude for the work you are doing,

    Susan Spieler

    PS: Please see below from someone from Riverside Church’s group called Beloved Earth who attended a breakout group at the very large planning meeting that took place on July 1.

    “There will be a large conference going on for 200 invitation-only international faith leaders, starting on the 19th, organized by Fletcher Harper and Union Seminary. It appears that workshops will be happening at Riverside, Union, and the Interfaith Center on Sat the 20th.

    The end of the weekend on Sunday, after the march, a big interfaith service/convocation will happen around 6pm at St John the Divine, and Riverside may be a co-sponsor of that event.”

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