Altruism and the environment

- through Francois Leclercq

Published on

It has often been said that politicians think about the next election, while statesmen think about the next generation. It is time for politicians to behave like responsible statesmen. Otherwise, they will be cursed by future generations who will say: “You knew, and yet you did nothing”.

The issue of the environment is complex scientifically, economically and politically. But ultimately, it is an opposition between altruism and selfishness. If we don't care about the fate of future generations and the millions of other species who are our fellow citizens in this world, we have little reason to care about the environment. It cannot be so. We do not have the right to jeopardize the fate of billions of human beings who will be born after us nor to cause the sixth major extinction of living species on the planet since life appeared on Earth.

It's easy to say that this problem is serious, but it's still not too late to do something about it. Surely when we already have one foot over the precipice it is not too late, but it could be very soon.

We can agree that human beings are, for the most part, people of good will and yearning to build a better world. This can be accomplished through altruism.

If we have more consideration for each other, we will establish a caring economy, we can promote harmony in society and thus remedy inequalities. We will do whatever it takes to stay within the limits of the planet, within which humanity and the rest of the biosphere could continue to thrive if we don't mess the system up. We are fundamentally interdependent and are therefore all in the same boat. It is therefore important to raise the level of our cooperation and our solidarity.

The inexorable melting of the Himalayan glaciers

The glaciers of the Himalayas, Tibet, Nepal, Bhutan and India constitute the third of the poles of our sick planet. The problem is that this pole is melting three to four times faster than the North and South poles. There are 40 glaciers of various sizes on the Tibetan plateau. All melt quickly. To the general warming that affects the whole planet is added the phenomenon of pollution which, settling on the snow, darkens the color of the glaciers, so that they absorb more light, which accelerates the process of melting. .

“We are fundamentally interdependent and are therefore all in the same boat. »

A total of 400 glacial lakes in Nepal and Bhutan now threaten to breach their natural levees and flood populated valley areas below. Once these floods have passed, and after the surface of the glaciers has shrunk further, drought will occur, since the torrents and rivers will cease to be fed by melted snow. It will be understood that we are therefore highly concerned by environmental issues and climate change.

About 47% of the world's population, in China, India and other countries, depend for their agriculture on their water supply, vital for the survival of the river basin (Indus, Brahmaputra, Yangtze, Yellow River, Salouen, Mekong ) bounded by the Tibetan plateau. The consequences of the drying up of these great rivers will be disastrous.

Respect and preserve resources for the good of all

In northern India, Nepal and Tibet, at our humble level, Karuna-Shechen carries out projects that meet the vital needs of the most fragile individuals and villages, while acting on the long term. Our approach to rural development focuses on education and the active participation of villagers, but also on the preservation and sustainable management of local natural resources.

We bring solar electricity to remote villages in Nepal, where we also promote agroecology and the production of organic food, which is more sustainable for the local environment. We also implement rainwater harvesting programs, to avoid depleting groundwater by digging deep wells that eventually cause wells and natural springs to dry up.

In the Indian provinces of Bihar and Jharkhand, in India, our beneficiaries plant more than 20 vegetable gardens each year to meet their needs and thus to compensate for the rise in monocultures, which impoverish the quality of the soil and considerably reduce biodiversity. We are also training women there in the electric taxi-rickshaw profession in order to encourage their economic empowerment, while promoting an ecological mode of transport. Finally, we distributed tens of thousands of hessian bags to fight against the pollution of plastic bags, a real scourge in India.

All this is just a drop in the ocean, but if we make every effort in the right direction, we will indeed be able to build a better world.

photo of author

Francois Leclercq

François Leclercq is the founder of Buddhist News, a website which aims to disseminate information and practical advice on Buddhism and spirituality. François Leclercq was born and raised in Paris. He studied Buddhism at the University of Paris-Sorbonne, where he graduated in social sciences and psychology. After graduating, he devoted himself to his passion for Buddhism and traveled the world to study and learn about different practices. He notably visited Tibet, Nepal, Thailand, Japan and China.

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