Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Dalai Lama Urges Global Climate Action in New Book

Dalai Lama Urges Global Climate Action in New Book
The Dalai Lama has co-written a new book addressing the climate crisis. Kristian Dowling / Getty Images

The Dalia Lama really wants the world to act on the climate crisis.

The Tibetan Bhuddist spiritual leader has co-written a book called Our Only Home: A Climate Appeal to the World, which urges world leaders and ordinary people to work together to stop global warming.

"Buddha would be green," he claims in the book, The Guardian reported.

To promote the book, the 85-year-old leader has been giving interviews from his home in Dharamsala, India, where he lives in exile from his native Tibet. In a talk with NPR's Noel King, he spoke about the title of the book. He pointed to the recent discovery that there is more water on the moon than previously thought, but noted that settling there would still be "impossible."

"So now, therefore, we have to take care of our own planet," he said.

The Dalai Lama emphasizes the need for global action. He told The Guardian and Channel 4 News that the UN should take a leadership role and that the most powerful nations should step up to the plate.

"The big nations should pay more attention to ecology. I hope you see those big nations who spent a lot of money for weapons or war turn their resources to the preservation of the climate," The Guardian reported him saying.

The Dalai Lama has taken a firm stance against isolationism and told NPR he was very disappointed when President Donald Trump decided to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris climate agreement.

"America should think, not just 'America First,'" he said. He added that the U.S. had greater potential to help create a "happier world."

President-elect Joe Biden has promised to return the U.S. to the climate accord and also encourage more ambitious international action, in a vision that appears more in sync with the Dalai Lama's advice.

In the book, the Dalai Lama also suggested that world leaders be locked in a room full of carbon dioxide until they understand the severity of climate change, Channel 4 News reported.

But while the Dalai Lama urges global solutions, he is also aware of how the climate crisis will impact his native land. He told The Guardian and Channel 4 News that Tibet is the "roof of the world" and its rivers supply water to at least a billion people. But, as temperatures rise, those rivers could dry up and Tibet could "become like Afghanistan."

The Dalai Lama has advice for what individuals can do as well. For example, he told NPR that people in Western countries eat too much meat.

"Not only is it a question of, a sense of lov[ing] these animals," he told NPR, "but itself is very bad for ecology."

He also urged the importance of educating people to hold a less individualistic attitude toward the planet.

He told Channel 4 that students should be taught how "taking care about [the] environment is ultimately taking care of yourself."

Rise and Resist activist group marched together to demand climate and racial justice. Steve Sanchez / Pacific Press / LightRocket / Getty Images

By Alexandria Villaseñor

This story is part of Covering Climate Now, a global journalism collaboration strengthening coverage of the climate story.

My journey to becoming an activist began in late 2018. During a trip to California to visit family, the Camp Fire broke out. At the time, it was the most devastating and destructive wildfire in California history. Thousands of acres and structures burned, and many lives were lost. Since then, California's wildfires have accelerated: This past year, we saw the first-ever "gigafire," and by the end of 2020, more than four million acres had burned.

Read More Show Less
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
U.S. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland announced a pair of climate-related secretarial orders on Friday, April 16. U.S. Department of the Interior

By Jessica Corbett

As the Biden administration reviews the U.S. government's federal fossil fuels program and faces pressure to block any new dirty energy development, Interior Secretary Deb Haaland won praise from environmentalists on Friday for issuing a pair of climate-related secretarial orders.

Read More Show Less
David Attenborough narrates "The Year Earth Changed," premiering globally April 16 on Apple TV+. Apple

Next week marks the second Earth Day of the coronavirus pandemic. While a year of lockdowns and travel restrictions has limited our ability to explore the natural world and gather with others for its defense, it is still possible to experience the wonder and inspiration from the safety of your home.

Read More Show Less

By Michael Svoboda

For April's bookshelf we take a cue from Earth Day and step back to look at the bigger picture. It wasn't climate change that motivated people to attend the teach-ins and protests that marked that first observance in 1970; it was pollution, the destruction of wild lands and habitats, and the consequent deaths of species.

Read More Show Less
An Amazon.com Inc. worker walks past a row of vans outside a distribution facility on Feb. 2, 2021 in Hawthorne, California. PATRICK T. FALLON / AFP via Getty Images

Over the past year, Amazon has significantly expanded its warehouses in Southern California, employing residents in communities that have suffered from high unemployment rates, The Guardian reports. But a new report shows the negative environmental impacts of the boom, highlighting its impact on low-income communities of color across Southern California.

Read More Show Less