June is Buddhist Action Month: BAM!
BAM is a contemporary Buddhist festival initiated by the Network of Buddhist Organisations (NBO) in 2012 to inspire and support social change and care for the environment. BAM encourages Buddhists of all traditions to take their practice more explicitly into the world as a united force for good, exemplifying compassion, ethics, emotional positivity, creativity and wisdom, for the benefit of all beings. Being limited to June, BAM is an opportunity to adjust a habit or to initiate an ethical ideal that remains an idea. It’s also the season to be out in the world, connecting with the natural environment and with other beings.
The theme for Buddhist Action Month 2019 is Climate Action – Personal Action.
In the last 50 years the average global temperature has risen at the fastest rate in recorded history.1
This rising temperature has fuelled the extreme weather patterns and events that we are becoming more familiar with. Climate change has created droughts that lead to forest fires, and floods that wipe out homes and habitats and lives.
As the temperature in the oceans increases tropical storms gather more energy and create more destruction.2
“Climate change is devastating people’s lives all over the world. With drought, storms, floods, crop damage and sea-level rise, millions are fleeing their homes. And it’s the world’s poorest who are hardest hit.
The UN Refugee Agency says climate change adds to many of today’s conflicts — from Darfur to Somalia to Iraq and Syria.”3
According to a recent study burning fossil fuels is now the “most significant threat to children’s health”4
The first teaching of the Buddha was the Four Noble Truths. How can we form a Noble response to climate change?
Supported by the teachings of the Buddha and our teachers through the ages we begin to inhabit the good qualities the Buddha described: generosity, ethics, wisdom, compassion and so on.
Supported by experts in climate change and environmental work, we can bring these qualities to actions that make a difference.
We can educate others, change our individual habits and take collective action.
1 https://climate.nasa.gov/evidence/ 21/02/2019
2 https://www.nrdc.org/stories/global-warming-101 21/02/2019
3 https://friendsoftheearth.uk/climate-change 21/02/2019
4 Perera F, Pollution from Fossil-Fuel Combustion is the Leading Environmental Threat to Global Pediatric Health and Equity: Solutions Exist, Int J Environ Res Public Health https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29295510