A Western Buddhist's Travels

Sightseeing & detours on the path of enlightenment

We are borrowing from the lives of our children, can we pay our debts?

The other day I replied to a post on my blog, with the statement we see it backwards when we say we inherit the earth from our ancestors. The true way to look at it, is we are borrowing it from our children. In 2010 Living Planet did a report that shows we are consuming renewable resources 1.5 times faster than nature can replenish them. “Healthy ecosystems form the basis of all we have – lose them and we destroy our life support system,” Jonathan Baillie, ZSL‘s conservation programme director. Financially many countries are bankrupt, even if they have not declared this state.

Lets start with the environment, and how many planets it would take to support the earths population if everyone lived as you do right now. Up for the challenge? If every person on the planet today lived a typical Los Angeles USA life style, we would need 15 earth sized planets to sustain us, so we better get working on our space exploration. Wondering how you fare on walking lightly,here are a few websites to give you some idea of how heavy your foot prints are:

http://www.conservation.org/act/live_green/pages/ecofootprint.aspx

http://planetgreen.discovery.com/games-quizzes/ecological-footprint-calculator.html

I am not asking how you did, but think about your children, and imagine telling them their health, longevity and happiness are being sacrificed for your lifestyle. How are you going to explain it to them? By being mindful of our choices we can start to make wholesome decisions about how we live. Here are a few websites to generate some ideas for yourself.

http://sustainability.publicradio.org/index.html       From the USA and how individuals are making a difference. Maybe you ill the next person written about.

http://www.edmonton.ca/for_residents/garbage_recycling/edmonton-waste-management-centre.aspx    Edmonton Canada and a world leading approach for cities, waste management. So how are your civic leaders doing?

As a Buddhist I am to be mindful of all living beings, so by living in a manner that causes the least impact while allowing me enough to be happy is part of following the path. Also as a Buddhist I should not need to accumulate lots of debt, beyond perhaps a mortgage, as living simply will reduce the amount of items I accumulate. I need to vote for leaders who will not pass our debts on to our children.

If you have children, look at them, now imagine telling them they will live an average of 1.7 years less than our generation, and if the current trend continues our grandchildren almost 5 years less. Canada recently raised the minimum age to retire with a full government pension from 65 to 67 for those born after 1957. Countries in Europe have cut public pensions in half or even more in some cases. The peoples response to these cuts is to demand full restoration and even more. Where will this money come from, the people in Greece to name but one country are saying the rest of Europe should pay. Buddha taught that we should be diligent about earning a living, in a wholesome manner. Countries that have not reached the levels of debt that cripple the ability of governments to accomplish basic necessities need to change course now.

If we continue to consume resources and buy things on credit our children will inherit this mess. I for one do not wish to beggar the next generation.

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