A Western Buddhist's Travels

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Archive for the tag “Environmental movement”

Daily Prompt: Impossibility

“Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.” – the White Queen, Alice in Wonderland.

What are the six impossible things you believe in? (If you can only manage one or two, that’s also okay.)

1. Religious tolerance and acceptance of each others beliefs becomes universal. “All major religious traditions carry basically the same message, that is love,  compassion and forgiveness the important thing is they should be part of our  daily lives.” The Dalai Lama. He also talked about it in this article titled: Many Faiths, One Truth

2. Our first contact with a non-terrestrial intelligent life form. This has been a common science fiction theme for generations, and now science has caught up to fiction. The closest earth like planet might only be 13 light years from earth. Granted it would take longer than 13 years for us to travel there, but a generation ship could easily be on it’s way by 2050. If humans are to have a better chance of surviving as a species, we need to spread to other planets, and other solar systems. For more check out Earth-like planets are right next door.

3. Universal peace, I have listed third on my impossible dream list. Because the first two, could happen sooner than this one. If both happen then the possibility of humanity uniting as one species increases. Imagine a world where national borders are historical markers, and places such as the Brandenburg Gate are found all over the world, as reminders of a time where we concentrated on the minor differences, rather than the immense commonality we all share. Where Universal Peace Day celebrates peace not the first use of an atomic weapon of mass destruction. “My  attitude to peace is rather based on the Burmese definition of peace – it really  means removing all the negative factors that destroy peace in this world. So  peace does not mean just putting an end to violence or to war, but to all other  factors that threaten peace, such as discrimination, such as inequality,  poverty.” “Human  beings want to be free and however long they may agree to stay locked up, to  stay oppressed, there will come a time when they say ‘That’s it.’ Suddenly they  find themselves doing something that they never would have thought they would be  doing, simply because of the human instinct that makes them turn their face  towards freedom.” Both quotes by Aung San Su Kyi. As Dr. Martin Luther King stated; “Peace is not merely a distant goal that we seek, but a means by which we arrive at that goal.”

4. That we leave our children a planet that is healthier and more environmentally sound than we received from our parents. Global warming, air, water and soil contaminated by chemicals that cause diseases, genetic damage, and other similar atrocities must be stopped. This requires that we stop studying, planning and talking about making changes, and start implementing the best practices we have, with the goal of constant improvement in our processes. To turn off all the fossil fuels in the world at once, would kill billions of people, and possibly bring us to the brink of another dark ages or stone age. The technology to build a vehicle that gets hundreds of kilometers per litre of fuel exists today. The Shell Eco-Marathon held in Houston April 5th – 7th 2013 will showcase vehicles designed by university students from around the world, to see how the team from the University of Alberta made the news read this article. Granted most of us want something a bit more aesthetically pleasing and with all the safety features, but we as consumers need to start voting with our wallets when making purchases.

5. A world where we have time to enjoy each others companionship, and be involved in our children’s lives. Talk to many people who are estranged from their parents, and you will notice a common complaint; “They weren’t there for me as a child”, or “They were too busy for me”. Children not only need us there to help them grow into adults, they want us there. Watch a child who’s parents are at their school play, or whose parents are in the stands watching him play hockey at 5am, or the smile of a daughter who knows how much her dad hates shopping, but he’s at the mall with her.

6. That the right to use the internet and other forms of communication becomes an enshrined human right. Just as libraries and universities helped propel us to the technologies we enjoy today, so will the internet spur the catching up of all societies to an age of equity and equality for all. Authors can self publish, musicians have the option to  bypass the media companies, inventors have the ability to raise funds. Look at the peaceful and some not so peaceful revolutions around the world, where people are standing up to repressive regime’s, and forcing change to bring benefits to all. That searches are presented in an unbiased and non-commercial way, so the mom and pop pizza shop around the corner from your house isn’t listed 5 pages deep in the results because of paid advertisement or sponsorships. Yes search engines need to pay the bills, but ads can be handled other than as sponsored results, which is just another way of saying advertising.


More Daily Prompt: Impossibility


Daily Prompt: Ripped from the Headlines!

Head to your favorite online news source. Pick an article with a headline that grabs you. Now, write a short story based on the article.

Here is a link to the article: http://o.canada.com/2013/01/11/canada-at-150-suzuki-sees-a-nation-facing-an-apocalyptic-period/

Life seems to take many swings in different directions as we travel through it. To me it’s like a clock pendulum swinging from side to side, only briefly in the middle, as it inexorably swings to the left or right. As a Buddhist I try to walk the middle path, through life, and being an environmentalist I try to leave as light a foot print as I can as I walk along the earth. There are some who denounce the environmental movement by claiming that we would all have to live like cavemen, while others who attack every corporation as pillagers of the planet. Anyone who has experienced a Canadian winter with temperatures of -30 or lower knows we need to use energy to live through these periods. That said, we can design buildings to be energy efficient, and our communities to be net zero, where the community produces the same amount of energy as it consumes. Edmonton Alberta is redeveloping its old downtown airport, and after an international competition which attracted firms from around the world, chose this concept, with the city retaining the developers role, to make sure the standards are met. Take a look at the concept, as it shows what we can carry out with existing technology, and planning. Corporations are accountable to shareholders for profits, they are also accountable to the communities they are is to make sure that the environment does not suffer, from their activities.

What can we as people do, a lot more than most of us think we have the power to do. Speak up, during any debate about development, hearing about new business licenses, speak up demanding the government make sure the community does not suffer an environmental disaster, while the profits flow out of the community.  Some of the North American First Nations, had a seven generation outlook when making a decision, in that will this be good for those who follow in seven generations? Look at your children, and think what type of world do you want to leave for them? In 961 Jane Jacobs wrote her first book, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, where she showed that everything needs to be balanced and connected for people to have healthy places to live and work in safety. It’s time we head the lessons of the past as David Suzuki, pointed out in his look at Canada’s upcoming 150th birthday, and decide where we want to be heading by that milestone, for Canada has the opportunity, and the obligation as a developed nation to be a leader in responsible economic development.

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” Margret Mead


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