The Dalai Lama and Greta Thunberg Unite Against the Climate Crisis
Last month two of the earth’s most ardent climate advocates, His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Greta Thunberg, joined their voices together to discuss what we can do collectively to correct the impact of destructive climate feedback loops. On 9th January His Holiness the Dalai Lama, climate activist Greta Thunberg and leading scientists gathered to address the question: “What can be done to slow down this threat before it’s too late?”
The following article is reprinted from the Mind and Life Institute website
The Dalai Lama and climate activist Greta Thunberg met—for the first time—alongside prominent climate scientists to deliver a shared message: We must act swiftly to address climate change, and particularly the threat of climate feedback loops, before it’s too late.
Their conversation centred on the dire implications of climate feedback loops as powerfully illustrated in a new educational films series: Climate Emergency: Feedback Loops. Narrated by Richard Gere, the five short films show the impact of climate feedback loops on Forests, Permafrost, Atmosphere, and Albedo.
His Holiness wrote to Greta in 2019. “I am also an ardent supporter of environmental protection,” he wrote, adding “It is encouraging to see how you have opened the eyes of the world to the urgency to protect our planet.” The letter is reprinted in the opening pages of his new book, Our Only Home: A Climate Appeal to the World.
Asked what inspired him to write the letter, His Holiness responded, “It’s really encouraging [to see] younger members of humanity showing genuine concern for our future, for our planet.” We have to move beyond thinking about my community, my nation, and divisions based on geography, race, religion, and language, he pointed out. “The time has come to think about humanity and the oneness of seven billion human beings.”
Greta spoke out passionately about the crisis of climate feedback loops during a presentation at the Human Climate Action Summit in 2019. What are climate feedback loops? As the planet warms due to greenhouse gas emissions, hotter temperatures then feed back into nature’s own systems to cause more heat-trapping gasses to be released. A potent example is the thawing of permafrost and the release of stored carbon that results, setting off a self-perpetuating cycle.
“Right now, there’s a huge lack of awareness and the science isn’t being discussed that much,” said Greta. “We cannot solve the climate emergency without taking these feedback loops into account. Understanding them is a crucial step.” Part of the challenge with feedback loops is that scientists are still working to measure and assess their full impact. As a result, the threat they pose is not fully accounted for in global carbon budgets set by policymakers.
Viewers of the 75-minute discussion were given a clear mandate. Said Greta, “If I could ask anything of you, it would be to educate yourself, to learn as much as you possibly can.” As important is taking action to reduce carbon emissions and supporting leaders who are active on this issue. “We need to create a social movement; we need to shift the social norm,” she added.
The Dalai Lama cautioned against taking the bounty of the earth and its resources for granted. “We need to think seriously about our lifestyle and today’s reality,” he said, pointing to the role of Greta and thousands of today’s young activists in speaking out for positive change. “Leaders like you are very, very important,” he said. “You can do much to lift up awareness.”
The Mind & Life Institute was honoured to host this free livestream event on January 9/10, 2021 and you can watch the recording of the discussion here
During the same week the Eco Savvy film club hosted a screening of the film “I am Greta”, the story of the teenage climate activist told through compelling, never-before-seen footage. It is an intimate documentary about the young girl who has become the voice of a generation. Starting with her one-person school strike for climate justice outside the Swedish Parliament, the film follows Greta – a shy student with Asperger’s – as she rises to prominence, and her galvanising global impact as she sparks school strikes around the world. This remarkable insight into Greta’s emotional world is available to watch here on the BBC iplayer
Eco savvy reported – “Last week’s Savvy Film Club film, “I Am Greta” has certainly grabbed people’s attention. We have had some amazing responses and it is looking like this might be one of the favourite films we have screened so far.”
Here are some of the reactions to the film from Eco Savvy film club viewers.