Buddhist Compassion Relief Tzu Chi Foundation

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Dec 15th
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Home Our Founder Master's Teachings Miscellaneous Let's Protect the Earth Together

Let's Protect the Earth Together

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Let's Protect the Earth Together
Resource conservation benefits the world; recycling enriches society.
Cleanse the land and the mind
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[Master's Teachings]The insatiable greed of humanity is seriously damaging our precious Mother Earth. Without thinking of our offspring's future, we gorge on the world's natural resources. The well-being of the world should be everyone's responsibility. So how can we make this happen? We can start by disciplining ourselves, by reining in our unnecessary desires, and by encouraging everyone to protect the earth as much as we can from further damage. We should not forgo even the smallest opportunity to do a good deed, because when all of those small acts accumulate, a sense of kindness will ripple outwards throughout the world.

Every day people are creating an alarming amount of plastic garbage, severely damaging the world we live in. Fortunately plastic can now be recycled. For the past seven years, Li Sheng-you (李盛友), who lives in Luzhou in northern Taiwan, has been picking up plastic rubbish on the streets. He fears that the rubbish, which people carelessly throw away, could choke up the drainage system and harm the environment. Li does the job so meticulously that he even recycles smaller shrink-wrap packaging. He doesn's mind the hard work at all.

When he first began collecting, recycling businesses were unwilling to buy the plastic materials he brought them. He visited one company after another until finally he found one willing to take what he had collected. This outcome made him very happy.

Li collects as much as four tons of recyclable plastic every month. He cleans the items, presses the air out, and folds them neatly into small parcels. Although his fingers ache and have even become misshapen, he still relishes the benefits his work has for the environment. Plastic can take up to a thousand years to decompose, so Li garners great satisfaction in cutting down on its production, thus limiting the long-term damage it can do to the earth.

I am so grateful to all of the recycling volunteers who work so hard. Their efforts to collect items, no matter how small or dirty they may be, make such a difference. As long as things can be recycled, these volunteers continue to collect them willingly and patiently. Recycling has become an integral part of their life. Such dedication is an inspiration to us all.

Mankind's careless conduct is resulting in devastating climate change. Only when people truly commit themselves to individual acts of environmental protection can this precious world of ours be saved.

Because of drastic global climate change, many places have already been severely affected by droughts, flooding, and hurricanes. This has led to poor crop growth and harvests, and farmers have been helpless to alter the global impact. All over the world grain prices are skyrocketing, as is the price of petroleum. As a result, the costs of even the most basic necessities are driven up.

Alongside steep population increases, food production levels are on the decline. It is inevitable that more and more people in impoverished regions will have less and less food. It breaks my heart to picture this dreadful situation. It is possible that food shortages might hinder Tzu Chi掇 international relief programs and make our work much harder and costlier to do.

Is climate change solely to blame for these drastic levels of environmental damage? No, I think not. Actually, if we look carefully we can see the blame is far closer to home. Reckless human conduct is causing this climate change in the first place, which in turn causes the earth to suffer so much. Because people want their lives to be ever more convenient and comfortable, they build unnecessary tunnels and roads through mountains, and erect countless constructions where trees once thrived. It is us--the human inhabitants--who are destroying the earth's fragile ecological system. Excessive consumerism, the easy way in which we discard old, but still usable, products, as well as the rampant use of disposable plastic utensils, have created terrifying amounts of garbage and pollution.

To help reduce the negative impact humans are having on the environment, Tzu Chi volunteers try to rein in their desires and lead a simpler life. They encourage others to do the same. Is it really possible for us to heal the world? Can we ever stop the poor from getting poorer? Yes--so long as we can tame our minds, subdue our desires, and adopt a more frugal approach to life. We should cherish and take care of what we already possess and not always be looking to buy more and more. We should spend more time walking and less time driving, so as to cut back on the high levels of carbon emissions. Climbing stairs instead of always taking elevators benefits both our environment and our health.

Scientific research shows that global warming is worsening. Its dreadful impact stems from reckless human behavior. For the earth to regain its health, people must begin to lead an environmentally sound life.

For 18 years, Tzu Chi has been engaged in environmental protection. Just examine our contribution to the recycling program alone. Last year we recycled enough paper to save approximately two million 20-year-old trees from being cut down.

Trees are the earth's lungs. They breathe out fresh oxygen and inhale polluted air. They prevent soil erosion, which leads to mud- and landslides. Without forests to regulate air and conserve water and soil, global temperatures increase and the earth gets sick. We have inflicted too many wounds on the beautiful forests and mountains. In squandering precious resources for future generations, we are creating immense negative karma. Ultimately, it is our own offspring we are victimizing.


 

" In handling matters, let your mind influence your heart. In dealing with people, let your heart influence your mind. "
Jing-Si Aphorism

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