Buddhist Compassion Relief Tzu Chi Foundation

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Jun 15th
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Let's Protect the Earth Together - Resource conservation benefits the world; recycling enriches society.

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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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Resource conservation benefits the world;
recycling enriches society.

The earth provides us with everything we need to survive, so shouldn't we be grateful and try to protect our world? When we can stop wasting resources and engage in recycling, we will benefit and enrich society. When each and every one of us can live an environmentally friendly life, our planet will gradually regain its health. That is why so many Tzu Chi volunteers are committed to recycling.

Tzu Chi volunteers are concerned not only about garbage on land, but even garbage in the oceans. Volunteers in Yilan, northeastern Taiwan, for example, are asking fishermen to bring back the garbage they create while at sea instead of dumping it into the ocean.

Every time fishermen go out to sea, they take with them canned food and beverages. After they consume their food, they just dump the empty cans and bottles into the ocean. What is even worse is that they toss used batteries directly into the water. Batteries contain heavy metals such as lead. Just one tiny battery can create an immense amount of pollution. When toxic waste is ingested by fish, which in turn is consumed by human beings, many illnesses can follow.

Tzu Chi volunteers therefore offered to collect the fishermen's garbage when they returned from their fishing voyages. In just six months, volunteers in Yilan have collected over 200 kilograms [440 pounds] of batteries alone!

Our Tzu Chi volunteers in the United States are engaging in environmental protection as well. Every weekend, volunteer Li Zhu (李祝) goes to the Tzu Chi Free Clinic in Los Angeles to promote environmental awareness among the low-income families, illegal immigrants, and the homeless who go to the clinic for medical treatment. Li, who is quite petite, always carries a big yardstick on which she has hung eight different kinds of recyclable objects to use as visual aids. As she talks about the importance of recycling, volunteers translate what she says into English and Spanish so that patients of different nationalities can understand what she is saying. Everyone listens to her attentively.

After she gave her first talk, some patients were so inspired that they brought stacks of neatly folded newspaper to the clinic the following week. Li was very touched. She pledged to continue her efforts to raise the awareness of the patients, believing that even if only one person is inspired to take action, this person can in turn inspire others as well. Indeed, now many patients regularly bring in old newspapers and recyclables, turning the free clinic into a little recycling station.

Because Tzu Chi volunteers love both the planet and their fellow human beings, they can always come up with ways to inspire others to care for the earth and other people.