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Additional resources for A Buddhist Response to the Climate Emergency
Now it is entering a critical phase, because humans have released vast amounts of carbon gas through the burning of fossil fuels, and through rampant deforestation. Urgent, decisive corrective action is essential. The risk of inaction is that we could now trigger a runaway global warming process, making most other species on Earth— and even ourselves— extinct. The scientific facts, alternative energy technologies, mass communication, and international bodies needed to avoid climate breakdown are in our hands.
Oil, coal, and gas are all that remains of algae, plants, and trees that lived by drawing carbon dioxide from the ancient atmosphere hundreds of millions of years ago. W hen we burn them we Global Warming Science: A Buddhist Approach ♦ 39 release fossil carbon that has been out of circulation for eons. ^ The carbon dioxide level in the atmosphere is now 387ppm, the highest for at least 650,000 years. The polar ice caps and high mountain glaciers have begun to melt. Extreme weather events (hurricanes and typhoons, floods, heat waves, and droughts) have quadrupled in frequency since the 1950s.
But both share a strong empirical basis: if science shows something to exist or to be non-existent, then we must acknowledge that as a fact. If a hypothesis is tested and found to be true, we must accept it. Likewise, Buddhism must accept the facts— whether found by science or found by contemplative insights. If, when we investigate something, we find there is reason and proof for it, we must acknowledge that as reality— even if it is in contradiction with a literal scriptural explanation that has held sway for many centuries or with a deeply held opinion or view.