From November 29th to December 11th, the 21st global climate change conference will take place in Paris.
This year is special though, because this year it is hoped that a new legally binding agreement on climate change will be reached.
This year, the aim is to lock down a real commitment to keeping global warming below 2°C.
But in the wake of the past week’s terrorist strikes, activists are hopeful that the current mood of global solidarity will strengthen political will to reach this universal agreement.
“I think, if anything, it stiffens the spine in terms of determination to really solve what is the greatest collective action problem in history,” ~ Andrew Steer, president of the US-based World Resources Institute.
And while the official outcome of discussions depends on our political representatives, we are all called to take our own action to support the summit. We each have a role to play in the welfare of our planet and we can do more than watch what unfolds from the outskirts.
We can play our part by making our voices heard. We can demand that real political action will be demonstrated—and followed through.
By joining a global climate march on the first day of the summit—Sunday, November 29th. There are over 2,000 marches taking place across the globe. If you can’t find one near you, then why not organize your own?
Of course, Paris would have been host to one of the largest marches. But due to the heightened security measures now in place, all public rallies in the city are cancelled. That makes it even more important for those of us who can, to take up the call to participate in our own local marches.
And, in addition to marching, we can also meditate.
Thich Nhat Hanh’s community at Plum Village, along with the Global Buddhist Climate Change Collective and One Earth Sangha, are calling on us all to unite in consciousness to support the political discussions taking place.
“When we meditate together and walk mindfully together, we amplify the power of our mindfulness, concentration and compassion. This strong energy of collective awareness will be felt in the world. It has the power to re-establish the Earth’s equilibrium and restore balance, since we are nothing less than Mother Earth herself. Our actions will lead to collective insight, collective awakening, and collective change.” ~ Plum Village
And Buddhists are especially called on to attend sanghas with the particular intention to support the discussions at the summit, as well as to join interdenominational faith gatherings organized with the same aim.
But this call is not just for Buddhists. It is for every single one of us. With 2015 set to be the hottest year on record, this is a critical time. And, if we truly care, we need to do something.
And beyond marching and meditating, there is much more that we can do.
Over the course of the two week summit, Plum Village encourages us to fast from meat and dairy. Avoiding the consumption of animal products is thought to purify our consciousness, thereby increasing the effectiveness of our meditation efforts.
However, it’s also relevant to note that animal agriculture is a significant contributor to climate change. And our two week fast—for those who aren’t already vegetarian or vegan—may help us to take more steps towards reducing our consumption of animal products, or even cutting them out of our diets altogether.
We’re also encouraged to wear a green ribbon to raise awareness among our communities of the need to up our game to support the health of the planet. Coupled with that, we need to individually take time to reflect on our lifestyles and what changes we can make.
We are encouraged to make a true commitment to implementing changes ourselves.
If we want our leaders to commit to change, then we need to walk our own talk. Actions speak louder than words. Over the course of this two week period, let’s each of us commit to playing an active role in reversing climate change.
And afterwards, let’s keep it up.
Author: Hilda Carroll
Editor: Khara-Jade Warren
Photo: Alice Popkorn/Flickr