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“Dharma and a proactive attitude that cares for the environment”

– Mateo Buki, BA student from Ecuador

I come from a small green and beautiful village in the south of Ecuador. I grew up surrounded by abundant nature, breathing clean air, amused by the sound of flowing water in the rivers, where I could drink and bathe. Suddenly, I find myself standing in the middle of Kathmandu, one of the most polluted cities in the world.  
Being here invites me to deeply reflect upon our ecological crisis. Since the 19th century, scientists have been making predictions about climate change, global warming, and other symptoms of ecological collapse. A paper published in 2021 asserts that more than 99% of peer-reviewed scientific literature agree on human caused climate change. The Ecological emergency is a self-inflicted harm, one in which all of us as a global society are complicit. Yet, despite all of our knowledge, we are plummeting faster than ever towards the sixth mass extinction of life on earth.  
I have very little and poor understanding of the Dharma, yet, I realize that the teachings urge us to adopt a proactive attitude aimed at tackling suffering and its causes. In this case, the ecological crisis is a cause of “social dukkha.”  
In my opinion, sincerely reflecting on how our modern lifestyle contributes to the collapse of environmental balance can only inspire change and strengthen the commitment to work for the benefit of others. 
Shantideva says:  
Suffering also has its worth. 
Through sorrow, pride is driven out 
And pity felt for those who wander in saṃsāra;  
Evil is avoided; goodness seems delightful.  

Suffering can inspire positive change. This is what I aspire to do myself and I hope that more and more people join the cause, so that we can together joyfully make this world green and healthy. 

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