In a video message from his residence in northern India, His Holiness the Dalai Lama urged the attendees of a virtual meeting of parliamentary speakers of the Group of Seven on Saturday to take urgent, united action in response to the global climate change crisis.
The Tibetan spiritual leader called on the nations represented by the G7 Speakers’ Conference, titled “Addressing the Climate Crisis with Economic and Environmental Justice for All,” to take the dangers of climate change—and the suffering they cause for millions around the world—seriously, and to act on the issue from a holistic perspective.
“I always express that we should think of the entire [population of] seven billion human beings as one human community. In future, we have to think of all seven billion human beings, rather than ‘my nation’ or ‘my religious group’ alone,” said the octogenarian Nobel Peace Prize laureate.
“If you look at our past history, there as too much emphasis on individual nations, individual religions, even radical groups, which creates a lot of problems,” he emphasized. “Basically, our selfish, self-centered attitude, thinking only of ‘me,’ ‘my nation,’ ‘my group,’ is very narrow-minded. The reality is that the future of the whole world, of seven billion human beings, is interdependent. Now the time has come to think of the whole of humanity, all seven billion human beings, then the whole world.”
The summit, hosted by the speaker of the US House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, herself an outspoken supporter of the Himalayan region, brought together legislative counterparts from Canada, the European Union, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and the United Kingdom.
Pelosi and the parliamentary leaders of the G7 countries on Saturday issued a joint declaration, stating that “the climate crisis is the existential threat of our time, jeopardizing the health and well-being of every family in every community around the world.” (Nancy Pelosi: Speaker of the House)
The statement continued: “Atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations in 2020 are among the highest averages ever recorded. The planet suffered through the second-hottest year ever in 2019. As the Earth heats up, climate-related impacts, including heat waves, hurricanes, wildfires, droughts, and flooding, are worsening. The great rivers of our world are beginning to dry up, depriving millions of water, food, jobs, transportation and commerce.” (Nancy Pelosi: Speaker of the House)
The Dalai Lama emphasized the risks facing billions of people due to climactic changes affecting the Himalayan region and the Tibetan Plateau, often known as the Earth’s “third pole” because its glaciers and permafrost contain the largest reserves of freshwater outside of Antarctica and the Arctic, feeding the 10 largest river systems in Asia.
“I am always telling people that Tibet, which people call the Roof of the World, is the source of water for China from the Yangtse River, and India from the Brahmaputra, and so on, and then the Indus in Pakistan. The whole of this part of Asia, their water resources come from Tibet. In Tibet, Tibetan people now notice there’s less and less snow. In Dharamsala, we also notice the amount of snow is less,” His Holiness explained.
“Rich people, who stay in big hotels, may not feel it’s a serious problem,” his Holiness noted pointedly. “But poor people really face serious problems.”
“Global warming is really very, very serious. It’s not just an abstract idea,” he said. “On a practical level, we are now really facing a lot of problems. Due to global warming, there’s too much rain in some areas, while other areas are dry. People suffer, particularly in Africa and some areas of India, and in China also.”
At the conclusion of the annual G7 Speakers’ Conference, those assembled agreed to focus on the need for robust and coordinated international action to address health and financial security inequalities that have been highlighted by the climate crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic.
Addressing the Climate Crisis – Message to the G7 Speakers’ Conference (His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet)
G7 Speakers Issue Declaration: ‘Addressing the Climate Crisis with Economic and Environmental Justice for All’ (Nancy Pelosi: Speaker of the House)