Dalai Lama stresses role of education on environmental issues - Focus Taiwan

Dalai Lama stresses role of education on environmental issues

Taipei, Nov. 3 (CNA) The Dalai Lama emphasized the role of education in addressing global environmental issues during a talk Saturday with Nobel laureate Lee Yuan-tseh (李遠哲), and he asked scientists to take more responsibility to communicate with the public.

In discussing with Lee the challenges and opportunities for a sustainable planet in Dharamsala, India, where the Dalai Lama lives in exile, the Tibetan leader said he hoped scientists could reach out to the public on environmental issues instead of focusing solely on research.

Though science has provided hard data documenting changes to the environment, people will still be resistant to changing their behavior unless they are made fully aware of the situation around them through education, the Dalai Lama said.

It is therefore important for scientists to have a voice and bring that knowledge into the education system, he said.

The Dalai Lama made the comments after Lee, who won the Nobel Prize in chemistry in 1986, briefed him about the environmental challenges that humanity is facing and the need to curb climate change.

The Earth is sustaining an extreme imbalance of energy due to global warming, Lee said, explaining that the greenhouse gases produced today have kept incoming solar energy from being reflected back to the universe.

The excessive energy the planet is absorbing is equal to that generated by 350,000 atomic bombs every day, Lee said, and the situation will only get worse as a fast-growing global population that could increase to an estimated 9.7 billion by the middle of the 21st century needs more energy to live.

Global warming has also resulted in more extreme weather across the globe, according to Lee, citing Typhoon Morakot that struck Taiwan in 2009.

The storm, which caused severe mudslides, took nearly 700 lives and wiped out a village in one day, Lee said.

Seeing pictures of Xiaolin village, in which more than 400 residents were buried alive by a massive landslide, before and after the natural disaster, the Dalai Lama seem shocked, asking "same place?"

Lee stressed that climate change is a global problem that needs global solutions, and that from a technological point of view, people must learn to store, transform and share energy from the sun instead of relying on fossil fuels.

"People must go back to nature, back to sunshine," he said, encouraging people to lead a less materialistic lifestyle.

Lee also mentioned the importance of improving equality around the world to help less developed countries combat global warming.

The Dalai Lama replied that those who are capable should "try to promote poor people's living standards, their economic conditions, and teach them more practices of contentment."

Along with other scholars, a group of Taiwanese scientists led by Nobel laureate Lee joined a three-day discussion from Nov. 1 with the Dalai Lama on quantum mechanics in Buddhism.

It was the first time the Dalai Lama engaged in such a dialogue with scientists mainly from the Chinese community.

(By Lee Hsin-Yin)


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