On Sunday April 30, people joined together in Climate Mobilization Marches Rallies around the U.S.A. to demand that Trump protect the earth and provide clean air and water to all Americans. Trump put the fossil fuel industry and investment bankers in charge of energy and the environment, and they are rolling back clean energy programs and pushing ahead with more drilling and pipelines for oil, goal, and natural gas. The carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is rising rapidly and overheating the earth.
Our marches and rallies show how resistance can create change, and we cannot stop making demands of the national and local governments to take action to create a clean energy economy that is healthy for people and the planet. As we work together on climate change, we must be ready for the backlash from the wealthy fossil fuel energy companies and the organizations and politicians they fund. Big Oil fights hard to block regulations that reduce the use of coal, oil, and gas. They spent billions of dollars to elect lawmakers to the local, state and national governments. They spent millions of dollars to lobby against demands to reduce carbon emissions. They use their resources to fight “Keep it in the ground,” as they deny they are causing global warming and climate change.
A positive legacy of the climate crisis is that our collective response is building a more caring community, augmenting our citizenship roles with public action, and expanding our participation in, and donations to, environmental organizations and causes that protect people and earth.
In Buddhist economics, everyone belongs to a sangha, which provides support and love. Everyone needs a community for social and emotional support, and our family and friends give us courage and renew our energy. We cannot expect to be fearless in our practice Buddhist economics without a community of like-minded people who share our values and goals.
Most likely you already are part of a community of family and friends, including those who live nearby or share a sport or hobby or religion with us. This primary community expands outward to include old friends, people from work, and families we meet through our kids’ activities. Within our community, we also need a group of close friends with whom we share our ups and downs, with whom we feel free to explore our deepest fears and longings. People who love and trust one another, and who put one another’s well-being on an equal (or higher) level than their own, become a sangha.
Thich Nhat Hanh teaches us that we amplify our energy to live mindfully and to create change when we join with others. He writes,
“Our collective compassion, mindfulness, and concentration nourish us, but it also can help to reestablish the Earth’s equilibrium and restore balance. Together, we can bring about real transformation for ourselves and for the world.”
If you do not have a personal sangha, take the time and care to create one. A sangha is a place where people reach out to help another person who needs compassion and generosity during a difficult time. When we practice kindness to help others without any thought of what they will do for us, then we are building a support network of close friends. Happiness studies show that having people to call on when you need help is an important source of satisfaction in life.
Together we are stronger, we are fearless, and we can prevent Trumpism from hurting people and the planet. Together we are unstoppable in healing the planet and promoting the well-being of all people!