Thoughts on Climate Change by Matthieu Ricard

In this video, we learn about altruism and thoughts on climate change by Matthieu Ricard. The video is from a Ted Talk from last October that was posted recently.

He says,

It is all the more important to foster an altruistic motivation rather than a selfish one…

We are now the major agent of impact on our Earth. We enter the Anthropocene, the era of human beings. So in a way, if we were to say we need to continue this endless growth, endless use of material resources, it’s like if this man was saying –and I heard a former head of state, I won’t mention who, saying –“Five years ago, we were at the edge of the precipice. Today we made a big step forward…”

Now we have vastly overrun some of the planetary boundaries. Just to take biodiversity, at the current rate, by 2050, 30 percent of all species on Earth will have disappeared. Even if we keep their DNA in some fridge, that’s not going to be reversible…

He talked about sitting at 7,000 meters high looking on a 21,000 foot glacier in Bhutan. The 2,000 glaciers in the Himalayas are melting faster than the Arctic. Then he said,

I’m a Marxist of the Groucho tendency. (Laughter) Groucho Marx said, “Why should I care about future generations? What have they ever done for me?” (Laughter) Unfortunately, I heard the billionaire Steve Forbes, on Fox News, saying exactly the same thing, but seriously. He was told about the rise of the ocean, and he said, “I find it absurd to change my behavior today for something that will happen in a hundred years.” So if you don’t care for future generations, just go for it.

He talked about three time scales: the short term of the daily stock market, the mid term of the quality of our lives, and the long term health of the environment. He travels all over the world and talks to all kinds of leaders, economic, political, environmental, etc. His conclusion:

It seems to me, there’s only one concept that can reconcile those three time scales. It is simply having more consideration for others.

Can altruism really be the solution? People most want high quality in their human relationships. He asks,

So what is altruism? It is the wish: May others be happy and find the cause of happiness.

Altruism can be trained and with it, our brains. Once we have this, we can focus on sustainable harmony, which means that we all participate in a resource based economy as proposed by Jacques Fresco, not sustainable growth.

To participate in this idea of sustainable harmony, I have joined in the efforts of the Buddhist Climate Action Network (BCAN). You can read about it here:

What will you do to help the spread of altruism, sustainable harmony, and reverse climate change?

Books by Matthieu Ricard

Happiness: A Guide to Developing Life’s Most Important Skill

Matthieu Ricard

A molecular biologist turned Buddhist monk, described by scientists as “the happiest man alive,” demonstrates how to develop the inner conditions for true happiness…. [Read More…]

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