Universal Responsibility

It is essential that we re-examine ethically what we have inherited, what we are responsible for, and what we will pass on to coming generations.

Many of the earth's habitats, animals, plants, insects and even micro-organisms that we know to be rare may not be known at all by future generations. We have the capability and the responsibility to ace; we must do so before it is too late.

Just as we should cultivate gentle and peaceful relations with our fellow human beings, we should also extend that same kind of attitude towards the natural environment.

The key point lies in the sense of universal responsibility. That is the real source of strength, the real source of happiness. If we exploit everything available, such as trees, water and minerals, and if we don't plan for our next generation, for the future, then we're at fault, aren't we? However, if we have a genuine sense of universal responsibility as our central motivation, then our relations with the environment, and with all our neighbours, will be well balanced.

Ultimately, the decision to save the environment must come from the human heart. The key point is a call for a genuine sense of universal responsibility that is based on love, compassion and clear awareness.

His Holiness, the Dalai Lama

'Dalai Lama Meets Jews From 4 Major Branches'

The 54-year-old Buddhist leader, in the United States for a three-week visit, said that although he had many theological exchanges with Christians, he had never before had a formal dialogue with Jews. He went about it with great zest and humor, reaching to touch a Torah and smiling at the sound of the shofar, the ram's horn that Jews blow to mark Rosh ha-Shanah, the Jewish New Year, which begins Friday night.

When he was given the shofar and a tallit, a woolen prayer shawl, as gifts, the Dalai Lama tucked the horn into his belt and put the tallit over his red and gold robe. He wore the tallit as he walked with his guests across the grounds of the Tibetan Learning Center here…'

(read on...:)

Jeremy Benstein, The Way Into Judaism and the Environment; (Jewish Lights Publishing, Vermont, 2006). Short essays by Dr. Benstein ~ on Judaism and nature ~ as reflected in the holidays of Yom Kippur, Shavuot, Pesach, Tu Bishvat, and Chanukah ~ as well as in The Forgotten Language of Rain, and in the image of our being  Guests at God's Banquet are available at "The Heschel Center for Environmental Learning and Leadership":

Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life

E.F. Schumacher, Small is Beautiful, A Twenty-Fifth Anniversary Edition: Economics As If People Mattered; 25 years later … with commentaries (Hartley and Marks by arrangement with HarperCollins, Washington State, United States & Vancouver, British Columbia ~ preface by James Robertson, introduction by Paul Hawken & commentaries by various contributors - 1999 , Small is Beautiful - 1973)

Erich Fromm, To Have or To Be? ~ some pages of which are available at: http://books.google.com/

'Christianity: Beliefs about Care for the Planet' at the BBC's learning website 'Bitesize' ~ 'now used by three-quarters of Great Britain's secondary students and half of those in primary schools' ~

The Sabbath Ritual by Erich Fromm, pages 241-249 in his The Forgotten Language: An Introduction to the Understanding of Dreams, Fairytales and Myths (Grove Press – distributed by Random House – published with the permission of Rinehart & Company, New York ~ copyright 1951 with the author ~ first Grove Press-Evergreen edition: 1957)

Most of the environmental movement takes a utilitarian ecology approach, that we must protect the environment because it is useful and beneficial to human beings.

Rather we must take care of the environment out of our deep reverence for it. I call this approach to the environment “reverential ecology.”

Reverential economy and ecology say that you must know your limits and learn to live within them. Then everything will be recycled and regenerated. Mahatma Gandhi said there is enough in the world for everyone’s need, but not enough for anyone’s greed. Our modern dinosaur society has become a greedy society and we don’t know when enough is enough.

         - SATISH KUMAR