The Dalai Lama on Tuesday called for action on climate change as part of a newly launched campaign by the Tibetan government in exile, showing support for a strong agreement at the United Nations’ Climate Change Conference in Paris this December.
“There is no other planet where we may move,” the Tibetan Buddhist spiritual leader said in a video posted on YouTube. “This is our only home.”
“This is not a political matter, not a religious matter, but ultimately [about] the survival of humanity,” he said.
The Dalai Lama has been an outspoken advocate for the environment for years. This summer, he praised the pope’s encyclical on climate change.
Religious calls for action on climate change have been growing in recent years — and have been coming from all corners of the globe. Two months before the encyclical was issued, 100 Catholic and Evangelical leaders ran a full-page ad in Politico Magazine saying there is a “moral obligation” to act, and calling for congressional action. Muslim leaders issued a declaration in August calling for leaders at madrasas and mosques to address the need to help curb global warming.
The Dalai Lama’s video kicked off a government campaign, Tibet Climate Action for the Roof of the World. The campaign “is to urge the international community and world leaders gathering in Paris to recognize the Tibetan Plateau’s importance to the environmental health of the planet and to make Tibet central to global climate change discussions,” the government said.
Last year, researchers found that glaciers on the Tibetan Plateau are “virtually being decapitated” by warming. In the nearby Himalayan range, glaciers have shrunk 21 percent in the past three decades.
More than a billion people depend on water that runs out of the mountains in Tibet, the Dalai Lama said. “The projections or serious concerns of projections about the Tibetan environment are not only a concern for people from that area, but for a large number of people on this planet.”
The Tibetan Plateau is the third largest store of glaciers and the world’s largest source of fresh water. The region is experiencing temperature rise three times greater than the global average, the exiled government reported.