On January 11th, 2020, Master Hsin Tao had an interview with the Radio Free Asia (RFA). The Winter School of the University for Life and Peace has received interest from the Burmese media.
Q1: The focus of the Winter School is on “Healing the Earth”, why is it so? What are the global crises threatening our ecosystem?
Master: The inexorable rise of carbon emissions has resulted in the ozone hole, which is only getting bigger. The Arctic dipole anomaly is leading to more ice melting. Abnormal seasonal variation also affects the growth of beings. The survival of species is correlated to seasonal conditions. Our ecosystem is in trouble.
Q2: What are the factors behind these crises? Which is the primary one?
Master: Consumerism is the most severe factor. It is a belief that only augments greed. It is greed that has led to economic and political conflicts. There is over 7 billion world population. We all rely on natural resources to survive. Earth is a living organism that requires good circulation for the appropriate climate. Unfortunately, mankind has been depleting resources like coal, gold, oil, and more. Planet Earth has reached its limit. These resources are vital in the circulation of the organism. Therefore, regulated use of resources must be put into practice to set as an example.
Q3: The hope to restore planet Earth to its original state — how is that attainable? Populations are increasing and our environment has been damaged severely. How do you plan to carry out the vision of “life and peace”?
Master: Education is key, especially the knowledge of environmentalism. The advocacy for environmental protection hasn’t been around for fifty years. There are still lots of people who are unaware of their harmful actions to Earth. Surely, some people are aware but choose to ignore due to self-interests. Hence, we must evaluate carefully the resources and establish an appropriate consumption behavior. At the same time, we must promote “life and peace” through education and find solutions. Making knowledge of ecology and environmentalism more globalized is crucial.
Q4: For the Winter School, how many Burmese students attended? It seems that students are coming from other countries as well. What are some of the subjects discussed in the program?
Master: There are thirteen Burmese students: eight graduate students of the environmental study from the University of Yangon; five graduate students of the Buddhist Study from the Pariyatti Sasana University.
As well, there are professors coming from the US, the UK, China, Myanmar, Malaysia, and more. Students from eleven institutes, which include Yale, Cambridge, Peking University, and more, are here with us. Together, we will spend two weeks to brainstorm and come up with ideas and methods in transformative ecology and technology.
Meanwhile, we will also focus on water resources, indigenous people, ecological economics, and ecotourism. Sustainable urban transformation is also an important topic.