Saturday, 23 January 2021 08:30
2021 Online Winter School – “Immediate Decision”
On January 22, 2021, we held an opening ceremony for the 2021 Winter School of the University for Life and Peace. This year, we had 23 instructors and 57 students from Germany, the UK, France, Sweden, Switzerland, Greece, the US, Myanmar, Philippines, Indonesia, China, and Lesotho. As the pandemic is still in effect, we were very fortunate to have the opportunity to connect online for this program. Together, we discussed various topics on environmental sustainability for the welfare of mankind and planet Earth. Such a connection is extraordinary. It is our shared mission.
The main topic of our program this year is “Immediate Decision”. Based on the pressing environmental issues, what decisions and implementations should we take? Firstly, we must identify the major problems. What is the most threatening situation for mankind? It’d be the use of nuclear weapons and wars. It’d bring detrimental damage that is irreversible. Nuclear weapons are the greatest peril to civilization. There numerous accounts of ancient civilizations being wiped out by wars. We must remember the history and be very cautious. Nuclear power should never be utilized due to personal interests by any means. As we claim to be “environmentalists”, we must come together to protect the environment and reduce the damages by all means. Among all members of the society, religion plays a vital role in protecting the planet. We should put all our efforts to prevent further damage.
The priority of protecting the planet is to stop warfare for the sake of environmentalism. In particular, the threat of nuclear weapons. Even with testing, the global temperature would rise irreversibly. In December, 2020, the world celebrated the 5th anniversary of the adoption of the Paris Agreement. While a new 2030 climate and energy framework was proposed, many countries find the administration rather challenging to hit the goals. The agreement is already considered insufficient to limit global warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius, yet, all efforts would be in vain if nuclear war is triggered.
Recently, we had a meeting with Pope Francis to discuss the influence of religious ethics in terms of sustaining the ecology. Secondly, we must come to the agreement that planet Earth is our shared home. Mankind, animals, plants, and all beings are the family members. We are an entity of diversity and are interdependent on one another. When we prioritize our mutual benefits, we’d learn to sustain and thrive continuously.
“Ecological value” is defined as the collective frame of beliefs and values which provides the basis for activities towards the ecological impact of its activities and products. To put it simply, it is the relationship between spirituality and ecology. I believe that spirituality is ecology and vice versa. They are oneness instead of two separate entities. Sentient beings possess spirituality and are endowed with individual karmic memories, functionalities, and purposes. We must work harmoniously and thrive together. That way, we can create good conditions and space for survival. All beings are equal, so we must embrace one another with respect, inclusivity, and love. We share the same spirituality, therefore, we are the support for each other instead of counteraction. Hold this notion and awareness in mind, then, apply them in your career and other aspects of life. We’d become more aware and understanding of an ecosystem that is holistic and harmonious.
All of you are excellent students recommended by your professors. While you are becoming experts in your area of learning, you must keep in mind that ecological crises are the priority concern for all of you apply your profession – particularly in this chaotic time. Through the platform of the University for Life and Peace, we hope to brainstorm brilliant ideas with individuals from different disciplines. Later, we could integrate these ideas into future programs and studies. So please, feel free to raise any ideas at any time for the benefits of sentient beings. Together, let’s offer a home of peace and love for all beings.
May the Earth restore peace! Let us join hands to work through all crises!