The Dalai Lama has appealed to world leaders to take urgent action against climate change, warning of ecological destruction affecting the lives of billions and ruining the planet, including his birth country, Tibet.
As a call to action he has brought out a new book declaring that if Buddha returned to this world, “Buddha would be green”.
In an interview for Channel 4 News and the Guardian, the Buddhist spiritual leader spoke from the Indian city of Dharamsala, where he has been exiled for six decades. He warned that “global warming may reach such a level that rivers will dry” and that “eventually Tibet will become like Afghanistan”, with terrible consequences for at least a billion people dependent on water from the plateau “at the roof of the world”.
In the week the Cop26 UN climate conference was to have been held in Glasgow, he says has high expectations of world leaders, and wants them to act on the Paris climate agreement.
“The United Nations should take a more active role in this field,” he says. Asked whether world leaders are failing, he says: “The big nations should pay more attention to ecology. I hope you see those big nations who spent a lot of money for weapons or war turn their resources to the preservation of the climate.”
The Dalai Lama says he is in favour of large-scale tree planting to help tackle climate change. He also believes meat consumption worldwide should fall dramatically, but explains that since his own decision to go vegetarian in 1965, health problems have led doctors to advise him to resume eating a little meat.