Green Buddhism case study

Buddhist Studies Engaged Buddhism Environmental Issues Events

I recently presented at the New Paths in Teaching Buddhist Studies conference in Toronto. My talk was entitled: Teaching the Buddhism of the Future, not the Past. It was about incorporating green practice path perspectives into all our teaching endeavours and syllabi.

Prior to attending, I had opted to take the train to Toronto rather than fly, in order to generate a smaller carbon footprint. When the Tyendinaga protests in support of the Wetsuweten hereditary chiefs' objections to the Coastal GasLink pipeline blocked the rail lines, I was forced to choose between driving, flying, or taking the bus. The flight would cost $600; the bus would take 9-14 hours. I drove.

When I got to the conference, I was delighted to see the following message on each participant's place setting:

"The Ho Centre for Buddhist Studies has invested in carbon offset projects for this conference. Air travel and tourism account for over 8% of global CO2 emissions and by gathering here this weekend we are contributing to the climate crisis. While there are many ways to personally reduce our carbon footprints, carbon offsetting can help mitigate environmental effects of our travel through supporting environmental or sustainability initiatives. Our calculations suggest that the total amount of CO2 in tonnes used for travel for this event is 28.692, and using that calculation we are investing (via Less, at in Gold Standard-Certified International Carbon Emission Reduction projects in Southeast Asia, which include the development of Solid Waste Facilities in Vietnam and the development of Wastewater Treatment Facilities in Thailand"

Kudos to the Ho Centre for Buddhist Studies at the University of Toronto and to the organizers of the conference (professors Frances Garrett, Sarah Richardson and Betsy Moss) for this excellent action!

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