One World: Peace talks include the environment

Caring for our planet has been one important thread running through talks during the Dalai Lama's two-day visit to Syracuse.

The Dalai Lama is at Syracuse University, in case you couldn't tell. His Holiness, along with other Nobel Laureates, activists and even a former CIA director have been talking about the current state of conflict and security throughout the world, as well as ways to foster peace.

One surprisingly common theme throughout these talks has been the importance of the environment and natural resources for security. At the morning panel on “Democracy in the Middle East” the issues mentioned included:

  • Water scarcity
  • Poverty
  • Fossil fuel dependence
  • Balance of natural resources

The Dalai Lama, the 14th to take on this role, began in 1937, when he was just 2 years old. Initially, degradation of nature was not a major issue. However, when the Dalai Lama received his Nobel Peace Prize in 1989, he was honored in part for his environmental work.

“When I was young, nobody talked about the importance of the environment,” the Dalai Lama says. “Later in the 20th century, they say many people nowadays ... say, 'Start taking care of the environment.'”

Fellow panelist Andrew Young, the former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations and civil rights activist with Martin Luther King, Jr. made access to water a socioeconomic issue.

Young challenged governments to reallocate just 1% of the money used for “destroying things” into providing clean water to more people.

“Peace for the wealthy is security. Peace for the poorest of the poor is bread and water,” Andrew Young says.

If you have a bit of free time, you can view this panel discussion and the one on “Shifting the Global Consciousness” here.


Image: Flickr / Serjao Carvalho

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