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The "next generation" of the next generation of the next generation
October 28th, 2015

illustration (attribution, if any possible, is at the end of the article)

The "next generation" of the next generation of the next generation…
or us, here and now!

   Most people indifferent to the climate today, or simply not mobilised enough, were once kids interested in Nature… The question is therefore not  about teaching the "next generation" to take care of the planet, but about how to teach it not  to become indifferent when getting older!
   For now, of course, kids just learn from copying adults. Until a better example is given, all they'll learn is that Nature should be exploited indiscriminately once one is a grown-up. All they'll learn is that economic short-sightedness is the perfect copout.

   No more than sexism and racism will cease by "educating the next generation" better —which basically is just this generation not  doing the work but counting on others (the next generation) to do the right thing— will climate change be tackled by kicking the can down the road!
   In practice, we teach by example, so all we're teaching the next generation for now is how to create narratives to avoid taking responsibility, how to push problems onto others!
   This is the perfect recipe for a problem never to be tackled until it's too late.

   Dealing with "reality as it is" requires to work on weakening and ceasing the causes of climate change, here & now, not in some hypothetical future that will never come because each generation just push it onto the next.
   Real practice is embodied in the here & now. Practice in an hypothetical future is hypothetical practice, i.e. is useless words.

   How to teach the next generations not  to become indifferent when getting older? By not being so indifferent ourselves (while we  are the 'older' ones), so complacent!

   It's easy to justify inaction (or 'token', too little action) by the fact that each individual is dwarfed by the rest of the population [it'd even be a  valid argument if we had no means to collaborate, no way to synchronise our efforts] but, in the world we live in, it's just a copout.
   If everyone counts on others to do the first step, then no one makes the first step, and the community at large never does what needs doing. The role of international agreements is to stop waiting for 'others' to do the first step, by making all do the first step at once, together.
   If everyone thinks that the damage they individually cause (possibly by inaction, by indifference) will be negligible, if all the rest of the community acts ethically, then the community at large never does what needs doing. [Trying to raise charitable donations from a large group provides a great lesson in this: while everyone could contribute $1 and a lot could be achieved, reality all too often turns out to be very few people giving, and everyone else counting on hypothetical 'others', little of the 'potential' being achieved in the end, no matter how good the cause is.]
   Easy excuses are many, starting with "it costs more" to live ethically and well than to live miserably. They're just excuses. For starters, climate change will cause conflicts, tensions, wars. We can save on huge costs (not just financial/military costs, but also human lives, cultural sites, shelters and food resources saved from destruction) if we mitigate the causes of conflicts earlier, if we address the causes rather than the symptoms and consequences.
   Not giving is harming ( and not refraining from harming is harming, unsurprisingly! 

   In English: ,
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#Buddhism   #Dharma   #environment  
PS: for those who contest that global warming is man-made, let's make one thing clear: even if it weren't man-made, this would be no reason to make things worse! So you too should participate in not worsening the situation, in making sure you don't start contributing now to the problem you think you didn't contribute to so far…