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 “Future Earth and Green Initiatives” – The Sixth Tzu Chi Forum in Taipei, Taiwan….

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On November 14 to 15, 2020, in Taipei, Taiwan, the Sixth Tzu Chi Forum was held with the theme of the Future Earth and Green Initiatives. With the representatives from the government, academia and non-governmental organizations, they shared their works and goals for the future of our Earth. The forum had been gracefully organized under the guidance and patronage of the Most Venerable Bhikkhuni Dharma Master Cheng Yen, The Founder of the Buddhist Compassion Relief Tzu Chi Foundation.

“If I told you there’s a 5 to 10% probability of that plane crashing, none of you will get on that plane. But we are sending our children and grandchildren on that plane, just by our unsustainable consumption of energy.” said Prof. Veerabhadran Ramanathan, a professor in University of California, San Diego and a climate scientist. He mentioned that when the Earth goes to 2 degree warming by 2040, about 1.5 billion people will be facing deadly heat, and there will be mass displacement, migration, and etc. Fortunately, it is not too late, we still have a chance to slow down global warming, but we need to act now, and educate our children from kindergarten to adulthood.

To reduce global warming and solve the problem of unbalanced global development, the United Nations in 2015 adopted 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), together with the three objectives of Economic Growth, Societal Improvement, and Environmental Sustainability. Its aim was to promote action to reach these goals.

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the Environmental Protection Mission of Tzu Chi Foundation and also the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. On August 23, 1990, Dharma Master Cheng Yen called on the public to “sort recyclables with your two clapping hands”. She pioneered a new way of recycling. Around the island, people now practice an eco-friendly lifestyle and share environmental awareness through the mass media. Day by day, we put our words into action by living with a greener lifestyle.

Taiwan is a global citizen and follows on the issues of environmental protection. Since 1987, the Environmental Protection Administration was established, and non-government environmental sectors have focused on Plant Toxicology, Ecological Conservation, Recycling, Environmental Education and other initiatives. Over the past 30 years, both government and non-governmental organizations have worked together to transform Taiwan, once called a “rubbish island”, into a global role model for recycling. But the rise in global temperature and climate change have become an emergency. As the crisis intensifies, environmental problems have become critical to the sustainable development of mankind. It is urgent for all of us to work hard together to resolve them. To coherent its theme of Future Earth and Green Initiatives, with deep sincerity, the 6th Tzu Chi Forum, had invited representatives from the government, academia and non-governmental organizations to review concepts of environmental protection; to share opinions for the future; to establish a shared understanding and a consensus on our collective actions to achieve the sustainable development of Taiwan and the World.

“Humanity has been struggling with a disconnect between man and nature. One of the consequences is the gorillas and other great apes have become critically endangered.” Dr. Penny Patterson of The Gorilla Foundation, whose mission is conservation through communication. In the Summit of Humans and Nature: Coexistence, speakers mentioned that human activities have endangers the Earth and all animals, it is crucial for us to think if our action is protecting or harming the environment. Dr. Chien-Hsin Lai, Director-General of Water Resources Agency, Ministry of Economic Affairs, echoed the action of turning on the faucet with chopstick-sized water streams advocated by Tzu Chi volunteers, reminding everyone to cherish water resources so that it is available for all.

COVID-19 Pandemic

The globe is currently facing a pandemic outbreak, the staff of the Forum took it seriously and prepared every detail like measuring body temperature and asking every participant to wear a mask, to protect everyone. “In the time of a pandemic outbreak, Tzu Chi Foundation held the Forum for us to see the future, and in the acute outbreak, how we can work together.” said by Dr. Shih-Chung Chen, Minister of Ministry of Health and Welfare, and Commander of The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC). In a keynote speech, Dr. Chien-Jen Chen, former vice president of the Republic of China (2016-2020), mentioned when there is a pandemic outbreak, it might cause massive migration, affect our economics, culture, agriculture, and etc. As we are all facing the COVID-19, it is affecting us in many ways. We have to work together to go through the difficult time.

Carbon Footprint Measuring

When preparing the Sixth Tzu Chi Forum, the staff and volunteers take on the challenge of measuring the carbon footprint by cooking local ingredients, using pot plants to decorate instead of fresh flowers, reducing paper usage, and encouraging all participants to take public transportation.

What will the Earth look like in the future? It’s in our hands. We have to act.

About the Tzu Chi Forum

The Tzu Chi Forum is an international conference to introduce Tzu Chi’s ideas, humanity, and culture to the academic community and religions worldwide. The forums have been held since 2010, with participation by many well-known scholars from around the world. They have covered the universal values of environmental protection, Buddhism and charity, and management of charity organizations, to show the profundity and breadth of Buddhism and Tzu Chi.

Tzu Chi Forum, Since 2010

The Tzu Chi Forum “Environment and Religion”, Taipei, 2010.
The Second Tzu Chi Forum “Buddhism and Charity”, Beijing, 2012.
The Third Tzu Chi Forum “The Ideal and Management of International Charity Organizations”, Hualien, 2014.
The Fourth Tzu Chi Forum “The Universal Value of Buddhism & the Dharma Path of Tzu Chi”, Taipei, 2016.
The Fifth Tzu Chi Forum “Disaster Risk Reduction and Sustainable Development”, Taipei, 2019.
The Sixth Tzu Chi Forum “Future Earth and Green Initiatives”, Taipei, 2020.

Including Dr. Shih-Chung Chen, Minister of Ministry of Health and Welfare, and Commander of The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC), Dr. Eugene Chien, the chairman of Taiwan Institute for Sustainable Energy, Po-Wen Yen, the CEO of Buddhist Tzu Chi Charity Foundation, Dr. Elise Anne DeVido, Dharma Master De Chen, Manli Chen, Dr. Shih-Chun Candice Lung, Kuo-Ding Chou, Ying-Wei Wang, Chin-Lon Lin, Prof. Ingrid Liu, Most Venerable Senior Bhikkhuni Dr. Ming Yu, Yun-Jing Wang, Kuang-Chih Chang, etc, and 577 participants to attended the Sixth Tzu Chi Forum on November 14-15, 2020.

Buddhika Sanjeewa
After visit to Hualien & Taipei, Taiwan
Official Photographs by – Shao-Ming Chen Lee, Yao-Ming Hsu, Bi-Hua Wu, Wen-Ke Chuan, Bin-Tien Huang
Special Thanks – Tzu Chi Charity Foundation

 

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