On Earth Day 2021, I appeal to my brothers and sisters throughout the world to look at both the challenges and the opportunities before us on this one blue planet that we share.
I often joke that the moon and stars look beautiful, but if any of us tried to live on them, we would be miserable. This planet of ours is a delightful habitat. Its life is our life, its future our future. Indeed, the earth acts like a mother to us all. Like children, we are dependent on her. In the face of such global problems as the effect of global heating and depletion of the ozone layer, individual organizations and single nations are helpless. Unless we all work together, no solution can be found. Our mother earth is teaching us a lesson in universal responsibility.
Take the issue of water as an example. Today, more than ever, the welfare of citizens in many parts of the world, especially of mothers and children, is at extreme risk because of the critical lack of adequate water, sanitation and hygienic conditions. It is concerning that the absence of these essential health services throughout the world impacts nearly two billion people. And yet it is soluble. I am grateful that the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres, has issued an urgent global call to action.
Interdependence is a fundamental law of nature. Ignorance of interdependence has wounded not just our natural environment, but our human society as well. Therefore, we human beings must develop a greater sense of the oneness of all humanity. Each of us must learn to work not only for his or her self, family or nation, but for the benefit of all mankind. In this connection, I am glad that President Joe Biden will be hosting a Leaders’ Climate Summit on Earth Day this year, bringing together world leaders to discuss an issue that impacts all of us.
If our planet is to be sustained, environmental education and personal responsibility must grow and keep growing. Taking care of the environment should be an essential part of our daily lives. In my own case, my environmental awakening occurred only after I came into exile and encountered a world very different from the one I had known in Tibet. Only then did I realize how pure the Tibetan environment was and how modern material development has contributed to the degradation of life across the planet.
On this Earth Day let us all commit ourselves to doing our part to help make a positive difference to the environment of our only common home, this beautiful earth.
With my prayers, Dalai Lama
- His Holiness the Dalai Lama and 100 other Nobel Laureates urge cooperation at Climate Summit to stop fossil fuel expansion