Conference on Environmental Protection – Day 5 – October 7, 2009 – Dharamsala
Question and Answer Session
Dekil Chungyalpa answered questions arising from Tuesday’s sessions on wildlife protection.
Some key points that emerged:
- The monastic community has a responsibility to lead and give advice on environmental issues.
- Protecting the environment also protects wildlife – they are not separate activities.
The monks and nuns wanted to know more about how they themselves could protect wildlife.
Tenzin Norsang suggested 3 things were necessary: Awareness, Acceptance and Action. The monks and nuns had already developed awareness and acceptance. Action required a strategy and planning, taking the available budget into account, or special circumstances, for example 2010 will be the Chinese Year of the Tiger, so it might be appropriate to specifically target that year for tiger protection activities. The aim should be to start small and expand influence outwards. Having considered the local situation and community, monasteries and centres could organise campaigns, workshops and seminars. It was important to explain the benefits to the community at large of environmental and wildlife protection such as the growth of eco-tourism. Each individual could also have an impact by discussing the issue with family and friends and others within their community .Work to save the tiger could be combined with work to save the chiru; often there was an exchange of tiger parts from India and chiru skins from Tibet at the border.
An important part of the training has been group discussion which offers all the representatives the opportunity to speak and encourages exchange of information and ideas This morning’s discussion was focused on the future organisational set up.
The Gyalwang Karmapa attended the plenary session and listened carefully to the feedback from each group.
In the afternoon Dekil Chungyalpa sprang a test on the unsuspecting monks and nuns. They were quizzed on topics covered over the first four days, with questions such as, “How long does it take light from the sun to reach the earth?” Although the test was light-hearted, there were some excellent answers, demonstrating how much learning and discussion had been going on, and, there was a lot of laughter!.
Field Trip 3 ─River Clean-Up
After the theory test came environmental protection in action. The conference members decamped to the banks of the local river where they broke into small groups to tackle collecting the rubbish- mainly plastic and paper – which was polluting it.
Second Environmental Protection Conference for Kagyu Monasteries and Centers, Day 5