From the destruction of forests to the thawing of permafrost, the effects of human-induced climate change have set into motion self-perpetuating feedback loops that are accelerating global warming. What can be done to slow down this threat before it’s too late?
The Mind & Life Institute was honored to host a special free livestream event on January 9/10, 2021 with His Holiness the Dalai Lama, climate activist Greta Thunberg, and leading scientists to explore steps for addressing this urgent set of challenges. Watch the recording above (subtitles can be turned on or off with the CC button), read the event transcript, or read our post-event blog.
Moderated by Diana Chapman Walsh, the discussion was grounded in a new series of educational films, “Climate Emergency: Feedback Loops,” narrated by Richard Gere.
Contributing their scientific expertise to the conversation were Susan Natali, Arctic Program Director at the Woodwell Climate Research Center, and William Moomaw, Professor Emeritus of International Environmental Policy at Tufts University and the lead author of several reports for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007.
The Dalai Lama speaks to the urgent need for climate action in his new book, Our Only Home: A Climate Appeal to the World, in which he praises Greta Thunberg and other young climate activists for their determination to bring about positive change.
The livestream event highlighted recent scientific findings, the ethical imperative of taking action, and what we can do collectively to slow, halt, and even reverse the devastating impact of climate feedback loops. How can you help?
- Educate yourself on climate change issues
- Hold leaders accountable to support science-based climate action
- Raise awareness in your community about the climate crisis
- Make changes in your daily life to reduce your own carbon footprint
Mind & Life continued to explore the climate crisis and the human-earth relationship at our virtual 2021 Summer Research Institute, held online June 6-11, 2021.
His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, was born on 6 July 1935 to a farming family in a small hamlet of Tibet. He is now the spiritual leader of Tibet, yet describes himself as a simple Buddhist monk. He is the first Nobel Laureate to be recognized for his concern for global environmental problems. He has travelled to more than 67 countries spanning six continents. He has received over 150 awards and honorary doctorates in recognition of his message of peace, non-violence, inter-religious understanding, universal responsibility and compassion.
Greta Thunberg is a Swedish climate activist who started a school strike in front of the Swedish parliament in August 2018. Her solo protest has inspired school strikes for climate action all over the world since then. More than seven million people attended global school strikes in September 2019. Greta has addressed decision-makers at UN climate summits in New York, Poland and Madrid, at the World Economic Forum in Davos, and in several national parliaments. In 2019 Time Magazine selected her as Person of the Year. Alongside being an activist, Greta is currently attending high school in Stockholm, Sweden.
Diana Chapman Walsh, PhD is President emerita of Wellesley College, Senior Advisor to Stanford University’s Center for Innovation in Global Health, life member emerita of the MIT Corporation, co-founder of the Council on the Uncertain Human Future, and former board member of the Mind and Life Institute, the Broad Institute (chair), the Kaiser Family Foundation, the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, the State Street Corporation and Amherst College. She is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a former professor and department chair at the Harvard School of Public Health.
Susan Natali, PhD leads the Arctic Program at Woodwell Climate Research Center. She studies the consequences of climate change in the Arctic, with a focus on permafrost thaw and wildfire, and the global implications of these changes. Her work has provided groundbreaking measurements of greenhouse gas emissions from thawing permafrost. She also works with local communities in the Arctic who are adapting to the impacts of a rapidly warming climate and dramatically changing landscape. Dr. Natali is committed to seeing both the human and climate impacts of rapid Arctic change incorporated into public understanding and global policy.
William R. Moomaw, PhD is Professor Emeritus at the Fletcher School at Tufts University and Visiting Scientist at Woodwell Climate Research Center in Massachusetts. He holds a PhD degree in chemistry and worked to find solutions to stratospheric ozone depletion while working for the U.S. Congress. He then spent 20 years identifying actions and technologies to slow climate change and was a lead author of five major Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reports. More recently, he has developed Natural Climate Solutions that protect and restore forests and wetlands to remove more heat trapping atmospheric carbon dioxide.
Susan Bauer-Wu is the President of the Mind & Life Institute, a role she assumed in December 2015. She has held leadership, academic, and clinical roles that have largely focused on fostering resilience through studying and teaching contemplative practices in health care and higher education.
Thupten Jinpa Langri, PhD, the principal English translator to His Holiness the Dalai Lama since 1985, received his early education and training as a monk and obtained the Geshe Lharam degree from the Shartse College of Ganden Monastic University, South India. In addition, Jinpa holds a B.A. with Honors in philosophy and a Ph.D. in religious studies, both from Cambridge University. He taught at Ganden Monastery and worked as a research fellow in Eastern religions at Girton College, Cambridge University.