Archive for July, 2007

Living Global Life

July 27, 2007

We live like plants covered by vines and choked and dying without light, covered, choked and dying by things like money and matter, fame and fortune, position and possession. Living selfish life is living small buble-like life, limited life. Living global life is living great ocean-like life, limitless life. 

The global problematique caused by humans is endangering the global life system. This is due to selfishness of individuals, corporations, nations, etc. The only solution of this is stopping selfish life and starting global life. It is stopping five calamities (delusion, bondage, discrimination, exploitation, extermination) and starting five blisses (awakening, freedom, equality, love, peace).

It is to understand the global system (5Ss: Systemic, Sustainable, Saving, Safe, Simple) and observing global ethic (5Ls: Law, Live, Love, Liberation, Lielessness; 5Rs: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Rearrange, Restore; 5As: Access, Assess, Agree, Act, Advise).

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Craving is suffering.

July 22, 2007

Craving or wanting is dissatisfaction or suffering.

 Craving is due to nescience and destined to destruction.

Unattachment and awakening is freedom and happiness.

 Individual and group destiney depends on nescience or science (awakening, wisdom).

OB Summit Paper by Rev. Koshin Ohtani

July 17, 2007

I mentioned the OB Summit Expert Conference in this blog earlier. The 25th Summit was held in Wienna on May 21-23. Rev. Koshin Ohtani (Former President of Japan Buddhist Federation, Head of Jodo Shinshu Hongwanjiha) represented Mahayana Buddhism. Hereunder is his paper (presented shortened) (No commercial use of his manuscript allowed):

——–

 InterAction Council OB Summit) Paper Presented by Rev. Koshin Ohtani on 2007,05,22 

Preface

              I wish to begin by expressing my deep appreciation for this opportunity to share my thoughts at the Interaction Council. I am here as the result of being recommended by the Japan Buddhist Federation, the largest association of traditional Buddhist schools in Japan. Buddhism, which originated over 2,500 years ago in North India with Gotama Buddha, was transmitted northeastward from Central Asia to China and southeastward from South Asia to Southeast Asia, developing in various ways as it took root in different cultures and societies.

             Japanese Buddhism evolved at the end of that eastward transmission, and constitutes one of Buddhism’s distinctive developments. Among the Japanese schools, Jōdo Shinshū (with which I am affiliated) is a unique school in that there are no monks and nuns who adhere to the monastic precepts and engage in rigorous training.

               Today in my presentation, I shall try my best to address issues that are common to all Buddhists. History and the Present Situation of Buddhism

              We can distinguish the areas where Buddhism exists today into two main regions. One is where Buddhism has existed for over one thousand years, and the other is where Buddhism has arrived in modern times. The region with the long history refers primarily to the countries in Asia. In such countries, Buddhism has often intertwined with indigenous beliefs and customs, deeply influencing the thinking of the people, and coexisting peacefully with other religions.

           Consequently, with the exception of what we might call religious “professionals,” monks and nuns who strive for enlightenment by renouncing the world, most lay Buddhists, with few exceptions, are largely concerned with finding happiness in this life and in the afterlife. In Asia, Buddhism has helped to support this search for happiness by providing a foundation for their ethical and moral lives.

              In the region where Buddhism was transmitted in modern times, mostly Europe and North America, Buddhist groups have been created by Buddhist refugees and immigrants and by those with a personal interest in introducing Buddhism to the new land.

             Although Buddhism over its long history may not always have been peaceful, it is safe to say that it has had only a small number of military clashes, the exceptions being attributed to foreign invasions. I believe this can largely be attributed to a teaching that is based on controlling desire.

              Today, what has been viewed as a kind of passive call for peace has been criticized for not being able to rectify the injustices of  society. Also, some have criticized Buddhism as having supported social stagnation and injustices. It is true that because the aim of Buddhism is sometimes understood to be individual enlightenment or salvation, many Buddhist institutions have been passive when it comes to direct involvement in social issues and in social change movements.

              In contrast to this traditional approach, we have seen in recent years a new movement, notably in South and Southeast Asia, called “engaged Buddhism.” The work carried out by Dr. Ariyaratne, who is in attendance at this gathering, is one of the earliest and most well-known successful examples of engaged Buddhism.

              The aim of Buddhism is to become a Buddha. It calls for us to control our desire and attain wisdom rooted in truth or to realize spiritual insight that approximates that of the Buddha. There are, of course, various teachings concerning the means as well as the time required for attaining that aim. There is, for example, a path that calls for leaving the secular world, following the precepts and engaging in rigorous training. Another path centers around sitting meditation, while another calls for reciting mantras or the names of the Buddhas. And there is also a path, which I personally follow, that calls us to entrust and awaken to the salvific power of Amida or Amitābha Buddha.

               Despite these differences in the actual practices, the various Buddhist paths subscribe to the basic ethical categories such as not killing, not stealing, not engaging in sexual misconduct and not lying. And these have much in common with the ethical guidelines in many of the other religions. I believe, therefore, that many Buddhists would be in agreement with much of what is found in “The Universal Declaration of Human Responsibilities,” which was prepared by this Inter-Action Council for adoption by the United Nations.  

The Three Poisons

            In Buddhism the most basic obstacles to enlightenment are the Three Poisons, which are greed, hatred and ignorance. I believe that the teachings concerning the Three Poisons can be helpful in examining many of the most troubling issues we see in today’s world.   

 Ignorance 

           First of all, ignorance refers to our failure to understand the truth of interdependent origination, according to which all phenomena occur as a result of various conditions that come together. This truth of interdependent origination does not render absolute the distinctions of good and bad or of friend and enemy. Instead it regards such distinctions as relative and provisional, thus helping to moderate conflicts.              

 If we can change some of the causes and conditions, the effects can also be changed. Our human existence is made possible within the interconnected web of life that encompasses flora and fauna as well as water and air. The tragic events of the world and personal suffering take place within this complex set of interconnected relationships. While suffering cannot be completely eliminated, it can be reduced, and each of us shoulders part of that responsibility.

              Since the aim of Buddhism is to “overcome delusion and realize enlightenment,” those who have yet to realize enlightenment all become the recipients of salvation and compassion. They are certainly not the objects of punishment. Buddhism does not make absolute distinctions between the saved and the unsaved. Instead, it seeks to find a common ground, and to share in sorrows as well as joys. 

              As we think about the conflicts in the world today, should we not first consider the suffering and the sorrows of those involved before judging matters in terms of good and evil, right and wrong, and profit and loss? From a Buddhist perspective, such worldly determinations of good and evil and profit and loss are all relative in nature! The leaders of the world are, therefore, requested to carefully inspect the tragic consequences of armed conflicts. 

 Greed  

            The next one among the Three Poisons that I wish to discuss is greed. Greed has two dimensions, the first related to the individual and the second related to manufacturing and the environment. The desire to live is intrinsic to all living creatures. In the case of humans, economic expansion becomes inevitable, for we seek life that is safe and enjoyable and a lifestyle that allows our potentiality to be realized.              

However, this does not mean we are permitted to sacrifice the lives of other people, deplete natural resources, and destroy the environment. Globalization, for example, has its merits as a theory, but in actual practice it tends to benefit stronger countries and organizations at the expense of weaker ones.   

                       It should not just be humans and the stronger nations that consume, for all living creatures must support and help each other. Further, the earth system that includes the air and water must maintain its state of balance and harmony. The failure to do so would invite catastrophic results for humans. When we realize that many of the world’s conflicts today are economic in nature, we ought to be seeking wealth that does not come at the expense of others.             

This issue goes to the very foundation of Buddhism. However, in East Asia where economic development and industrialization have become prominent, I regret that, with the exception of the social activism among the nuns in Taiwan, Buddhism has had little influence toward social change in China, Korea and Japan. I believe that Buddhists should be taking the responsibility in leading the efforts toward ecologically supportive way of life.  

Hatred and Peace            

The last among the Three Poisons that I wish to discuss is hatred. Hatred is one of the greatest obstructions to the attainment of peace. We find the following statement among the words of Gotama Buddha, the founder of Buddhism:  “In this world, if we respond to hatred with hatred, hatred will never cease. Only by relinquishing hatred will hatred cease. This is an eternal truth.” (Dhammapada, verse 5) I believe that these words, among all the words in Buddhism, are a treasure that can be appreciated by all people. Of course, eliminating hatred is not easily accomplished, but it is far better to think about how we can reduce hatred than to return hatred with hatred.              

 The Buddha elsewhere also stated:   “All beings are fearful of violence, for life is dear to all. Thus, knowing this and feeling for others as for yourself, you must not kill, and you must not cause others to kill.” (Dhammapada, verse 130). The Buddha further admonished as follows:

     “Life is joyous for the person, who is satisfied with what one has, listens to truth, and sees truth. It is also joyous not to be angry and hateful toward people of the world and to exercise self-control toward all living creatures. It is also joyous to overcome greed and desire toward matters of the world and to transcend various desires. And it is of utmost joy to conquer the vanity of ego-centered thought of “me, me.”  (Vinaya 1-3; Udana 10)

              The Buddhist teaching is fundamentally nonviolent. If there were to be fundamentalism within Buddhism, it would not lead to military conflict. If Buddhists were to be involved in armed conflict, it would be on account of their having interpreted the teachings according to their selfish needs, or has either forgotten or is hiding the true message of Buddhism. This has been a continuous potential problem throughout the transmission and popularization process of Buddhism. It can especially come to a head when people who identify as Buddhists also identify strongly with a specific ethnic group or nation. Should a military conflict develop, they would find themselves torn between the teachings of Buddhism and their ethnic or national loyalties. It is regrettable that such conflicts have taken place in South and Southeast Asia in recent years.

             Generally speaking, religion itself carries inherent dangers. Metaphorically, modern medicine possesses drugs that can cure serious illnesses, but if prescribed incorrectly, they can cause dangerous side-effects. In dealing with the basic issues of human existence, religion is deeply involved with existential as well as communal concerns. It is, therefore, natural that religions that hold strong sway over their believers can lead to devastating consequences, when there are errors of judgment or action. We must be careful not to be self-righteous or exclusive. I believe that the future challenge for religious people is to affirm themselves, but, at the same time, accept and affirm people of other religions. 

Conclusion

               As I conclude, I wish to summarize the main points of my presentation today.              The teachings of Buddhism clearly oppose violence. However, Buddhism in the past has found it difficult to control it when ethnic and national loyalties were involved.                             Nevertheless, by not rigidly determining “good and evil” or “right and wrong,” and by altering the conditions, Buddhism can and should make renewed efforts to resolve conflicts in order to avoid future warfare.               We should not utilize religion to escalate conflicts.              We should not increase human greed.              And I would like to end by requesting all of us to reflect on the simple truth of the Buddha’s statement:“If we respond to hatred with hatred, hatred will never cease.”

Suffering, satisfaction

July 13, 2007

Suffering in Sanskrit or Pali is duk-kha (wrong-going, going against grain, going against one’s wish).

Satisfaction is su-kha (right-going, going in grain, going along one’s wish).

Wish comes from self. Without self, nothing goes wrong, against grain.

Returning to Dharma and Dharma-world, all go satisfactory. Limitless satisfaction in limitless Dharma. Awakening in limitless Dharma is limitless life, light, liberation and love.

Limitless Luck

July 9, 2007

”Without limited mind, there’s limitless luck.” This is Dogen’s words.

Limited mind starts from ego, develops into craving and rage. These three are called three poisons, killing all.

Without limited mind, one can see limitless ocean of life, which benefit limitless beings with limitless luck.

An Inconvenient Truth

July 7, 2007

A Japanese version of “An Inconvenient Truth” was published and delivered. The story of it starts with the Earth-rise and ends with a pale blue dot 6.5billion km afar whereon victories, tragedies, wars and famines took place. With the Earth-rise picture, our consciouness was changed. With the pale blue dot, our conduct must change. Past patterns of thought and action should not make truth inconvenient.

With completely changed people and technology such as nuclear weapons, we should not repeat old wars recklessly. We must stand up to protect our future right now!

Everyone of the human community must see this movie and take responsible actions. We must shift our paradigm. We must shift from the “Universal Declaration of Human Rights” to the “Universal Declaration of Human Responsibility,” as the Ganges of the former issue from the Himalaya of the latter, as Gandhi said.

Macro-micro Mistake (Paradigm Shift)

July 6, 2007

All mistakes can be reduced that of size (macro-micro). All problems and sufferings come from mistaking small as large. Thus we need paradigm shift from small to large, national (sovereignty) to global (life-system). Before we are nationals, we are humans. Before humans, we are living beings. Before living beings, we are part and parcel of life system. If we go back to wider or original categories, we can appreciate more truth and act freer, more equally, lovingly and peacefully.

 If we know and act according to larger, deeper, more original truth (not human artifices, prejudices), we can solve problems and stop sufferings. If we acknowledge and act as globals, rather than nationals, we can stop savage wars and militarism. If we prognosticate and practice as life itself, rather than humans, we can solve environmental, resource, species extinction, etc. We can shift our paradigm from ego to eco, sinful to holy. We can shift from spending on savage wars and militalism, sacrice of sacred sprit and life.

Vox populi, vox dei

July 4, 2007

 Like “people’s voice is God’s voice,” heuman hearts, not human hubris, tell the truth as quoted below (president’s pardon of his man’s crime, power grab, power misuse to war, etc. against around 70% majority). This applies to crimes against humanity being crimes against truth (A-bombing, mass-murdering, etc.) 

……………………..

I Accuse You, Mr. Bush…

by Keith Olbermann

“I didn’t vote for him,” an American once said, “But he’s my president, and I hope he does a good job.”That-on this eve of the 4th of July-is the essence of this democracy, in 17 words. And that is what President Bush threw away yesterday in commuting the sentence of Lewis “Scooter” Libby.

The man who said those 17 words-improbably enough-was the actor John Wayne. And Wayne, an ultra-conservative, said them, when he learned of the hair’s-breadth election of John F. Kennedy instead of his personal favorite, Richard Nixon in 1960.

“I didn’t vote for him but he’s my president, and I hope he does a good job.”

The sentiment was doubtlessly expressed earlier, but there is something especially appropriate about hearing it, now, in Wayne’s voice: The crisp matter-of-fact acknowledgement that we have survived, even though for nearly two centuries now, our Commander-in-Chief has also served, simultaneously, as the head of one political party and often the scourge of all others.

We as citizens must, at some point, ignore a president’s partisanship. Not that we may prosper as a nation, not that we may achieve, not that we may lead the world-but merely that we may function.

But just as essential to the seventeen words of John Wayne, is an implicit trust-a sacred trust: That the president for whom so many did not vote, can in turn suspend his political self long enough, and for matters imperative enough, to conduct himself solely for the benefit of the entire Republic.

Our generation’s willingness to state “we didn’t vote for him, but he’s our president, and we hope he does a good job,” was tested in the crucible of history, and earlier than most.

And in circumstances more tragic and threatening. And we did that with which history tasked us.

We enveloped our President in 2001.And those who did not believe he should have been elected-indeed those who did not believe he had been elected-willingly lowered their voices and assented to the sacred oath of non-partisanship.

And George W. Bush took our assent, and re-configured it, and honed it, and shaped it to a razor-sharp point and stabbed this nation in the back with it.

Were there any remaining lingering doubt otherwise, or any remaining lingering hope, it ended yesterday when Mr. Bush commuted the prison sentence of one of his own staffers.

Did so even before the appeals process was complete; did so without as much as a courtesy consultation with the Department of Justice; did so despite what James Madison-at the Constitutional Convention-said about impeaching any president who pardoned or sheltered those who had committed crimes “advised by” that president; did so without the slightest concern that even the most detached of citizens must look at the chain of events and wonder: To what degree was Mr. Libby told: break the law however you wish-the President will keep you out of prison?

In that moment, Mr. Bush, you broke that fundamental com-pact between yourself and the majority of this nation’s citizens-the ones who did not cast votes for you. In that moment, Mr. Bush, you ceased to be the President of the United States. In that moment, Mr. Bush, you became merely the President of a rabid and irresponsible corner of the Republican Party. And this is too important a time, Sir, to have a commander-in-chief who puts party over nation.

This has been, of course, the gathering legacy of this Administration. Few of its decisions have escaped the stain of politics. The extraordinary Karl Rove has spoken of “a permanent Republican majority,” as if such a thing-or a permanent Democratic majority-is not antithetical to that upon which rests: our country, our history, our revolution, our freedoms.

Yet our Democracy has survived shrewder men than Karl Rove. And it has survived the frequent stain of politics upon the fabric of government. But this administration, with ever-increasing insistence and almost theocratic zealotry, has turned that stain into a massive oil spill.

The protection of the environment is turned over to those of one political party, who will financially benefit from the rape of the environment. The protections of the Constitution are turned over to those of one political party, who believe those protections unnecessary and extravagant and quaint.

The enforcement of the laws is turned over to those of one political party, who will swear beforehand that they will not enforce those laws. The choice between war and peace is turned over to those of one political party, who stand to gain vast wealth by ensuring that there is never peace, but only war.

And now, when just one cooked book gets corrected by an honest auditor, when just one trampling of the inherent and inviolable fairness of government is rejected by an impartial judge, when just one wild-eyed partisan is stopped by the figure of blind justice, this President decides that he, and not the law, must prevail.

I accuse you, Mr. Bush, of lying this country into war.

I accuse you of fabricating in the minds of your own people, a false implied link between Saddam Hussein and 9/11.

I accuse you of firing the generals who told you that the plans for Iraq were disastrously insufficient.

I accuse you of causing in Iraq the needless deaths of 3,586 of our brothers and sons, and sisters and daughters, and friends and neighbors.

I accuse you of subverting the Constitution, not in some misguided but sincerely-motivated struggle to combat terrorists, but to stifle dissent.

I accuse you of fomenting fear among your own people, of creating the very terror you claim to have fought.

I accuse you of exploiting that unreasoning fear, the natural fear of your own people who just want to live their lives in peace, as a political tool to slander your critics and libel your opponents.

I accuse you of handing part of this Republic over to a Vice President who is without conscience, and letting him run roughshod over it.

And I accuse you now, Mr. Bush, of giving, through that Vice President, carte blanche to Mr. Libby, to help defame Ambassador Joseph Wilson by any means necessary, to lie to Grand Juries and Special Counsel and before a court, in order to protect the mechanisms and particulars of that defamation, with your guarantee that Libby would never see prison, and, in so doing, as Ambassador Wilson himself phrased it here last night, of becoming an accessory to the obstruction of justice.

When President Nixon ordered the firing of the Watergate special prosecutor Archibald Cox during the infamous “Saturday Night Massacre” on October 20th, 1973, Cox initially responded tersely, and ominously.

“Whether ours shall be a government of laws and not of men, is now for Congress, and ultimately, the American people.”

President Nixon did not understand how he had crystallized the issue of Watergate for the American people.

It had been about the obscure meaning behind an attempt to break in to a rival party’s headquarters; and the labyrinthine effort to cover-up that break-in and the related crimes.

And in one night, Nixon transformed it.

Watergate-instantaneously-became a simpler issue: a President overruling the inexorable march of the law of insisting-in a way that resonated viscerally with millions who had not previously understood – that he was the law.

Not the Constitution. Not the Congress. Not the Courts. Just him.

Just – Mr. Bush – as you did, yesterday.

The twists and turns of Plame-Gate, of your precise and intricate lies that sent us into this bottomless pit of Iraq; your lies upon the lies to discredit Joe Wilson; your lies upon the lies upon the lies to throw the sand at the “referee” of Prosecutor Fitzgerald’s analogy. These are complex and often painful to follow, and too much, perhaps, for the average citizen.

But when other citizens render a verdict against your man, Mr. Bush-and then you spit in the faces of those jurors and that judge and the judges who were yet to hear the appeal-the average citizen understands that, Sir.

It’s the fixed ballgame and the rigged casino and the pre-arranged lottery all rolled into one-and it stinks. And they know it.

Nixon’s mistake, the last and most fatal of them, the firing of Archibald Cox, was enough to cost him the presidency. And in the end, even Richard Nixon could say he could not put this nation through an impeachment.

It was far too late for it to matter then, but as the decades unfold, that single final gesture of non-partisanship, of acknowledged responsibility not to self, not to party, not to “base,” but to country, echoes loudly into history. Even Richard Nixon knew it was time to resign

Would that you could say that, Mr. Bush. And that you could say it for Mr. Cheney. You both crossed the Rubicon yesterday. Which one of you chose the route, no longer matters. Which is the ventriloquist, and which the dummy, is irrelevant.

But that you have twisted the machinery of government into nothing more than a tawdry machine of politics, is the only fact that remains relevant.

It is nearly July 4th, Mr. Bush, the commemoration of the moment we Americans decided that rather than live under a King who made up the laws, or erased them, or ignored them-or commuted the sentences of those rightly convicted under them-we would force our independence, and regain our sacred freedoms.

We of this time-and our leaders in Congress, of both parties-must now live up to those standards which echo through our history: Pressure, negotiate, impeach-get you, Mr. Bush, and Mr. Cheney, two men who are now perilous to our Democracy, away from its helm.

For you, Mr. Bush, and for Mr. Cheney, there is a lesser task. You need merely achieve a very low threshold indeed. Display just that iota of patriotism which Richard Nixon showed, on August 9th, 1974.

Resign.

And give us someone-anyone-about whom all of us might yet be able to quote John Wayne, and say, “I didn’t vote for him, but he’s my president, and I hope he does a good job.”

© 2007 MSNBC Interactive

Limitless Life

July 4, 2007

Killing and wars come from delusion that ego (individual, nation, religion, etc.) is superior or sovereign. The universe, including the global system, is a integral interdependent one, intercommunicating and interchanging, related and relative.

Darkening in delusion leads to bondage, discrimination, exploitation and extermination (5 calamities). Awakening in truth leads to freedom, equality, love and peace (5 blisses).

Humans with language and locomotion became the most divided and divicive, selfish and sinful. They created civilizations (urbanization), pyramidal system (fighting for limited matter and power) with 5 calamities, cancerous to the original cyclical life system. They must awaken to culture (cultivation) of limitless mind and life, appreciating 5 blisses.

Global Concert for Global Cooperation

July 3, 2007

Live Earth Concert will be held on July 7 to pledge cooperation to stop global catastrophe. The global warming is speeding far quicker and requires global cooperation. Gore describes situations and requires action in the following article, which includes the pledges we make to solve the problems:

MOVING BEYOND KYOTO
By Al Gore
New York Times
July 1, 2007

http://www.nytimes. com/2007/ 07/01/opinion/ 01gore.html

We — the human species — have arrived at a moment of decision. It is
unprecedented and even laughable for us to imagine that we could actually
make a conscious choice as a species, but that is nevertheless the challenge
that is before us.

Our home — Earth — is in danger. What is at risk of being destroyed is not
the planet itself, but the conditions that have made it hospitable for human
beings.

Without realizing the consequences of our actions, we have begun to put so
much carbon dioxide into the thin shell of air surrounding our world that we
have literally changed the heat balance between Earth and the Sun. If we
donケt stop doing this pretty quickly, the average temperature will increase
to levels humans have never known and put an end to the favorable climate
balance on which our civilization depends.

In the last 150 years, in an accelerating frenzy, we have been removing
increasing quantities of carbon from the ground — mainly in the form of
coal and oil — and burning it in ways that dump 70 million tons of CO2
every 24 hours into the Earthケs atmosphere.

The concentrations of CO2 — having never risen above 300 parts per million
for at least a million years — have been driven from 280 parts per million
at the beginning of the coal boom to 383 parts per million this year.

As a direct result, many scientists are now warning that we are moving
closer to several ウtipping pointsイ that could — within 10 years — make it
impossible for us to avoid irretrievable damage to the planetケs habitability
for human civilization.

Just in the last few months, new studies have shown that the north polar ice
cap — which helps the planet cool itself — is melting nearly three times
faster than the most pessimistic computer models predicted. Unless we take
action, summer ice could be completely gone in as little as 35 years.
Similarly, at the other end of the planet, near the South Pole, scientists
have found new evidence of snow melting in West Antarctica across an area as
large as California.

This is not a political issue. This is a moral issue, one that affects the
survival of human civilization. It is not a question of left versus right;
it is a question of right versus wrong. Put simply, it is wrong to destroy
the habitability of our planet and ruin the prospects of every generation
that follows ours.

On Sept. 21, 1987, President Ronald Reagan said, ウIn our obsession with
antagonisms of the moment, we often forget how much unites all the members
of humanity. Perhaps we need some outside, universal threat to recognize
this common bond. I occasionally think how quickly our differences would
vanish if we were facing an alien threat from outside this world.イ

We — all of us — now face a universal threat. Though it is not from
outside this world, it is nevertheless cosmic in scale.

Consider this tale of two planets. Earth and Venus are almost exactly the
same size, and have almost exactly the same amount of carbon. The difference
is that most of the carbon on Earth is in the ground — having been
deposited there by various forms of life over the last 600 million years —
and most of the carbon on Venus is in the atmosphere.

As a result, while the average temperature on Earth is a pleasant 59
degrees, the average temperature on Venus is 867 degrees. True, Venus is
closer to the Sun than we are, but the fault is not in our star; Venus is
three times hotter on average than Mercury, which is right next to the Sun.
Itケs the carbon dioxide.

This threat also requires us, in Reaganケs phrase, to unite in recognition of
our common bond.

Next Saturday, on all seven continents, the Live Earth concert
<http://www.liveeart h.org/> will ask for the attention of humankind to begin
a three-year campaign to make everyone on our planet aware of how we can
solve the climate crisis in time to avoid catastrophe. Individuals must be a
part of the solution. In the words of Buckminster Fuller, ウIf the success or
failure of this planet, and of human beings, depended on how I am and what I
do, how would I be? What would I do?イ

Live Earth will offer an answer to this question by asking everyone who
attends or listens to the concerts to sign a personal pledge to take
specific steps to combat climate change. (More details about the pledge are
available at <http://www.algore. com>.)

But individual action will also have to shape and drive government action.
Here Americans have a special responsibility. Throughout most of our short
history, the United States and the American people have provided moral
leadership for the world. Establishing the Bill of Rights, framing democracy
in the Constitution, defeating fascism in World War II, toppling Communism
and landing on the moon — all were the result of American leadership.

Once again, Americans must come together and direct our government to take
on a global challenge. American leadership is a precondition for success.

To this end, we should demand that the United States join an international
treaty within the next two years that cuts global warming pollution by 90
percent in developed countries and by more than half worldwide in time for
the next generation to inherit a healthy Earth.

This treaty would mark a new effort. I am proud of my role during the
Clinton administration in negotiating the Kyoto protocol. But I believe that
the protocol has been so demonized in the United States that it probably
cannot be ratified here — much in the way the Carter administration was
prevented from winning ratification of an expanded strategic arms limitation
treaty in 1979. Moreover, the negotiations will soon begin on a tougher
climate treaty.

Therefore, just as President Reagan renamed and modified the SALT agreement
(calling it Start), after belatedly recognizing the need for it, our next
president must immediately focus on quickly concluding a new and even
tougher climate change pact. We should aim to complete this global treaty by
the end of 2009 — and not wait until 2012 as currently planned.

If by the beginning of 2009, the United States already has in place a
domestic regime to reduce global warming pollution, I have no doubt that
when we give industry a goal and the tools and flexibility to sharply reduce
carbon emissions, we can complete and ratify a new treaty quickly. It is,
after all, a planetary emergency.

A new treaty will still have differentiated commitments, of course;
countries will be asked to meet different requirements based upon their
historical share or contribution to the problem and their relative ability
to carry the burden of change. This precedent is well established in
international law, and there is no other way to do it.

There are some who will try to pervert this precedent and use xenophobia or
nativist arguments to say that every country should be held to the same
standard. But should countries with one-fifth our gross domestic product —
countries that contributed almost nothing in the past to the creation of
this crisis — really carry the same load as the United States? Are we so
scared of this challenge that we cannot lead?

Our children have a right to hold us to a higher standard when their future
— indeed, the future of all human civilization — is hanging in the
balance. They deserve better than a government that censors the best
scientific evidence and harasses honest scientists who try to warn us about
looming catastrophe. They deserve better than politicians who sit on their
hands and do nothing to confront the greatest challenge that humankind has
ever faced — even as the danger bears down on us.

We should focus instead on the opportunities that are part of this
challenge. Certainly, there will be new jobs and new profits as corporations
move aggressively to capture the enormous economic opportunities offered by
a clean energy future.

But thereケs something even more precious to be gained if we do the right
thing. The climate crisis offers us the chance to experience what few
generations in history have had the privilege of experiencing: a
generational mission; a compelling moral purpose; a shared cause; and the
thrill of being forced by circumstances to put aside the pettiness and
conflict of politics and to embrace a genuine moral and spiritual challenge.

…………

Al Gore, vice president from 1993 to 2001, is the chairman of the Alliance
for Climate Protection. He is the author, most recently, of ウThe Assault on
Reason.イ

…………

LIVE EARTH PLEDGE:

http://www.liveeart hpledge.org/ msn

1.To demand that my country join an international treaty within the next 2
years that cuts global warming pollution by 90% in developed countries and
by more than half worldwide in time for the next generation to inherit a
healthy earth;

2.To take personal action to help solve the climate crisis by reducing my
own CO2 pollution as much as I can and offsetting the rest to become “carbon
neutral;”

3.To fight for a moratorium on the construction of any new generating
facility that burns coal without the capacity to safely trap and store the
CO2;

4.To work for a dramatic increase in the energy efficiency of my home,
workplace, school, place of worship, and means of transportation;

5.To fight for laws and policies that expand the use of renewable energy
sources and reduce dependence on oil and coal;

6.To plant new trees and to join with others in preserving and protecting
forests; and,

7.To buy from businesses and support leaders who share my commitment to
solving the climate crisis and building a sustainable, just, and prosperous
world for the 21st century.