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Buddhadharma : Spring 2019
24 BUDDHADHARMA: THE PRACTITIONER'S QUARTERLY IT IS NO EXAGGERATION to say that today humanity faces its greatest challenge ever: in addition to burgeoning social crises, a self-inflicted ecological catastrophe threatens civilization as we know it and (according to some scientists) perhaps even our survival as a species. I hesitate to describe this as an apocalypse because that term is now associated with Christian millenarianism, but its original meaning certainly applies: literally an apocalypse is “an uncover- ing,” the disclosure of something hidden—in this case revealing the ominous consequences of what we have been doing to the earth and to ourselves. Climate issues are receiving the most attention and arguably are the most urgent, but they are nonetheless only part of a larger eco- logical crisis that will not be resolved even if we successfully convert to renewable sources of energy quickly enough to avoid lethal tem- perature increases and the other climate disruptions that will cause. The climate crisis is part of a much larger challenge that includes overfishing, plastic pollution, hypertrophication, topsoil exhaustion, species extinction, freshwater depletion, hormone-disrupting persis- tent organic pollutants (POPs), nuclear waste, overpopulation, and Can Buddhism Meet the Climate Crisis? David R. Loy