Tibet's spiritual and political leader, His Holiness the Dalai Lama spoke today on the issue of global climate change, encouraging politicians, young people, and the general public to take action. The Tibetan spiritual leader is currently in Australia to deliver a series of talks on universal responsibility and the environment.
At a news conference in Sydney today, His Holiness the Dalai Lama said that politicians must focus their attention on finding a solution to climate change, prioritizing the issue of global warming above all else.
"Sometimes their number one importance is national interest, national economic interest, then global (warming) issue is sometimes second," His Holiness said. "That I think should change. The global issue, it should be number one."
While His Holiness admitted that he couldn't guess what the outcome of the upcoming UN summit on climate change will be, he expressed great happiness just for the fact that the talks are taking place.
"I think it is very, very encouraging," he said of the Copenhagen summit.
His Holiness declared to an audience in Sydney that, "Taking care of the environment should be a part of our daily life."
He offered some practical advice on conserving energy, such as: "I never use my bathtub, only shower," and "Whenever I leave my room, I always put off my light."
His Holiness called on Australia's young people to develop a sense of universal responsibility, to rise to the challenge of tackling climate change and other issues.
He stated, "You are the main generation to utilise the 21st century...And also in your hands (is) a better world, or miserable world at the end of this century."
His visit comes at a key moment in Australia's own attempt to curb carbon dioxide emissions and slow down climate change. Australia's Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd of the Labor Party, has made climate change one of his top priorities, and the Associated Press reported that Australia's legislative leaders are in the middle of a battle over a controversial bill to lower greenhouse gas emissions. Just last week, several top members of the center-right Liberal Party resigned over their leader's support for the legislation, according to AP.
Australia is one of the world's largest emitters of carbon dioxide per capita, due to its heavy reliance on coal reserves. And because it is the world's second driest continent after Antarctica, the country is also very vulnerable to climate change.
His holiness said he was happy to be returning to Australia after a visit in June last year. He will not be meeting with Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, but said he's not disappointed, because the main purpose of this visit is to meet with the public.