Climate and Compassion: Buddhist Contribution to an Ethics of Intergenerational Justice
Over the last century, the world's urban population increased from 224 million to over 3.5 billion, and advances in manufacturing, transportation, and communication technologies brought virtually limitless lifestyle and identity options, as well as the greatest inequalities of wealth, risk, and opportunity in history. Yet, as momentous as these changes are, they are dwarfed by the fact that human activity is now affecting planetary processes like climate. Justice concerns about future generations are no longer academic curiosities; they are global ethical imperatives. This talk by Dr. Peter D. Hershock (director of the Asian Studies Development Program at the East-West Center) builds on recent efforts to craft an ethics of global justice around the "social emotion" of compassion, making use of Buddhist conceptual resources to de-link justice from fictions of equality and conceive it, instead, as a dynamic function of relationally-achieved equity and diversity.