On Saturday night, the Tibetan spiritual leader released a statement stressing the “urgent reality” of climate change and rallying people across the globe to protect the planet “not only for ourselves, but also for future generations.”
His Holiness said: “Global warming is an urgent reality. None of us is able to change the past. But we are all in a position to contribute to a better future.
“Indeed, we have a responsibility to ourselves and to the more than seven billion human beings alive today to ensure that all of us can continue to live in peace and safety. With hope and determination, we must take care of both our own lives and those of all our neighbours.”
“Today, we need to address the future not with prayers prompted by fear, but by taking realistic action founded on scientific understanding. The inhabitants of our planet are interdependent as never before. Everything we do affects our human companions, as well as innumerable animal and plant species.”
He added: “As we face this crisis together, it is imperative that we act in a spirit of solidarity and cooperation in order to limit its consequences. I hope and pray that our leaders will gather the strength to take collective action to address this emergency, and set a timetable for change. We have to act to make this a safer, greener, happier world.”
He continued: “We human beings are the only creatures with the power to destroy the earth, but we are also the species with the greatest capacity to protect it.
“We must confront issues of climate change on a cooperative global level for everyone’s benefit. But we must also do what we can on a personal level.
Even small daily actions, such as how we use water and how we dispose of what we don’t need, have consequences. We must make taking care of our natural environment a part of our daily life, and learn what science has to teach us.”
Reports suggest the Dalai Lama has not been invited to the upcoming COP26 climate conference.
Tenzin Gyatso, 86, has been the current Dalai Lama since 1940.
Earlier in the month Pope Francis and leaders representing the world’s major religions met at the Vatican to sign an appeal highlighting the ‘grave threat’ of climate change.
The appeal was handed by the pontiff to Alok Sharma, the COP26 president and Luigi di Maio, Italy’s foreign minister.
One key figure missing was the Dalai Lama, the Tibetan Buddhist leader, who was not invited to avoid antagonising China.
Speaking before the conference, Archbishop Paul Gallagher, the Vatican’s foreign minister, spoke of the Dalai Lama’s absence.
He said: “His Holiness the Dalai Lama knows how well he is respected here by the Holy See but he also appreciates that our relations [with China] are complicated and difficult.”
Mr Gallagher added: “He has always respected that and we appreciate that very much and so the dialogue goes on with Buddhism on many, many levels.”