The calendar says that the end of Winter is just a couple of weeks away, but you could have fooled me! I think we are already in Spring. We haven’t seen any significant precipitation since December. The last couple of weeks have seen temperatures in the upper 60’s to even 80 degrees. Many of the trees and plants have already begun blooming. And then in this week’s paper (yes, I still read an actual newspaper!) it was reported that in the West, the last 20 years has been the driest period of time in over 1200 years! I haven’t been here for 1200 years, but I certainly know that it doesn’t rain like it used to when I was younger.
So, climate change is real and its impact on our drought can be seen all around us. It may seem overwhelming, but everyone can do something to help. I’m sure you all have heard of the suggestions for reducing water usage ranging from turning off the water when brushing your teeth all the way up to eliminating your lawn and replacing it with drought resistant plants…plus many others in-between. Of course, there are other, larger projects under discussion such as adding more reservoirs, increasing water recycling and building desalination plants. All of these address the current problem…climate change induced drought. However, they do not address the underlying issue…reducing greenhouse gas emissions that are impacting the climate.
As Buddhists, we are all concerned about our relationship with the environment. What can we do to reduce our impact on that environment? If you are interested, I hope that you will join our own EcoSangha group as they have initiated many projects within the Sangha to help address these impacts.
The Betsuin itself, will soon embark on its own project…Generations Phase II. This goal of this project is to replace the current Education building. A “sub-goal” if you will, is make this project carbon neutral. Carbon is a major contributor to global warming and therefore, to climate change. Carbon neutral means that you eliminate as much carbon as you release into the atmosphere. Our new building will utilize CLT (cross laminated timber) for much of the structure. Instead of using common building materials like steel or concrete (which release lots of carbon dioxide in their manufacture), CLT is essentially wood. Wood contains carbon, but retains that carbon if it is not burned. Therefore, we will not be releasing anywhere near as much carbon as we would have by using more conventional building materials. From an overall project standpoint, it also requires less construction time thereby reducing the impact of noise/dust on the surrounding community. Expect to see much more information about the new building as we embark on our fundraising efforts.