In the past, the major need of people in this world was arable land. Man did not have to think about animate things. However, now the adverse effects on forests through over-population and the development of various chemical elements in the atmosphere have led to irregular rainfall and global warming. This global warming has brought changes in climate, including making perennial snow mountains melt, thereby adversely affecting not only human beings but also other living species.
This dangerous situation is being taken very seriously by the world. In the past the perennial snow mountains of Tibet had very thick snow. Older people say that these mountains were covered with thick snow when they were young and that the snows are getting sparser which may be an indication of the end of the world. It is a fact that climate change is a slow process taking thousands of years to realize its effect. Living beings and plant life on this planet also undergo change accordingly. Man’s physical structure too changes from generation to generation along with the change in climatic conditions.
Because of the growth in the population, a large number of trees are cut for fuel, and to reclaim land for agricultural cultivation. In the case of Tibet, too, the Chinese have now destroyed its ancient trees in a similar way to shaving a man’s hair off. This is not simply the destruction of trees but it also means harming what belongs to the Tibetans. Similarly, the continuing decline in forests in many parts of the world, including America, is adversely affecting the already changing global climate, thus upsetting the lives, not only of mankind, but also of all living beings.
Similarly, the harmful effect on the atmosphere brought about by chemical emissions in industrialized countries is a very dangerous sign. Although this is a new thing for us Tibetans, the world is paying a lot of attention to this problem. It is the responsibility of us, who speak of the welfare of all sentient beings, to contribute towards this.
Since I too have a responsibility in this matter, (i.e. to work for the protection of the environment and to see that the present and future generations of mankind can make use of refreshing shade and fruits of trees), I bought these seeds of fruit-bearing” trees with part of my Nobel Peace Prize money to be distributed now, to people representing different regions (all the continents of the world are represented here) during this Kalachakra gathering. These seeds have been kept near the Kalachakra mandala for purification and blessings. Since these include seeds of apricot, walnut, papaya, guava, etc., suitable for planting under varying geographical conditions, experts in respective places ‘should be consulted on their planting and care and, thus, you all should see my sincere aspiration is fulfilled.
This speech was made during the Kalachakra Initiation at Sarnath. India on December 29. 1990 when His Holiness distributed seeds of fruit-bearing trees to encourage environmental protection through planting.