Below is the keynote speech given by Venerable Master Hsing Yun at the 2010 Buddha’s Light International Association General Conference in Taiwan.

Venerable Master Hsing Yun gives an impassioned plea for all people to acknowledge the damage humankind has done to Earth, and to start taking steps to heal our planet. He rejects despair and surrender, and conveys a strong message of hope and renewal by encouraging people to learn and live our ideals as human beings. This process will give us the power and resourcefulness to clean and preserve the environment for generations to come.

Environmental and Spiritual Preservation
Venerable Master Hsing Yun
Keynote speech given at the
2010 BLIA General Conference
Fo Guang Shan, Taiwan
October 2-7, 2010

Vice-Presidents, Elders, Directors, Chapter Elder-Advisors, Chapter Presidents,
Distinguished Guests, Buddha’s Light Members, greetings to you all!

First I would like to welcome everyone back to Fo Guang Shan (FGS) for the BLIA General Conference. A few months ago, the eruptions of Eyjafjallajokul Volcano and Katla Volcano in Iceland caused major air traffic disruption in Europe. The volcano ash plume spread across the sky, causing serious threats to flight safety and grounded a majority of airplanes in Europe. Not only did the eruptions have a severe impact on the economy, they also caused fear and anxiety in people. Now, almost six months after the eruptions, everything seems to have returned to normal, I feel especially joyous in seeing that everyone from the Five Continents has safely returned to FGS for the conference.

As the volcanic eruption is mentioned, it has been said that the 21st century is an era of environmentalism. Indeed, the United Nations Declaration on the Human Environment (Stockholm Declaration) was introduced in 1972 to raise awareness in environmental preservation. In addition, the United Nations also declared June 5th as World Environment Day (WED) to urge people to realize that we only have one Earth, and that humans and the environment are one and inseparable. The subject of environmental preservation has since been the central focus of the world.

In the years that followed, the United Nations held several Earth summits to discuss environmental issues and passed various international conventions, hoping that through establishing international cooperation and treaties, nations will minimize the emission of carbon dioxide and other toxic gases that are harmful to the ozone layer, and slow down global warming.

However, it is regretful and worrisome to see that, despite the fact that the world has already realized the worsening problem of global warming and destruction of the ecological system, “to value environmental preservation, and rescue the Earth” is still only a slogan to many, and is not being put into real action.