LJM Engages International Youth in Environmental Protection for Marine Ecology under its

LJM Engages International Youth in Environmental Protection for Marine Ecology under itsDharma Master Hsin Tao, Founding Abbot of the Ling Jiou Mountain Buddhist Society(LJM), has been consistent in making an all-out effort to promote the ‘Loving the Earth, Loving Peace’ ideal while seeing to it that the long-term environment campaign take a deep rooting among the youth. A case in point is the recent event ‘Here On Earth: Ocean Water’ that attracted 50 young people aged 14-19 from Taipei, London, and New York to participate in an ad hoc project that aims at equipping the young with media skill sets for their collective cause of environmental protection. The group of young goodwill ambassadors focused on courses shared by experts with cross-domain specialties that cover website curating, image and sound know-how and social media education. The project was co-organized by LJM's future University for Life & Peace and the Chan Space of New York.

The ‘Here On Earth: Ocean Water’ project ( http://hereonearth.world ) is an education campaign focusing on environmental protection first and foremost, with a media skill set as a complementary objective. Dharma Master Xien Yueh, Chief Executive of the future University for Life & Peace, pointed out that both the promotion of ideals as well as the education for the young have always been part and parcel of the ‘Loving the Earth’ long-term dedication to which Dharma Master Hsin Tao commits himself. The theme of the ‘Loving the Earth’ endeavor has a strong mass appeal for its tangible substance, and people cooperate seamlessly on the basis of solidarity once a consensus is achieved. Dharma Master Hsin Tao has desired an LJM-platform for the ‘Loving the Earth’ campaign for input, inspirations, and interactions to gel and gyrate so that ecology stays at the forefront of people's and the world's attention.

The recent ‘Here On Earth: Ocean Water’ project was part of the activity series of the ‘Loving the Earth, Loving Peace’ campaign, echoing the May 2020 on-line concert in New York with the event title ‘The Sound of Peace: A Concert in Appreciation of Mother Earth’ that set out to calm people's nerves and anxiety in a pandemic with a prayer for peace on Earth. An extension of the ‘Here on Earth: Ocean Water’ project will see the recruitment of environmental volunteers in the second year-half of 2021 to once again substantiate LJM's collective effort and dedication to the promotion and implementation of the ‘Loving the Earth, Loving Peace’ ideals.

Master Xien Yueh also said that adolescence is a critical period for the young because it covers their formative years. Young people have their own views and sensitivity for matters and issues that often differ from those of the adults. The years 2030 and 2050 are yet further tipping points of the Earth's crises when it will fall on the shoulders of today's young to rise to the occasion and tackle the impacts on ecology. To that end, it is essential that our future opinion leaders and influencers be equipped with sensitivity and a sense of urgency for ecology. Thus accordingly, it suffices to say that the recent education project was offered to awaken the five senses of the participants for connections with the world on top of their personal identity as an earthling.

The first program was about how to focus your vision when you look and the practice of the Peace Chan Meditation, which led the students to experience a harmonious unison with Nature and a peaceful bliss from it. On the other hand, the feedback from the students indicated a widely shared affinity toward the oceans. Then a field trip for first-hand encounter with oceanic ecology delivered a dire contrast to what had been thought of the oceans and what was actually happening right before people's eyes. The ecology crisis prompted the students to put to good use what they learned from their media program to appeal to the world with creative video productions for timely actions to curb further damages to the oceans. The Millennials go digital for their approach to healing the Earth.

The future of Nature and humankind hinges on whether today's young people will have amassed enough wisdom and determination to handle and harness ecology issues. We hasten to point out that by a spiritual ecology, Dharma Master Hsin Tao promotes the notion beyond mankind to include all life forms and all sentient beings. In a human-centric context, greed-driven consumption of resources has become a reckless push toward exploitation-cum-depletion. When the viewpoint changes to that from an angle of spiritual ecology, the way things work changes accordingly. And that is roughly the basic concept of an interdependent co-existence, a diversified symbiosis, and an inter-reliant mutual complementation.

Master Guang Guo of LJM's Chan Space New York is of the opinion that the project functioned to enable cross-national and -cultural exchanges for the young people to immerse in the ambience of ‘Loving the Earth’ for subliminal persuasion. The time difference required some of the participants to log in for online sessions at night, with many Zoom meetings past midnight. The impressive attendance was a clear sign of strong enthusiasm and the project was a window on how cross-silo and -domain co-operations can be optimized for future operations to go global with the ‘Loving the Earth’ ideal.

Master Xien Yueh further pointed out that for two consecutive years the future University for Life & Peace ran the Winter School as its pre-launch pilot program, and eminent scholars and experts put their heads together to strategize the best possible structure and design for the University's curriculum and syllabus that center on ecology. The framework structure for ecology issues to tackle by young participants of the ‘Here On Earth: Ocean Water’ project actually came from people who enrolled for the Winter School earlier. Lieke Friederichs of Winter School 2019, for instance, will join the young people in February to share his expertise in water resources research of the Netherlands with a topic on ‘International Water Resources Management’.

An avid LJM follower who has been living in New York for many years, LU Jih-Lan helped Chan Space New York curate the Mother's Day concert in May 2020, again took the initiative in organizing an international task force consisting of environmental volunteers to help manifest Dharma Master Hsin Tao's sustainability campaign. It made perfect sense that co-organizers of the ‘Here On Earth: Ocean Water’ project reserved no efforts in pooling resources to benefit the young participants by optimal exposure to a well put-together program.

The ‘Here On Earth: Ocean Water’ project spans from November 2020 to April 2021 with a goal to produce a theme movie about environmental protection for the oceans. A wrap-up exhibition has also been planned. The project also secured the endorsement from international parties including a professional body for media education, the Magic Box Productions; the ‘Voice of the Young’ Podcast site under Taiwan's Fubon Cultural Foundation; and the Wick Poetry Center of the Ohio State University in the U.S. for the promotion of interactive media on environmental issues.

The Earth is faced with severe ecology crises, many of which are directly linked to the oceans for their sheer mass that occupies a vast portion of the Earth's surface. Of LJM's environmental initiatives, a fair portion remains dedicated to water-related concerns such as a series of long-term beach cleaning programs in Taiwan and the LJM's eco-friendly farming in Myanmar. And, in terms of vehicles and platforms to manifest the dedication to sustainability, examples abound that range from the youth campaign presently discussed to the spiritual ecology as embraced by the future University's pilot programs, all sharing a common element of internationality for all the footprint in the LJM tradition. Dharma Master Hsin Tao firmly believes that ecology can also be viewed as a chain of inter-related mechanisms - hence the butterfly effect. “When you treat people and matters with love, there will be positivity, and with that, positive changes happen to our physical world.” That is the reason Master Hsin Tao initiated the ‘Loving the Earth, Loving Peace’ campaign, and his commitment remains unwavering.