The Invasion of Waste — 6

By Matthieu Ricard on February 24, 2012

Excerpts from Matthieu Ricard's preface to Didier Ruef's ‟Recycle”
The future does not hurt… for the moment.

As His Holiness the Dalai Lama has repeatedly stressed, interdependence is a key concept in Buddhism that leads to a profound under¬standing of the nature of reality and an awareness of the universal responsibility that we bear all. Considering that all beings are interrelated and that all, without exception, want to avoid suffering and yearn for happiness, this understanding is the basis of altruism and compassion and leads us naturally to the practice of non-violence towards all human beings and animals and respect for the environment.

People react strongly against an immediate danger. It is difficult however to feel emotionally involved with a problem that will occur in ten or twenty years. They rarely feel the need to change their attitudes to a situation that will affect them in the future or which will affect the next generation. They say: ‟We'll see when it happens.” They dread the idea of foregoing immediate pleasures only because these rewards will have disastrous long-term consequences. Their actions are motivated by the desire to avoid stress in the immediate future.

All this stems from an inveterate tendency towards indifference to danger which does not threaten our selfishness in the present moment. The future does not hurt, at least not yet. Should we welcome the call to ignore the future - or appeal to wisdom and altruism in order to have more consideration for those who suffer from the proliferation of waste and those who are likely to suffer even more in generations to come?