The Cherish the Earth cards highlight environmental issues around the world, with quotations specially written by His Holiness Ogyen Trinley Dorje, the 17th Karmapa and head of the Karma Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism (https://kagyuoffice.org/). Half of the profits from card sales are donated to environmental projects chosen by the Karmapa, a passionate advocate for environmental protection. This year we were able to make a donation of £1000 to Trees for Life, a registered charity working to restore the Caledonian Forest and its unique wildlife to the Scottish Highlands (https://treesforlife.org.uk/). My wife and I volunteered for Trees for Life back in the 1990s, planting trees in Glen Affric. In view of the climate emergency and public concern about environmental issues, it is great to be able to make a contribution to Trees for Life this year and to support their fantastic work in the northern highlands.
A recent BBC report stated that “A study of pictures of Earth by night has revealed that artificial light is growing brighter and more extensive every year. Between 2012 and 2016, the planet’s artificially lit outdoor area grew by more than 2% per year. Scientists say a “loss of night” in many countries is having negative consequences for “flora, fauna, and human well-being”.
Many people never see the stars properly, or even at all, due to the amount of light pollution in towns and cities across the world. There has also been a surge of interest in the night sky, and this is reflected by the huge popularity of the Northumberland International Dark Sky Park, the largest area of protected night sky in Europe, covering 572 square miles (1,483 square kilometres). The area was awarded gold status designation in 2013 by the International Dark Sky Association in Tucson, Arizona, the world authority on light pollution. This status means that controls are now in place to prevent light pollution and to protect the night sky.
This greeting card in the Cherish the Earth series shows the stars over Sycamore Gap on Hadrian’s Wall, Northumberland National Park, with an accompanying quotation by His Holiness the 17th Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje, head of the Karma Kagyu lineage and one of the most eminent figures in Tibetan Buddhism: “When we can appreciate beauty, and feel awe and wonder at nature, we have the basis to dedicate ourselves to environmental protection.” The Karmapa is well known for his interest and commitment to environmental issues, as well as social justice for all. He frequently highlights the issues in his teachings and life’s work.
There are twelve cards in the series, ranging from honeybees to Himalayan mountains, wildlife to oceans, and there has been a wonderful response since publication. They are also available from the shops at Kagyu Samye Ling, near Eskdalemuir, Scotland, and Kagyu Samye Dzong London.
There has been so much publicity recently about plastics and pollution that there has been a massive increase in public awareness of the global environmental impact of the unrestrained use of plastics. In the sea, plastic pollution is mostly invisible until it washes up on the shoreline, yet the ‘invisible’ aspect is more disturbing – microscopic particles of plastic are now found throughout the marine environment and food chain. This card in the Cherish the Earth series shows a crashing wave in Cornwall, with an accompanying quotation by His Holiness the 17th Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje, head of the Karma Kagyu lineage and one of the most eminent figures in Tibetan Buddhism: “Environmental degradation is far more complex than anything we alone can tackle, but if we can all contribute a single drop of clean water, those drops will accumulate into a clear stream and eventually a vast pure ocean. This is my aspiration.” The Karmapa is well known for his interest and commitment to environmental issues, as well as social justice for all. He frequently highlights the issues in his teachings and life’s work.