The contributing factors to the existential threat of global warming to humankind and all other living things illustrate the Buddha’s concepts of impermanence, interconnectedness, non-self, and emptiness. Using meditation, we can transform an understanding of the details. For instance, we can convert the academic knowledge of the carbon path through living and non-living processes to experiential knowing.  Meditations on emptiness using examples drawn from the science of global warming, one may achieve the transformation from intellectual to experiential as the Dalai Lama says in his 2005 book Essence of the Heart Sutra,

“A deep understanding of emptiness can lead to powerful renunciation, which is the aspiration to free oneself from the suffering of cyclic existence, and it can also serve as the basis for cultivating strong compassion toward all beings. … from learning, reflection, and intellectual understanding; and through meditation on what one has learned, one’s understanding becomes deeper and deeper until one ultimately gains a total clarity of insight.  Here, the individual’s insight into emptiness, while not yet direct, is no longer intellectual or conceptual, but experiential.”

The central idea of Buddhism is to identify and minimize all suffering. Burning fossil fuels has warmed the Earth’s atmosphere and already produced massive suffering. Much of the unrest in developing nations and subsequent migrations of people are the results of climate changes.  The droughts lead to crop failure and famine, sea-level rise results in more frequent flooding in coastal areas worldwide, wildfires are made worse in all nations by unseasonable dry weather and changing wind patterns that result in deaths of people and wildlife, all result in massive suffering.  This suffering is now.