14 BUDDHIST APPROACH TO RESPONSIBLE CONSUMPTION AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT WITH SPECIAL REFERENCE TO CAMBODIA

Thứ năm - 09/05/2019 13:01
by Jasrotia Sonia




 
BUDDHISAPPROACTRESPONSIBLE CONSUMPTION AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT WITH SPECIAL REFERENCE TO CAMBODIA

 
by Jasrotia Sonia*





ABSTRACT

Sustainable development is a burning topic of discussion in expansion and development from the time when the industrial revolution, development mainly focused on economic progress in consumption, construction, and industrial growth with technical advancement. Human and social development as well as the environment has not much received careful consideration, and all three have deteriorated. In June 1972, Stockholm, the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment is considered as a milestone in the sustainable development. Meanwhile, the global environmental situation has been deteriorating, even though organizations working worldwide to solve this problem. In just a decade Cambodia has changed dramatically for example more exposed to the world with that consumption increased which resulted deforestation and other environmental changes. This paper deals with analytical review and discussion on essential concepts from Buddhist perspectives. It also suggests a new idea and approach for sustainable development Cambodia with reasonable consumption of resources.



*. Prof. Dr., Department of Buddhist Studies University of Jammu,Jammu and Kashmir, India.
 


Environment economics has become a matter of discussion now a days. The subject is dominating globally even after 47 years of the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment, held in Stockholm in June 1972. It is officially considered as the start of global concern towards the international environment. The global environmental situation has been deteriorating, even though organizations all over the world have put in efforts to solve this problem. Why we are lacking? What is the reason behind? These questions are still haunting. The Industrial Revolution was major turning point in history; almost every aspect of daily life and also influenced the average income and population began to exhibit unprecedented sustained growth. Some economists also explain it as the major impact was that the standard of living for the general population began to increase consistently for the first time in history, but human and social development as well as the environment were not handled carefully, and all three have deteriorated. With this we have experienced social, environmental, and psychological problems which are driven mainly by economic growth. Sustainable development and responsible consumption has become a topic of interest globally. Now the question arises what we have learnt from last 47 years? We are still struggling in between the, reasonable consumption and modernization. In 2019 we are aware of environmental problems and thinking on sustainable development and reasonable consumption. In this techno world or global village at least an ordinary person on streets express concerns about the environment and the consequences, which shows that everyone is aware of the environmental problems. Meanwhile, the global environmental problem has been worsen, many organizations are putting efforts to solve this problem. Many movements are active for sustainable development. Since the 1992 UN conference which was held in Rio, even though Prime ministers and governments adopted Agenda 21 at Rio still the environmental problems have not been fixed efficiently, grown poorer. Noticeably there are huge gaps in implementation of sustainable development program. It is important to speed up campaigns of sustainable development with focus on forest growth concepts, social and environmental aspects. Southeast Asia virtually lies between the tropics, and became a meeting place for trade between India and China, the two
 


great markets of Asia. Southeast Asia consists of eleven countries divided into mainlandand islandzones. Burma, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam comes under mainland and I choose Cambodia for research on deforestation and how achieve the sustainable development as development is also important. This research, therefore, aims to study the deforestation done in last 25 years and how to achieve the goal of sustainable development successfully with Buddhist Approach to Responsible Consumption in Cambodia. Why I choose this topic because I observed the changes within three years which  is  eye-opening.  Cambodia lies entirely within the tropics, between latitudes 10° and 15°N, and longitudes 102° and 108°E. The north and west it borders to Thailand, Laos to the northeast, and Vietnam to the east and southeast. Cambodia, (Kampuchea) is land of Buddhism. Cambodians ethnically and historically known as the Khmers. Cambodia has a population of 16 million, of which the Khmers are 94 percent and other ethnic groups are of Vietnamese and Chinese origins.



Cambodian history is full of oscillations though in spite of ups and downs Buddhism existed in Cambodia till now. The Kingdom of Cambodia is a constitutional monarchy, guided by principles of liberal democracy and pluralism (Article 51 of the Constitution). The Khmer Rouge was overthrown by the members of the Khmer Rouge itself with assistance from neighboring countries in 1979. The new socialist Peoples Republic of Kampuchea was established and continued 1993 until the general election.1 This country was

 
  1. Harris. Ian, Cambodian Buddhism history and Practice, chapter.04, page no: 119-120,
 


trying to regain the strength. New laws were prepared and Protection of environment Article 59 was also added in that. In this article it is stated that the Ownership of natural resources The State shall protect the environment and the balance of natural resources and establish a precise plan for the management of land, water, airspace, wind, geology, ecological systems, mines, oil and gas, rocks and sand, gems, forests and forestry products, wildlife, fish and aquatic resources,2 but these laws are just on papers, it is not effective on ground as the rate of deforestation in Cambodia is one of the highest in the world and it is perceived as the most negative, singular environmental issue in the country. In 1969 - 1970 the primary forest cover was 70%.


Satellite imagery from Google Earth show rubber plantations and associated deforestation ramping up over the past six years. (The NASA imagery)

NASA released before-and-after satellite images in 2017, according to Morgan Erickson-Davis Senior Forests Editor at Mongabay.com shows concern in her writing by showing data on deforestation that Cambodia lost around 1.59 million hectares of tree cover between 2001 and 2014, and just 3 percent remains covered in primary forest. She also explains that government-



Publisher: University of Hawaii Press, 2005.
  1. Constitution of the Kingdom of Cambodia, 1993 (Article 59).
 


sanctioned timber harvesting, Cambodia also has a problem with illegal logging, and with research finding around 90 percent of the countrys timber production is illegally procured. These are the major concern in Cambodia. Cambodian government also taken action recently, in which government granting official protection to large swaths of threatened forest in 2016, as well as declaring a new national park. The deforestation involves the local population, Cambodian businesses and authorities as well as transnational corporations from all over the world. It is due to corruption and to earn more profit. Study has found that due to deforestation, risk of diarrhea, acute respiratory infection and fever in children is increased. This research is alarming about the coming dangers in future. I have seen in my three years of stay that a small island called Diamond Island (Fake Paris of Phnom Penh) changed in just three years. It is changed into commercial hub with all the construction.

Article 61 of Cambodian constitution explains that The State shall promote economic development in all sectors and particularly in remote areas, especially in agriculture, handicrafts and industry, with attention to policies on water, electricity, roads and means of transportation, modem technology and credit systems3.

In the 2010s, the Cambodian government and educational system has increased its involvement and co-operation with both national and international environmental groups

Government can make plans and implement. It is the duty of government to take responsibility; but it is also the duty of a countrymen or individual as suggested in Buddhist teachings. It is also important for successful implementation of the program done by the government; if we are not willing to preserve environment and resources for future generations then no one can help us. It is the Buddhist approach which is important for sustainable development and reasonable  and responsible consumption. Environmental transformation with the help of Buddhist approach is the ray of hope for the future generations. Nature is treasured in Pali canon. Trees are closed to Buddhas life, three important event

 
  1. Constitution of the Kingdom of Cambodia, 1993 (Article 61).
 


of his life are witnessed under the tree; His birth, Enlightenment and Mahaparinirvana4.

Yassa rukkhassa chayaya nisadeyya sayeyya va

Na tassa sakkam bhajeyya mittadubhato papako.”

The verse illustrate as, one sit under the shade of tree, one should not cut its branches, and if one does that he is an evil. Buddhist ecological teaching condemns the person who breaks the branch of a tree which gives him shade as the above verses explained. Buddha made disciplinary rule for monks and nuns not to travel during the rainy season. Everyone should stay at one place and practice the teachings after realizing that many tiny green grasses and plants of fields and forests being destroyed while travelling5. This didn’t show that in Buddhism tree is worshiped but protection of trees and environment was in practice. At the time of Buddha ecology ethics encouraged the monks to protect and conserve the nature6. These ecological ethics are needed in day todays life for responsible consumption to encourage sustainable development. Buddhism always highlighted that greed and lust is big hurdle for development spiritual potential. Mahatma Gandhi also explained that, the world has enough resources to satisfy every ones needs, but not enough resources to satisfy everyones greed. Here second and third Nobel truths is important because Individual is suffering because of desire for luxurious living which develop his craving, greed and ignorance. For such luxurious living, man has created huge factories which needs more production and more material, occupying land, destroying forest for more production. Turning forestlands into commercial sectors resulting floods in Cambodia. The rapid deforestation is increasing of sea levels, Icebergs are melting these are the outcome of the human greed for luxurious living. Greed bring sorrow and corruption. Buddhism advocates the virtues of non-greed, non-hatred and non-delusion in all human pursuits. Cambodia is a Buddhist country and almost 97% of population

 
  1. Singh.K.Arvind, Buddhist Virtues in Social-Economic Development, ICDV Conference Volume, 417, Thailand, 2011.
  2. Batchelor.M and Brown Kerry, Buddhism and Ecology,(Edited),18, Motilal Banarsidass, Delhi, 1994.
  3. Kuttadanta Sutta, Digha Nikaya, Vol-01, Sutta no-05, Nalanda Edition, 1956.
 


is Buddhist still the rate of deforestation in Cambodia is very high. It is important to practice Buddhist virtues for sustainable development. Psychological training of Buddhist virtues are recommended for all official and the businessmen so that they can understand the importance of forest. This desire will take them to a dangers point. Corruption is the biggest reason behind imbalance. Human being must learn to satisfy his needs and not to increase his greeds. The forest wealth is not indefinite and mans greed did not knows limit. Modern man is uncontrolled and his greed for luxury and pleasure has destroyed nature badly. Buddhism promotes non-aggressive attitude towards nature. Government of Cambodia is taking small steps toward sustainable and reasonable consumption by introducing a new National Environmental Strategy and Action Plan (NESAP). It is approved by the Royal Government of Cambodia in December 2018. It contains new ideas for how to incite a green and environmentally sustainable growth for the country. These are the points: - Assessing the potential socioeconomic benefits of improved environmental sustainability by reviewing the current status of environment and natural resources in the country, analyzing key drivers of environment and natural resources change and reviewing the implementation performance of existing development strategies on environment, green growth, and sustainable development and identifying key lessons and so on7. This is a welcome step taken by the Royal government of Cambodia, still how much it will be implemented on ground is another case. In Cambodia E. F. Schumacher Buddhist economics can work. He explained in his work that Right Livelihoodis one of the requirements of the Buddhas Noble Eightfold Path. The Middle Way in consumption should be introduced with the help of that responsible consumption can lead the country to sustainable development. He claims that aim should be to obtain the maximum of well-being with the minimum of consumption.8
To conclude it is important that there is need to sensitize local

 
  1. www.gms-eoc.org/national-environment-strategy-and-action-plan-cambodia-2015
  2. Schumacher.E.F, Buddhist Economics. In Asia: A Handbook, edited by Guy Wint. London:  1966.



people, businessman. It is also important for government officials that they should take middle path for sustainable development. It is only reasonable consumption which can balance the disaster or can protect us from the future adversity. Government of Cambodia can take major steps in curbing the corruption which can restrict the illegal cutting and exporting. The article 51 in constitution of Cambodia, Protection of environment should be implemented strongly. Small steps taken by the government in favor reasonable consumption and sustainable development can make changes. NGOs working for the development of sustainable development should come forward strongly and can educate people about the importance of forest and alert them about the consequences. Here monasteries and Buddhist monks can play vital role by guiding people to implement Buddhist teaching in practice.







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