Not carbon negative, no Bodhisattva. Not carbon negative, no sangha.

These are the two hindrances to serious Buddhism that are forced upon us inescapably at this unique moment in the histories of civilization, of the hominids, and above all in the history of life at large – with historiographic orders of temporal extension ranging from a century, across the Holocene (now gone) and across the recent periods of glaciations, perhaps down to microbial times of life, certainly embracing the history of mammals…

You know what I’m talking about… Earth is no longer flat. It is seriously out of whack, particularly its carbon cycle. Suddenly we can no longer afford hominid navel gazing. Is and Ought are no longer disconnected. We need to make serious contact with the ground of Being

This very century we have both the past and the future of Life in our hands. On the one hand it will be decided how much of millions of years of Mother Evolution’s hard work will get wasted and rendered vain in the 6th Great Extinction whose beginning we now witness. On the other hand it is down to our survival or our extinction and the stupid we perpetrate on the way to either, or not, if Mother Evolution needs and gets a second chance, perhaps only to fail again, fatally then, by evolving the same insane “sapiens” once more… Time and chance is finite: The sun grows hotter.

So, the Dalai Lama, Thich Nhat Hanh, Stephen & Martine Batchelor, Joanna Macy, etc. etc. can’t be bodhisattvas? (They might be compensating their air travel carbon footprint by contributing to forestry. This is good but ultimately only greenhouse-non-positive.)

So, what is missing? Why can’t they be bodhisattas? They could, if there were a carbon negative sangha. For, the challenge of our time need not be burdened individually. Some fossil carbon is worth being burnt.


But is there any way?

From Bellamy et al.:

More than twice as much carbon is held in soils as in vegetation or the atmosphere, and changes in soil carbon content can have a large effect on the global carbon budget.

Massive reforestation alone would not solve the climate problem. But a massive build-up of soil could help. The key to the future (if Homo S “Sapiens” is any interested) would be a carbon negative agriculture building soil instead of destroying it. (Plus, trivially, cease burning fossil carbon.) There is a simple stone age tech tool that helps a lot in that effort: Char coal. A bodhisattva dwelling in a Himalayan cave could instantly go carbon negative by just peeing into his fire place (to the dismay of Sigmund Freud) every evening and mix the char into the compost…

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