Baxter Pharr: Time to move climate bill |

Baxter Pharr: Time to move climate bill

Baxter Pharr

Thich Nhat Hanh is a Buddhist monk who grew up in Vietnam during the Vietnamese War. In 1966, he flew to Washington, DC and met with Defense Secretary Robert McNamara. During this meeting he urged McNamara to end the Vietnam War. At this time, the U.S. was dropping bombs with napalm and agent orange all over Vietnamese villages. Napalm is a highly flammable material which burned numerous homes and villages. Some of you may remember the famous photo of Vietnamese children running naked from their village with second and third degree burns over their bodies. Agent orange was a cancer-causing defoliant that resulted in an estimated 400,000 deaths and disabilities and 500,000 children born with birth defects. Shortly after meeting with Thich Nhat Hanh, Robert McNamara became convinced that the war was a terrible mistake (watch the movie “The Fog of War”) and, after the glacially slow responses of the Johnson and Nixon administrations, the U.S. withdrew all troops from Vietnam in 1975. For his actions, Thich Nhat Hanh was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

In his important book “The World We Have,” Thich Nhat Hanh states: “I have sat with the Buddha for a long time and consulted him about the issue of global warming, and the teaching of the Buddha is very clear. If we continue to live as we have been living, consuming without a thought for the future, destroying our forests and emitting greenhouse gases, then devastating climate change is inevitable. Much of our ecosystem will be destroyed. Sea levels will rise and coastal cities will be inundated, forcing hundreds of millions of refugees from their homes, creating wars and outbreaks of infectious disease.”

These are interesting words to contemplate considering that the U.S. Senate has been sitting on the bill that the U.S. House sent them over six months ago. Please e-mail Senator Harry Reid (the Senate Majority leader) at and ask him why the U.S. Senate has taken no action on this issue. You may want to remind him that a recent NBC/WSJ poll showed Congress’ approval rating at 17 percent. In fact, 50 percent of those polled said they would vote all members of Congress out of office if they could! Maybe THIS will get his attention! Remember Margaret Mead’s famous words: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed it’s the only thing that ever has.”

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