Amitofo Care Centre (ACC) is a Buddhist orphanage home dedicated to help Africa with Buddhism

2012-01-08 'Environmental conservation' by Ben Chun

An article by Ben Chun, a dedicated volunteer at ACC Malawi, on the importance of environmental preservation and ACC's efforts in raising environmental awareness among the kids

For countless years, beings have always relied on the environment for resources that cater for basic needs such as food and shelter. However, the consumptions of natural resources have increased dramatically and as a result many species have vanished or they are on the blink of disappearing. Humans have been one of the species which has increased in number dramatically and are increasingly relying on the environment for basic needs as well as luxuries.

Today most of our natural trees have bowed at the hands of humans - they have been cut down to support the ever growing population. For this reason, we have thought it well to continue the existing effort of the planting of trees as one way to teach the children on how to respect and preserve the environment.

It is beneficial to engage the children in this process as it allows them to connect with nature and become more environmentally conscious. Being a charity organization ACC has the responsibility to ensure that every child becomes a responsible citizen of a society, and therefore we continuously raise environmental awareness among them and educates them on issues such as climate change and ecosystem degradation.

As world leaders struggle to agree on a solution to address the issue of climate change, we believe that actions can already be taken within our communities to tackle this global issue and help in restoring our ecosystems. At ACC we teach the children about the importance of environmental conservation - this perfectly resonates with Buddhist teachings which emphasize on love and compassion. The children understand that one needs to show respect towards other living and non-living beings who also rely on the environment – the same environment which humans are increasingly damaging due to an unconscious way of consumptions.

Furthermore, ACC not only teaches the children how to grow a tree but also encourages them to share the fruits with other people – putting love and compassion into action in their daily lives. In Malawi 75% of the population live in rural areas where electricity is either unavailable or unaffordable. They rely heavily on woods or charcoals for cooking and other needs and therefore the planting of trees will also help these rural communities in sustaining their livelihoods.

The world lost its connection with nature and it is only by re-connecting with the environment that some future calamities can be avoided. Without doubt, the ACC children understand this and will be reminded of this by the trees they’ve planted with their own love and care. The meaning behind tree-planting will always be with them wherever they go and I have no doubt in my mind that it will help them in finding happiness by connecting with nature.