Middle Way Thoughts 1: Climate Change

Barry is unable to do a podcast this Summer_Arctic_Melt_Pond-SHEBAweek as he is on retreat. Instead, I’m offering the first of a new format of occasional video talks on important issues. My topic is how the Middle Way can inform our approach to Climate Change.

Transcript: Middle Way Thoughts 1 Climate Change


About Robert M Ellis

Robert M Ellis is the founder and chair of the Middle Way Society, and author of a number of books on Middle Way Philosophy, including the introductory 'Migglism' and the more in-depth 'Middle Way Philosophy' series. He has a Christian background, and about 20 years' past experience of practising Buddhism, but it was his Ph.D. studies in Philosophy that set him on the track of developing a systematic account of the Middle Way beyond any specific tradition. He has earned his living mainly by teaching, and more recently by online tutoring.

2 thoughts on “Middle Way Thoughts 1: Climate Change

  1. If you compare this talk to the ones I did on last summer’s retreat (see ‘audio’ section), this one is more fluent because scripted. I was expecting that scripted and more fluent would be better, but Barry tells me that he prefers the unscripted approach as in the retreat talks, where I was just expanding from notes, and that he finds that more accessible. I’d be interested to hear anyone else’s reaction. Do you prefer scripted or unscripted?

  2. Hi Robert,

    I differ from Barry here, in that I prefer this presentation method for the purposes of an on-line video. I think that the scripted nature gives a greater degree of professionalism and makes the thread of the argument easier to follow.

    However, I think that the less formal style that is used in the retreat talks should remain for ‘live’ presentation – which of course should be recorded and posted too. Both styles have their place.

    On this video itself, I think that it is pitched at just the right level and you have managed to avoid some of the ‘philosophical’ phrases and terminology that can be bewildering for those of us not educated in this particular field. Of course, these expressions and ideas are appropriate in many of your posts, but for a video that is for general viewing on youtube (and might serve as an introduction to the society) then this level of relative simplicity seems wholly appropriate.

    I agree entirely with your synopsis of the issue of climate change and would strongly support the idea that the inherent (and unavoidable) uncertainty of the science is misrepresented and used to the advantage of those that dogmatically deny it’s existence. The response of some scientists and campaigners on the other side of the debate has been to dogmatically claim that man-made climate change is an undeniable truth – neither point of view is helpful – with each only strengthening the resolve of the other.

    I am also pleased with your treatment of the meat and dairy trade, which again mirrors my own attitude to these products. It could have been easy for you, as a vegan, to take a dogmatic higher ground, but in the spirit of the Middle Way you have shown that we can make real, incremental changes to our lifestyle and diet. Two organisation that are worth mentioning here are Food Tank (http://foodtank.com) and Compassion in World Farming (http://www.ciwf.org.uk). Both do good works with regards to the production of food. We also follow both on twitter, with Food Tank – and it’s president Danielle Nierenberg – following us back.


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