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Environmental Protection

Environmental protection: Resource recovery, River Fire and James Street Recycling Promotion, Tree planting
Environmental protection: Resource recovery, River Fire and James Street Recycling Promotion, Tree planting

In 1990, Master Cheng Yen, upon receiving thunderous applause from the hands of those present at her speech, invited those present to instead put those hands towards environmental protection.

Tzu Chi’s volunteers, regardless of age, social status and background, looked upon their city streets just like the practice of Buddhist teachings, braved dirty conditions and spared no expense to contribute selflessly to the protection of Earth’s environment.

Master has hence started honouring these volunteers as “environmental protection bodhisattvas”, “clean and pure bodhisattvas”, “bodhisattvas who embrace the earth”, “bodhisattvas who are defenders of the environment” or “extraordinary ordinary bodhisattvas”.

In Brisbane, inspired by the government’s implementation of the household recycling program, Tzu Chi’s recycling efforts revolve around collecting and sorting recyclables from businesses with whom a close relationship has been cultivated over the long-term.

Every Wednesday and Saturday morning, Tzu Chi commissioners and Tzu Chi youth members clean and sort recyclables in the space behind the Tzu Chi Brisbane office, collecting over 300 kilograms of recyclables weekly.

In November 2018, with the Queensland Government’s implementation of the “Containers for Change” 10 cent empty bottle recycling program, a noted increase in the recycling of empty bottles was noted. Tzu Chi Brisbane hence increased its focus on recycling non-incentivised recyclables, or for inefficiently recycled products so as to fill in gaps in government initiatives. From 2019, approximately 200kg of corrugated cardboard, 100kg of commercial hard plastics such as air-conditioner cases are recycled weekly. Over 200kg of plastic or metal oil containers are recycled monthly, and materials such as styrofoam and clear plastic bags are also recycled.

At large-scale events such as the annual River Fire held at South Bank every September, and the James Street Food and Wine Trail, Tzu Chi youth members with their distinct blue and white uniforms are always present. Armed with tongs, they can be found cleaning litter from the ground, assisting with environmental protection, as well as promoting recycling to the wider public. At the annual Clean Up Australia Day, the global Tzu Chi Youth can be found answering the occasional call to take part in tree planting, contributing to regeneration of local landscapes.

To fulfil humanity’s endless desires, Earth has been rapidly depleted of resources, and with disasters becoming more commonplace in modern times, humanity should respond with vigilance and piousness, to live in harmony with all life on this Earth.

Environmental Protection

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