On November 22nd, an audience of over 120 people deeply interested in climate change assembled for a special screening of Tzu Chi USA’s documentary “Stung by Climate” – “Ça chauffe pour les abeilles”– at the Médiathèque Jacques Thyraud in Romorantin-Lanthenay, the capital of Sologne in France.
Although the theater had 100 seats ready, seeing the crowd that arrived, 20 more were added, and some people were happy just to stand in order to watch this award-winning film, and join the post-screening discussion with the film’s director, Nils Aucante.
“Stung by Climate” takes us to France, Dominican Republic, Haiti, and across the USA, where we learn that beekeepers around the world are deeply concerned about the survival of their colonies, as extreme and unpredictable weather associated with climate change is taking its toll and bees are dying. The accelerating demise of these industrious creatures has serious repercussions for the pollination of crops that we depend on for our global food supply.
The residents of this picturesque town in the Loire Valley have experienced the impact of climate change first hand, as many of the homes here were affected by the flooding that led President François Hollande to declare a natural disaster in France on June 3rd.
Nils, whose own father is a beekeeper, was encouraged to see how well-informed the audience was about bees and environmental issues, which led to an in-depth examination of the challenges we face globally due to climate change. Joining in the conversation were around 40 people affiliated with a major association of environmentalists in the region, Sologne Nature Environnement.
The topic of agriculture practices in the USA came up many times, something of grave concern following the recent election – given that support for environmental protection policies may now be reduced.
Since Tzu Chi France volunteers offered disaster relief in region following the unprecedented flooding over the summer, the foundation is an old friend here. However, many people expressed their surprise that Tzu Chi USA goes beyond humanitarian aid, and is also a prolific producer of documentary films on topics of global concern, including climate change and environmental protection.
Nils shared more about Tzu Chi and our founder Master Cheng Yen, who is a staunch advocate of environmental protection. He also spoke about Tzu Chi’s support for ethical eating, and its launch of Ethical Eating Day, when people can pledge to be vegetarian for a day and explore this as a permanent lifestyle: A large percentage of human-caused greenhouse gases come from the meat industry, so adopting a meatless diet can help combat climate change.
And he concluded by saying that our founder and Tzu Chi are rooted in Buddhist philosophy, which upholds caring for the planet, and showing compassion for every living creature, including bees, to whom we owe so much without even realizing it.