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Lions Roar : September 2008
SHAMBHALA SUN SEPTEMBER 2008 23 argue he got from the Algonquin), and his inheritors include Martin Luther King, Jr. and his doctrine of agape. Along with Gandhi’s nonviolent tactics, King embraced the idea (both Gandhian and Emersonian) of a relatedness, reflexiv- ity, and purifying dynamic between opponents that makes nonvi- olence so powerful. In his final sermon, King expressed this view in terms that clearly address our environmental predicament: Through our scientific and technological genius, we have made of this world a neighborhood and yet we have not had the ethical commitment to make of it a brotherhood... We must all learn to live together as brothers or we will all perish together as fools. We are tied together in the single garment of destiny, caught in an inescapable network of mutuality. For some strange reason I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. And you can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be. This contains a clue to a deeper resonance of satyagraha to the climate movement. That dimension of inner, personal recti- tude— “what I ought to be”—holds the key to righting others and The Global Gandhi According to Gandhi’s teachings on satyagraha, or “truth force,” inner transformation is the key to social change. DIANA CALTHORPE ROSE says the power of satyagraha is what the world needs to solve the crisis of global warming. THE NONVIOLENT POWER OF SATYAGRAHA inspired one of the most powerful social change movements the world has ever known, the Indian struggle for indepen- dence led by Mahatma Gandhi. Today we need the same power of satyagraha as we confront the seemingly intrac- table problem of climate change. Satyagraha is the term that Gandhi coined for the political movement he founded. It means “the power of truth,” or literally “truth force,” and came into wide usage with Gandhi’s 1930 Salt Satyagraha, or Salt March. Truth force refers to the truth that doing and being are consonant— one does not achieve peaceful ends with violent means, but with peaceful ones. Al Gore had Gandhi’s idea of truth force in mind when he coined the term “inconvenient truth,” saying, “Global warming is, first and foremost, a challenge to the moral imagina- tion... Gandhi used the word ‘satyagraha,’ or ‘truth force’...” The connection between satyagraha and climate change is profound and potentially radical, and has a special resonance for the American climate movement. It is not simply that Gandhi spoke about environmental issues, though he did, saying things like, “The Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s need but not every man’s greed,” and “God forbid India should take to industrialism after the manner of the West... It would strip the world bare like locusts.” Nor is it just that Gandhi’s work had environmental appli- cations, though many environmental movements in India and around the world, including the American organic farming move- ment, grew directly out of the work of Gandhi and his followers. In fact, Gandhi is part of a lineage of nonviolent thought with a strong American strain. His influences included Emerson’s self- reliance and Thoreau’s civil disobedience (which some scholars DIANA CALTHORPE ROSE is cofounder and president of the Garrison Institute. Videos, interviews, essays, and other information on satyagraha and climate change are posted at www.garrisoninstitute.com. ILLUSTRATIONBYERICFIELD SEPT 18-39.indd 23 SEPT 18-39.indd 23 7/3/08 1:30:00 PM 7/3/08 1:30:00 PM