American Buddhist Protection of Stones in Terms of Climate Change on Mars and Earth

Contemporary Buddhism 21 (1-2):149-169 (2020)


ABSTRACT A number of scientific writers have proposed manipulating the ecology of Mars in order to make the planet more comfortable for future immigrants from Earth. However, the ethical acceptability of such ‘terraforming’ proposals remains unresolved. In response, in this article I explore some of these scientific proposals through the lens provided by Buddhist environmental ethics that are quantitatively expressed by practitioners in the ethnographic field of the United States. What I find is that contemporary Buddhists combine philosophical notions of interconnectedness with moral considerations not to harm others and then creatively extend this combined sensibility to the protection specifically of abiotic features of Mars. In so doing, these Buddhists significantly reject proposals to alter the Martian ecology planet-wide as beyond the ethical right of humans. Along the way these Buddhists also, importantly, provide an innovative basis for enriching Buddhist environmental ethical protection of abiotic locations, and this strengthening can assist in mitigating climate change on Earth.

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