Dekila Chungyalpa

Dekila Chungyalpa is the co-founder and director of the Loka Initiative, an organization at the University of Wisconsin-Madison for faith leaders and culture keepers of indigenous traditions who work on environmental and climate issues. With His Holiness the Karmapa, in 2008 she helped to establish Khoryug, an association of Tibetan Buddhist monasteries and nunneries implementing environmental projects across the Himalayas. In 2014 she received the prestigious Yale McCluskey Award for conservation innovation for her work with faith leaders.

Becoming a Buddhist Climate Scientist  

With Dekila Chungyalpa

Becoming a Buddhist Climate Scientist  

For the last 12 years, Dekila Chungyalpa has worked with religious and indigenous leaders, scientists, and policymakers to design community-based environmental and climate programs. But having grown up in the northeastern Indian state of Sikkim, surrounded by strong women who chose to walk the monastic path, Chungyalpa hasn’t always found it easy to show up as both a devout Tibetan Buddhist and a conservation scientist.

In this episode of Tricycle Talks, Chungyalpa shares with Tricycle’s editor James Shaheen how she’s come to integrate her commitments to science and faith, deal with climate deniers, and head the Loka Initiative, a climate-change outreach program that empowers and uplifts religious communities. In the face of so much eco-anxiety, climate distress, and doom and gloom, it is ultimately Buddhist teachings on emptiness, impermanence, non-attachment, and compassion, she says, that sustain her.

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