The Angkor Centre for Conservation of Biodiversity conducted a training course on Buddhism and the environment for 25 monks and local community members in the Sorng Rukhavorn Community Forest from February 22 to 26.
Venerable monk Tho Thou Ros, head of the community, told The Post on February 25 that the training focused on Buddhism and the natural environment, thus addressing culture as well as wildlife.
“It is very important that everyone receives such training. Here, the monk is the creator and also the protector. Buddhism has been associated with nature, forest resources and biodiversity for a long time, since the time of the Buddha,” he said, noting that the Buddha was born under a tree, found enlightenment under a tree, and achieved Nirvana under a tree.
The course also dealt with human activities in the forest, and on the relationship between Buddhism and climate change. There are rules which say Buddhist monks or nuns shall not cut down trees, bushes or shrubs. Anyone who violates these rules is rejecting the discipline of the Buddha, he said, adding that participating in the destruction of forest resources also contributes to climate change.
“Not just in Cambodia, but around the world, natural resources are threatened by deforestation. It causes climate change, which in recent years has seen an increase in global warming and flooding. Human activities are responsible for these,” he said.
A portion of the course was dedicated to the impact of the use of plastic bags on the environment. In the past, short courses were run on environmental laws and related matters.
This course was different, he said, because it focused on religion and its role in the protection of natural resources.
Thou Ros said that in the community forest, there are many kinds of wild animals, although no elephants and tigers remain.
The forest covers an area of 18,261ha. In 2018, the forest and flooded areas from the Stung Sreng 2 dam in Oddar Meanchey province’s Anlong Veng, Chongkal and Samrong districts were established by the government as the wildlife sanctuary named Sorng Rukhavorn.