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Apr 22
Shambhala News Service
Join the 2009 Shambhala Green Commitment

The Touching the Earth working group of the Sakyong’s Council has issued a call to all Shambhala Centers that aims to take the whole of Shambhala forward toward a vision of increased sustainability at all our centers. The working group’s call follows on the statement of Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche about the crisis facing our planet and the innumerable beings who dwell here. (The full statement from the working group appears below.)

In 1970, the same year that Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche arrived in North America, Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson established a national teach-in in the United States, henceforth known as Earth Day. Meant as a day of environmental observance, Earth Day has since flourished, marking the beginning of the modern environmental movement.

This past week, the Sakyong issued his statement: Protecting the Earth, a call to contemplation and action on climate change. He stated in part (click here to read the entire statement):

Our precious planet and the innumerable beings who dwell here face an unprecedented crisis. The escalating threat to the world’s environment and climate stems from a profound predicament that affects all humanity. We are ever more rapidly losing our connection with the sacred nature of our world. This tragedy affects us in so many ways, but at its heart, it is a crisis of the spirit. We are harming our planet and fellow beings because we are losing touch with the basic goodness of our own sacred being.

With this powerful message in mind, the Touching the Earth working group invites you to take part in the 2009 Shambhala Green Commitment. This is a mandala-wide effort through which you can commit your center to furthering the Shambhala vision of working to protect our Earth.

2009 Shambhala Green Commitment

Earth Day is a time to commit our Shambhala Centers to environmental sustainability. To encourage this aspiration, the Touching the Earth working group invites all Shambhala Centers to participate in the 2009 Shambhala Green Commitment.

To join in this collective commitment, each center is invited to make five commitments to improve its environmental performance over the next year. These activities can be large or small and can affect any aspect of your center, from energy efficiency to recycling and reuse.

For instance, you might decide to switch from disposable to reusable eating utensils, purchase locally grown food, plant a vegetable garden, initiate a car-pooling scheme, caulk windows, install low-intensity light bulbs, upgrade to a more energy-efficient heating system or use nontoxic cleaning supplies. If your center has not yet assigned a liaison to the Touching the Earth working group, this could be one of your first commitments.

The five Earth Day commitments you select should be submitted to [email protected] by (or on) Midsummer’s Day.

All activities will be posted on the Touching the Earth webpage so that centers around the world can learn from what others are doing. On Earth Day 2010 we will post an update from all participating centers about their success at fulfilling their 2009 Shambhala Green Commitment.

You can e-mail us with any questions at [email protected].

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3 responses to “ Join the 2009 Shambhala Green Commitment ”
  1. Susanne Vincent
    Sep 19, 2009

    Please could somebody actively connected with this initiative contact me? [email protected]

    I’m the liaison for Auckland, New Zealand and am trying to find an email for anybody who has a central leadership role around it. I want to launch the initiative with some bells and whistles – we have started late because we’ve just renovated and moved into a new centre. There is a statement above that ‘All activities will be posted on the Touching the Earth webpage so that centers around the world can learn from what others are doing’, but this is not the case. There is one email link on the Touching the Earth page, but I can get no response. I understand that the Chair is not available to reply because of a family problem currently, but wonder why nobody appears to be deputising.

    Or has this initiative foundered? Perhaps we should just proceed on our own?

    Susie Vincent

  2. Patricia Donohue
    Jul 21, 2009

    This is great! Our sangha, Lexington Shambhala Center in Kentucky has been recycling for quite some time and have, depending on who is buying :), gone to environmentally safer cleaning products as well as recycled paper products. We are now making a real effort to go with home-made cleaning products.

    What a positive way of helping our world.

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