Home     Contact Us         Log in
Jan 05
Community Articles
Touching the Earth Collective—January 2021 Newsletter

Dear Collective’s members and friends,

UN Secretary‑General António Guterres’ address on “The State of the Planet” from early December at Columbia University is an exceptionally frank assessment of the perilous state of our sacred living environment. He is explicit:

“Let’s be clear:  Human activities are at the root of our descent towards chaos.  But, that means human action can help solve it.  Making peace with nature is the defining task of the twenty-first century.  It must be the top, top priority for everyone, everywhere.”

Yet, he goes on to present a comprehensive picture of how human action can transform humankind’s relationship with the natural world.

touching the earth, ice crystals

“But, we must remember:  There can be no separating climate action from the larger planetary picture.  Everything is interlinked — the global commons and global well being.  That means we must act more broadly, more holistically, across many fronts, to secure the health of our planet on which all life depends.  Nature feeds us, clothes us, quenches our thirst, generates our oxygen, shapes our culture and our faiths and forges our very identity.”

This speech by the Secretary-General has everything to do with the Shambhala Touching the Earth Collective Mission, Vision and Values. We feel it so important that we place it here as a special Newsletter feature.

The State of the Planet

UN Secretary‑General António Guterres’ address at Columbia University 

I thank Columbia University for hosting this gathering — and I welcome those joining online around the world.  We meet in this unusual way as we enter the last month of this most unusual year.

We are facing a devastating pandemic, new heights of global heating, new lows of ecological degradation and new setbacks in our work towards global goals for more equitable, inclusive and sustainable development.  To put it simply, the state of the planet is broken.  Humanity is waging war on nature.  This is suicidal.

Nature always strikes back, and it is already doing so with growing force and fury.  Biodiversity is collapsing.  One million species are at risk of extinction.  Ecosystems are disappearing before our eyes.  Deserts are spreading.  Wetlands are being lost.  Every year, we lose 10 million hectares of forests.

Oceans are overfished and choking with plastic waste.  The carbon dioxide they absorb is acidifying the seas.  Coral reefs are bleached and dying.  Air and water pollution are killing 9 million people annually — more than six times the current toll of the pandemic.

And with people and livestock encroaching further into animal habitats and disrupting wild spaces, we could see more viruses and other disease-causing agents jump from animals to humans.  Let’s not forget that 75 percent of new and emerging human infectious diseases are zoonotic.

Today, two new authoritative reports from the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) spell out how close we are to climate catastrophe…
To read the full address, click here.touching the earth, lichen

— Elemental Expression —

Every month, we offer a space for one of the Collective’s members or friends
to share their work, art, or passion…

dear future

 Christine Heming shares the work of artist friend Regan Rosburg

In 2017 environmental artist, Regan Rosburg, asked a group of teenagers to write letters expressing their feelings about what was happening to the planet.  She wanted to give them a voice, and she found the letters strikingly honest.

Two years later while traveling in the artic with 30 other artists, she was deeply moved by this vast, pristine landscape.  At the same time, each time the ship made landfall, she and her fellow artists set out to collect the garbage that had come ashore.  Coping with these contradictions, she expanded her letter project to her comrades on the ship, all of whom were wrestling with guilt, awe and worry.

The letter project expanded further.  More letters were invited from increasingly diverse groups.  The letters were equally diverse, “representing everything from apathy to determination, from hostility to gratefulness, from fear to hope.”  Regan “realized that putting pencil to paper unlocked a very personal, self-reflective place where the person was able to process inaudible emotions.”

The letters became part of an exhibit titled, ”Everything is Fine.”  The letters covered a wall and standing at the wall, one could experience the emotions of the writers.  These letters could be addressed to anyone, and some were addressed to “the future.”  They became the inspiration for the short (5min.) film titled, “dear future,” which I am sharing with the readers of the Touching the Earth Collective Newsletter.

touching the earth, bird

Link to film:  https://vimeo.com/474571570

For more information about the letter project and the other works of Regan Rosburg go to:  https://www.reganrosburg.com

Actions Speak Louder, a Collective Roar

By Irene Woodard

“Human activities are at the root of our descent towards chaos.  But, that means human action can help solve it.”

As António Guterres eloquently expressed in the first article in this Newsletter, our human actions can help solve this perilous situation. We, as Earth protectors, are fortunate–there are fields of activities to engage with. We need not create our own, though we could. But for simplicity and expeditious action, we can collaborate with our friends at GreenFaith, an international interfaith climate and environmental justice organization. GreenFaith is spearheading and helping others to organize global climate actions, on March 11th, 2021.

The World needs a compassionate and just response to COVID-19 and to climate change, and people of faith need to engage. Some of us have already committed to joining this global launch entitled Sacred People Sacred Earth, on March 11, 2021. On that day,  people of faith and conscience from around the world are joining and organizing the biggest-ever faith climate day of action, all at the grassroots level. Grassroots here means that each of us can make a decision to be active on that day and beyond, committing to some new habit, some way to further express our kindness for the earth.

Click on the link below for ways to connect to Sacred People Sacred Earth, the day of actions:

Take Action

Why this? Why now?

Here is GreenFaith’s mission statement, which is in alignment with ours, and as we have stated in our STEC Mission Vision and Values statement for Touching the Earth, Time is of the essence!

GreenFaith’s Mission Statement:

Because the Earth and all people are sacred and at risk, GreenFaith is building a worldwide, multi-faith climate and environmental movement. Together, our members create communities to transform ourselves, our spiritual institutions, and society to protect the planet and create a compassionate, loving and just world.

As Warriors, we commit to making March 11th a day of action for Touching the Earth in Shambhala. As of this writing, we are two months away from the launch. Let’s not hesitate, let’s take this leap and join in, at a speed that befits the situation, unhesitating haste.

Sign this bold statement and, if you are ready, roar!

Upcoming Events

Earth Salons

Wild bees are backyard bees with Michelle McPherson

Sunday, January 10 at 11:00 am (Eastern)

Everyone knows how important honey bees are. But we also have a beautiful diversity of wild bees in North America, and they need more attention! Meet some of these beautiful insects, and learn easy ways to care for bees by creating bee habitat on your own property.

Click here to Register


SKY / EARTH / HEART: A Way to Meet the World

with Barbara Bash

An exploration into the ancient yet universal
principles of  heaven, earth and human
and how they express themselves through art of the natural world.

Saturday, January 16, 2020 at 2pm (ET) Click here to Register

To join the STEC google group and be added to our mailing list, please email: 
[email protected]

Please visit our website

Any comments regarding this newsletter content can also be sent to: 
[email protected]


Post Tags: , , , , , , ,

Sorry, comments for this entry are closed at this time.

Website Development by Blue Mandala using Wordpress MU.
All content and source Copyright © 1994-2023. Shambhala International (Vajradhatu), Shambhala, Shambhala Meditation Center, Shambhala Training, Shambhala Center and Way of Shambhala are registered service marks of Shambhala USA
Privacy Policy
Translate »