Monthly Archives: February 2012

Garden Work Party – more success!

We did it! Our team of volunteers groomed the Garden beautifully on Saturday morning, March 3.  In two short hours, we cleaned up the beds and paths:

Cut out, dug up, and removed old fava beans:

Carted multiple loads to the compost bin . . .

. . . we had so much compost material in the bins, we moved finished soil to the Garden beds and even made an extra pile of almost-ready, worm-rich compost near the raspberry brake.

Meanwhile, we also tied up a rich plot of peas, all a-blooming and a-podding as we worked:

That wasn’t all!  Bean seeds planted by 6th grade science were given a little help, flowers were trimmed, and a good time was had by all.  Many thanks to all who attended!

Don’t forget our next Garden Work Party at Davidson Middle School:  Saturday, April 21 (Earth Day!), 9:30-11:30 am.

Marin events in March

Green Gulch.  Join us for our seasonal afternoon of Inner & Restoration at Green Gulch Farm this Sunday, Feb 26, noon to 6 pm. It’s Arbor Day, and we’re assured a friendly crowd of sustainable activists planting trees and breathing in nature’s fullness.  Click here for all the details.

Mindful Activism Training.  Refresh and renew your skills of communication, organization, and peaceful action.  Session 2 of this three-part series takes place Saturday, March 3, at the Venture Greenhouse of Dominican University.   Theme:  Integrated Leadership.  Instructor: Nancy Roberts, Green MBA, with Stuart Moody, M.A.  For a full description, and to register, click here.

Rethinking Plastics.  San Rafael City Council will have a study session on Monday, March 5, 6:30-7:00 pm to hear a staff report on single-use plastic bans.  If you care about reducing the stream of waste leaving stores and getting into our streets, parks, and waterways every day, here is a strategic moment for you to make a difference.  Show up and support this important step in our journey to zero waste! 

Rethinking Plastics II.  March is our fullest month ever, with an evening presentation to the League of Women Voters in Piedmont on Thursday the 22nd, and four events in Marin County:

  • Plastics 360 is a two-day conference on Fri-Sat Mar 16 & 17.
  • Trashing the Planet consists of two follow-up seminars on Saturday Mar 24 & 31, through the Environmental Forum of Marin.

Retreat.  Following the Plastics 360 conference, featured speaker Beth Terry will stay over in Marin to lead the discussion at our Sunday, March 18, retreat in Tiburon, looking at “Lessons from The Lorax.” Green Sangha member Beth Terry is an activist blogger at and author of the upcoming book Plastic-Free: How I Kicked the Plastic Habit and How You Can Too.

Call or write if you have any questions or ideas to share!

Stuart Moody, President of the Board
Arbor Day at Green Gulch Farm & Zen Center!  Sun, Feb 26, 12-6 pm: lunch, ceremony, tree planting, tea, and meditation.


Cultivating the Inner Activist

Learn the art of Sustainability from Within, Saturday April 14, 2:00-5:30 pm, United Church of Christ, 825 Middlefield Drive  Petaluma.
The World Federation of Scientists has identifed 63 “planetary emergencies” threatening our earth’s life-support systems.  With issues such as soil erosion, deforestation, ocean acidification, and increasing concentrations of industrial chemicals in all of our bodies, environmental protection and restoration is the immediate and personal requirement of our every significant individual, and it cannot wait for tomorrow.

In the face of this great need, how do we maintain our balance, sustaining our own lives as we work on behalf of the life we hold in common?  You may be writing letters to Congress and the EPA, organizing an action group, setting up a green committee at your work place, or leading a large organization.  Whatever your field of action, you need deep inner reserves to continue the work with energy, confidence, and effectiveness.

Sustainability from Within is designed to give you the skills you need to start the day with grace, renew and recharge yourself throughout the day, and let go of stress at will.  Stuart Moody, certified yoga teacher and President of Green Sangha, will share a treasury of simple, rejuvenating exercises for tension release and settling into silence for deep meditation.  To complement these practices, we will also explore the technique of Passage Meditation as taught by Eknath Easwaran, and the use of a mantram for calming the mind and deepening awareness.

“Sustainability from Within” means taking care of yourself, practicing the same personal stewardship that we all need to practice in regard to our common body, the earth.

At the deepest level, practicing sustainability from within not only sets a standard for material well-being, it also opens the door for spiritual progress — the restoration of our sense of oneness and expansion of the qualities of the heart.  Friendliness, compassion, happiness, and impartiality are the fruits of inner development, and are the fundamental interpersonal qualities at the basis of a culture of cooperation and peace.  In this way, mindful practice lays the groundwork for a new earth community.

Program:  The workshop will focus on the following ideas and skills fundamental to awakened activism:

Somatic awareness

  • Greeting the day with energy and alertness
  • Simple movements for releasing tension and improving posture
  • Moving into stillness

Spiritual development

  • Calming the inner chatter
  • Concentrating the mind
  • Passing the time with purpose

Price:  $30 (Green Sangha members: $20)
To Register:

Instructor:  Stuart Moody, MA
Saturday, April 14, 2012, 2–5:30 pm.  United Church of Christ, 825 Middlefield Drive, Petaluma, CA 94952

“This is a gift to yourself.  Leaders feel such heavy burdens with so much to accomplish and with such little time and money to do vital work. Mindfulness for leaders helps us go to our strong and calm center and let go of the burden.  It nourishes the soul and frees the spirit.”  Maureen Parton, County Supervisor’s aide


Arbor Day at Green Gulch – Sun, Feb 17, 2013

Of all the actions we can take to calm the climate, one of the most satisfying is to plant a tree.  Arbor Day is a perfect time, and Green Gulch a perfect place to do it.

National Arbor Day is a traditional way to celebrate the many gifts of trees – shelter, beauty, clean air, soil conservation, habitat for wild animals, and the great cooling effect of shade and CO2 consumption.  Signs of climate change – melting ice caps, rising sea levels, the increasing number of severe weather events – only make our love of trees more intense.

Across the country, tree-lovers celebrate Arbor Day according to the local climate.   Nebraska, home of the National Arbor Day Foundation, celebrates on the last Friday of April.  On the Pacific Coast, though, we are preparing beds for summer vegetables as early as February.

So, join us at Green Gulch Zen Center and Organic Farm for a gathering of earth stewards to plant native trees on Sunday, February 17, 2013.

2:00   Ceremony and Tree planting
4:30   Refreshments
5:00   Meditation in the Zendo
6:00   Homeward

Bring layers for changeable weather, hat and other sun protection, long pants and boots or other strong shoes, gardening gloves if you have (extras on hand), water bottle if you wish (no throw-away plastic bottles).

To reserve your spot, call (510) 532-6574 or write

Continue reading

Come to Green Gulch Farm for Inner and Outer Restoration

Join us once a season at Green Gulch Farm near Muir Beach for an afternoon of Watershed Stewardship and Inner Refreshment.  After a delicious organic lunch, we gather for an overview and selectioni of jobs according to our heart’s desires.  Tasks can include:  removal of invasive weeds, trail improvement, planting of natives shrubs, wood gathering, and sheet mulching.  After a couple of hours’ work, we reconvene for tea and scrumptious muffins.

We then hold a short Green Sangha meeting, whose content varies according to the season and our collective inclination – from sharing news and plans, to a letter-writing action, to a walk down to the beach.

We end with deep silence, meditating with the larger community in the Zendo.  Bring comfortable layers for changeable weather, sturdy shoes, a hat, and gloves if you have them.

Fall-winter schedule
November 11, 2012; February 17, 2013 (Arbor Day)

12:15  Lunch in the dining room – organic, farm-grown, vegetarian
1:00  Orientation
3:30  Refreshments
4:00  Green Sangha meeting or walk in Garden
5:00  Meditation in Zendo
6:00  Homeward
Arbor Day schedule is slightly different; click here to view.

Reservations for lunch required. RSVP to or (510) 532-6574. We organize carpools from the East Bay and San Rafael.

Special Training Day in 2013.  Join the Teen Environmental Leadership Academy for farm work, lunch, and mindfulness instruction on Tuesday, July 16, 2013, 10 am to 2:30 pm (tent.)

Stop Trashing the Planet!

Join us for a seminar on:


An Environmental Forum of Marin (EFM) seminar, co-sponsored by Green Sangha

Sat, Mar 31, 9 am to 1 pm.  Marin Sanitary’s Environmental Classroom, 535 Jacoby St., second floor

In 2000, a Worldwatch Paper estimated that 50,000 to 100,000 synthetic chemicals were in production, with approximately 3 new chemicals being added every day.  Where do all these chemicals go when we are done using them?  The EPA has developed an annual report, the Toxic Release Inventory to help citizens, businesses, and policy makers get a clearer idea of what is going into the environment by the millions of tons every year (see their 1:13 minute video here).

The 2010 TRI report showed that disposal or other releases of persistent, bioaccumulative, and toxic (PBT) chemicals increased by 50% from 2009.  What does this mean to our health, and to the integrity of life-support systems around the globe?

Come hear Dr. Marion Guyer of Kaiser Permanente, Dr. Chris Pincetich of Sea Turtle Restoration Project, and Monica Wilson of  GAIA (Global Action for Incinerator Alternatives) as they describe the risks posed in particular by toxic substances in plastics used by each of us daily, and by the careless burning of plastics that still occurs around the world.  Then hear special guest Hilary Staples of the Biomimicry Institute share stunning possibilities to help us conceptualize and bring about a shift to life-sustaining materials — quieting our cleverness, listening to nature, and substituting deep knowledge and creativity for synthetics.

Cost:  $20; students with current ID $10

RegistrationSaturday Seminars

Garden Work Party Success!

Many thanks to all the volunteers who showed up on Saturday, February 4, for a morning of loving labor at the Davidson Green Schoolyard.  We got a lot of things done.  For example:  we dug up fennel from the Riparian Zone:

Some of the roots were amazingly long:

We trimmed back the dreaded pampas grass:

. . . and carted it away to our junk pile:

Inside the Garden, we harvested and staked the fava beans, trimmed flowers, and transplanted the artichokes:

The compost was full of worms!  We removed barrels of finished compost to fill the Garden beds, then organized the two bins into:  a) nearly-done, and b) add-more-trimmings-here.

The tool shed needed organizing, too!  So, Luat and Ashley spent the whole two hours clearing things out . . .

And putting them back in . . . with right-sized containers, and LABELS!

That wasn’t all.  We had a great time doing it!

Thanks, everyone!  See you next time:  Saturday, March 3, 9:30-11:30 am at the Davidson Middle School Garden.  (School address is 280 Woodland Avenue in San Rafael.  We’re way in the back of the school, by the wooden bridge over the Riparian Zone.)


Plastics 360: film night & conference

What are the effects of plastic in our daily lives?  What can you do to protect the environment and your health?  Hear local leaders in conservation and resource recovery describe issues and solutions.  This year’s conference takes place on March 7 in Berkeley and March 16 in Lafayette.  For a full description, click here.  (Last year’s conference is described below.)

Join us for a comprehensive introduction to the latest research on plastic in the oceans, innovations in bioplastics, how recycling fits into the picture, and ways that we each can shift to life-sustaining materials.

Who should attend:  students, teachers, business managers and owners, civic leaders, citizen activists, and anyone interested in sustainable living.

Friday, March 16, 7-9 pm.   Introduction & film night.  No charge, but reservations required!   Contact or call (510) 532-6574 to register.

  • Film shorts:  Addicted to Plastic (selection); We can recycle plastic (Mike Biddle); Bring Your Canvas Bag (Tim Minchin)
  • Moderator:  Chris Pincetich, PhD, Sea Turtle Restoration Project

Where:  111 McInnis Parkway, San Rafael, 94903

Saturday, March 17, 9:30 am – 4:00 pm.   Conference.
Fee:  $40 ($20 for Green Sangha and EFM members, and students with current ID).  Register here.

  • Celebrating Plastics.  Susan Freinkel, author of Plastic:  A Toxic Love Story
  • Marine Litter.  Chris Pincetich, Ph.D., Sea Turtle Restoration project
  • Plastics in Our Bodies.  Nancy Buermeyer, Breast Cancer Fund
  • Does Recycling Work?  Kim Scheibly, Marin Sanitary Service
  • Bioplastics – Our Future?  Thomas Wright, Sustainable Business Practices
  • Nine Reasons That Personal Changes Matter.  Beth Terry,
  • Transformational Events.  Mary Munat,
  • Putting It All Together.  Pam Kramer, ITP International
  • Plus!  Opening meditation with Maeve Murphy and Mindful movement with Debra McKnight Higgins

WhereSt. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, 3 Bay View Avenue at Golden Gate, Belvedere, 94920

Refreshments:  BYO lunch!  We will provide coffee and beverages.  (BYO mug if you can.)

Reservations:  Click on the links above or call (510) 532-6574, or write

° Environmental Forum of Marin – leading Marin’s environmental conversations for over 40 Years,
° Sea Turtle Restoration Project, protecting and restoring endangered sea turtles and marine biodiversity worldwide,


Mindful Activism training

At the heart of Green Sangha activism is personal grounding in inner peace and skillful action.  Mindful Activism Training is designed to refresh and enhance your practice of a range of leadership practices, from meditation and relaxation to constructive communication and organization.  In three workshops we will explore these foundational skills and the Green Sangha Principles of Activism.

Session 3:  Sustainability from Within
Saturday, April 14, 2:00-5:30 pm
Learn mindfulness practices for relaxation, renewal, and peace throughout the day.  These exercises will help you increase inner clarity, calm, and confidence in all of your endeavors.  Instructors:

  • Michael Nagler, President, Metta Center for Nonviolence
  • Stephanie Van Hook, Executive Director, Metta Center for Nonviolence
  • Stuart Moody, MA, President of Green Sangha

Location:  United Church of Christ, 825 Middlefield Drive Petaluma, CA 94952
:  $30 for the workshop (Green Sangha members $20)

                          When the mind rests steady and pure,
                           then whatever you desire
                           those desires are fulfilled,
                           and whatever you think of
                           those thoughts materialize.
                           So, you who desire good fortune
                           revere the knower of the Self.

                                    Mundaka Upanishad

Plastics Awareness Symposium

Green Sangha & 5 Gyres Present:
Sunday, Feb. 12,  2:00 to 5:00 pm

The average US citizen uses between 300 & 700 single-use plastic bags per year.  That means Mill Valley residents go through about 7 million plastic bags in just one year!

Plastic bags can be monstrous

What impact is this having on our planet, our oceans, and our bodies? Attend the Plastic Awareness Symposium at GROW on Sunday, February 12, to hear from local activists and plastic pollution experts.

Learn simple ways to replace plastic in your home.

2:00 pm

  • Presentations from plastic pollution experts and recycling guru Devi Peri
  • Update on the California and Marin County single-use bag ordinances and other initiatives with Stephanie Moulton-Peters, Mill Valley City Councilmember
  • Q & A

3:00 pm

  • Fun & festivities for the whole family!

At the Grow Art & Garden Center, 254 Shoreline Highway, Tam Junction in Mill Valley.

Free and open to the public.  Bring your kids!  For more information, call the GROW Center at 415-888-8471

Throwaway plastics -- .such a drag