Monthly Archives: November 2012

Renewing energy from within

Restore your energy for the New Year on Sun Jan 6, 2-4 pm, at the Stress Management Center, 1165 Magnolia Avenue, Larkspur.

With President Obama speaking again of climate change, and Congress discussing, however tentatively, a carbon tax, we have a golden opportunity to shift the direction of our country toward real sustainability. This opportunity means work at every level of society, from checking our home energy usage to developing renewable forms of energy to sequestering carbon in living systems of field and forest.

How do we renew our own energy as we imagine, plan, and implement these earth-saving actions?  Yoga techniques of self-massage, mindful movement, and conscious breathing can renew your life energy and revitalize your mind day after day.

Join us for a hands-on workshop, Renewing Energy from Within, to set the pace for a New Year full of resilience, optimism, and grace.  The Stress Management Center is on Magnolia Avenue near the College of Marin.  Cost: $20. No charge for Green Sangha members (annual membership $25 available at the door)

Advance registration is strongly recommended.  Call Elizabeth Little (510) 532-6574 or write To join Green Sangha or to renew your membership, go to and click on the Donate tab.

“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



SAVE THE DATE: Falling in Love with Nature, Sat Jan 12, 7 pm

Start the New Year with a thought-provoking, activating conversation on what we can do to save the Earth.  Scott Sampson, evolutionary paleotonologist and science educator, will be our featured speaker at our 2nd Annual Members’ Night:

Sat, Jan 12, 7 pm at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Marin, 240 Channing Way, San Rafael.

Scott’s topic:  Falling in Love with Nature.  So many of our environmental ills spring from a lack of loving relationship with the world.  In Green Sangha, we see the connectedness of all life as the foundation of activism:  “Of course we love the planet.  It is us!”

But is loving the planet enough?  Can ancient principles and practices of mindfulness be used strategically to restore the Earth?  Join Scott Sampson, PhD, for meditation, slide show, and lively dialogue.  Green Sangha leaders will briefly describe current actions in which anyone can participate, including Less Carbon & More Compassion, the Low Carbon Diet, Rethinking Plastics, and the Teen Environmental Leadership Academy.

Here you can find reviews of Dr. Scott’s new book, Dinosaur Odyssey: Fossil Threads in the Web of Life, and his blog, The Whirlpool of Life.

World Toilet Day was Mon, Nov 19, but there’s still time to give a sit!  Click here to read Marianna Tubman’s article on this global issue, see her Gratitude Meditation, and join her pledge to support SOIL, a nonprofit actively helping Haiti recover from Superstorm Sandy, protect public health, and restore fertility.

December retreats.  Relax, refresh, and renew at our monthly chapter retreats.  East Bay:  Sun, Dec 9, 10-1 in Berkeley.  Marin:  Sun, Dec 16, 10-1 at the Nonprofit Resource Center, 555 Northgate Drive.  Contact Elizabeth for information or directions.

Renew your membership, renew your energy!
Mindful Yoga for Eco-Activists, Sun Jan 6, 2-4 pm
With President Obama speaking again of climate change, and the Congress discussing, however tentatively, a carbon tax, we have a golden opportunity to shift our country toward real sustainability.  This opportunity requires work at every level, from checking our home energy usage to developing renewable energy sources to sequestering carbon in field and forest.  How do we renew our own energy as we imagine, plan, and implement these earth-saving actions?

Yoga techniques of self-massage, mindful movement, and conscious breathing can renew your life energy and revitalize your mind day after day.  Join Stuart Moody for a hands-on workshop, Renewing Energy from Within, to set the pace for a New Year full of resilience, optimism, and grace.

Sunday, January 6, 2-4 pm at the Stress Management Center, 1185 Magnolia Avenue, Larkspur
Cost: $20.  Free for Green Sangha members (annual membership $25 available at the door)

Advance registration is strongly recommended. Call Elizabeth Little (510) 532-6574 or write  To join Green Sangha or to renew your membership, go to and click on the Donate tab.

Give a sit for World Toilet Day!

World Toilet Day was November 19Marianna Tubman tells us why this matters all year ’round:

Since I was quite young I have been aware of the importance of public toilets and readily available facilities at work and at home. When I spent 6 months in Mexico, I saw how hard it was for people, especially women, not to have access to a toilet in the city and in the countryside. It was tough for me, too, because I had irritable bowel syndrome and sometimes had to go in a hurry.  But in recent years I’ve come to take my home toilet and restroom at work for granted.

Then I heard about the World Toilet Organization and learned that more than 2.5 billion people around the world don’t have access to any toilet – not even an outhouse or latrine!  They have to hide behind a bush or go in public.  They are more likely to get sick and even die from diseases carried in human waste.

When I saw pictures of the Haiti earthquake in 2010, I realized that there would be thousands of people homeless . . . and huge sanitation problems.  I was excited to learn about S.O.I.L., an innovative non-profit in Haiti building toilets that collect waste and create compost, helping people grow vegetables and trees, providing health and dignity for thousands of people still living in tents.

I try to find time to meditate and practice mindfulness in my daily life. I thought, why not spend an hour or a day meditating in the bathroom or even sitting on the toilet?  That might not be practical, but how about making it a daily practice to be mindful each time I use the bathroom?  I have committed to donating 10 cents to 25 cents to S.O.I.L. for each time I use my home toilet during the month before World Toilet Day.  I made a “jar” from a toilet paper roll and hung a bag of beans to drop in the jar each time I use the toilet.  I got help writing a Toilet Gratitude Meditation and posted it next to the commode.  On November 19 I plan to do an hour-long meditation sitting on the toilet, or perhaps on the floor below on a cushion.  I will reflect on our common humanity and give thanks for our private toilets with wash basins and even plumbing to take the smell away.

On World Toilet Day, and for the rest of this month, won’t you join this movement?  Put a coin jar in your bathroom and ask everyone to put a coin or a counter (such as a bean) in every time they use the toilet.  Then when you have a little more time (or find yourself needing to spend a lot of time on the toilet) why not have a gratitude prayer session on the toilet?  Get someone to sponsor a “sit-a-thon” in the toilet, or ask your housemates to pay for the privilege of interrupting you!

Check out the Facebook page I developed ( for a picture to wrap around your coin jar, photos of my coin jar, and a sample of how you could use stones as counters, and a meditation script to hang on the wall or keep near your toilet. For more information, check out the World Toilet Day Facebook page.  You can “like” the page and post a picture of your toilet or write what you are thankful for, or tell a memorable story about sanitation or toilets.

For Marianna’s Toilet Gratitude script, click here.  For more information on sanitation and toilets, check out the World Toilet Organization, the World Toilet Day Facebook page, or Rose George’s book, “The Big Necessity.”

Haiti was hit by 3 days of rain from Hurricane Sandy and there are still hundreds of thousands of people living in tents and other “temporary” shelters since the 2010 earthquake.  Help S.O.I.L. keep their tent-camp toilets and wash stations open and develop other initiatives.  Make a pledge to this page: or donate directly to  The need is urgent.


Toilet Gratitude Meditation

For World Toilet Day, Monday, November 19, and all times

From Marianna Tubman

Composting toilet by EcoSan

All human beings are the same in this . . .

Every day we need to find a way to relieve the body of its waste.
So, when we have facilities to make this private, easy, clean, and safe, let us wish the same for everyone!
And reflect with gratitude upon our simple blessings.
And give thanks for all those who have helped or help make it possible:

  • For the one who built this toilet, the one who installed it, the one who cleans it;
  • For the plumbing, the water, the paper, the cleaning supplies, the fan to take the smell away, the sewage treatment plants for processing of the waste;
  • For the rivers and fields and soil microbes which accept back whatever we get rid of.

May we be mindful and not take for granted the hard work and kindness of everyone who contributes to our lives.

Vote, Retreat, and Convene!

Vote on Tuesday!
Tuesday is Election Day, our chance to make our voices heard on a number of candidates and issues.  Green Sangha urges you to go to the polls and vote for a sustainable future.  VOTE YES ON PROP 37.  Check our blog for a lengthy, fascinating article by Charlotte Silver.

Better yet, send this page on GMO labelling by California Right to Know to your friends and family.  Let’s spread the word and get Prop 37 passed!

Senator Boxer says Vote YES on Prop 37

Want more information, or an eloquent piece on the topic of GMO’s?  Here’s a reference to Michael Pollan’s article in the New York Times Magazine on GMOs and Prop 37.

Inner & Outer Restoration at Green Gulch, Sun Nov 11
Join us for our autumn afternoon retreat at Green Gulch Farm near Muir Beach, noon to 6 pm.  Lunch begins at 12:15 in their cozy dining hall, with soup, salad, and farm-baked bread.  Gather at 1 pm for orientation and work assignments.

Choose your task from a variety of land-tending, creek-restoring activities, light to vigorous.  After a couple of hours we break for muffins, tea, and conversation.  End the day with silent meditation in the Zendo, adding another stitch to the fabric of community and wholeness.  Bring a hat and other sun protection, layers for changeable weather, gloves if you have, even a favorite gardening tool if you like.  RSVP for lunch reservations and to organize carpools:  Linda Currie at (510) 558-8615.  (Elizabeth will be back in the office on Nov 10.)

Members’ Night
Save the date!  Scott Sampson (“Dr. Scott” on the PBS Kids’ “Dinosaur Train”) will lead us in a conversation on Falling in Love with NatureSat Jan 12, 7:00-9:00 pm at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Marin:  240 Channing Way, San Rafael.

Free for Green Sangha members.  $25 memberships available in advance or at the door.

Michael Pollan speaks on Prop 37

Here’s a brief post by Tom Fendley for California Right to Know on October 11, 2012:

It’s refreshing to take a break from exposing the deception of our opponents’ TV and radio ads to read a thoughtful analysis of Prop 37. Best-selling author and journalist Michael Pollan provides this respite in his excellent New York Times Magazine piece.

“The [food] industry is happy to boast about genetically engineered crops in the elite precincts of the op-ed and business pages — as a technology needed to feed the world, combat climate change, solve Africa’s problems, etc. — but still would rather not mention it to the consumers who actually eat the stuff,” Pollan writes.

“Presumably that silence owes to the fact that, to date, genetically modified foods don’t offer the eater any benefits whatsoever — only a potential, as yet undetermined risk.  So how irrational would it be, really, to avoid them? Surely this explains why Monsanto and its allies have fought the labeling of genetically modified food so vigorously since 1992.”

Indeed, the pesticide and junk food companies have already poured $35 million into TV ads opposing Prop 37 that are replete with misinformation and discredited spokespeople.

“Next month in California, a few million people will vote with their votes on a food issue,” Pollan writes.  “Already, Prop 37 has ignited precisely the kind of debate — about the risks and benefits of genetically modified food; about transparency and the consumer’s right to know — that Monsanto and its allies have managed to stifle in Washington for nearly two decades.”

Indeed, where our politicians in Washington, D.C. have failed us, California voters have the chance to strike a major blow for consumer rights by voting Yes on 37.

See Michael Pollan’s full piece here.