Monthly Archives: July 2013

March for the Climate August 3

Climate March
Moving Planet Day, Sept 24, 2011

For months we have been happily planning and looking forward to the Green Sangha Gratitude Gathering scheduled for Saturday August 3 in Point Reyes Station. In the meanwhile, a major Climate Action demonstration was organized by for the same day in Richmond. We have decided to postpone the Gratitude Gathering and instead put our mindfulness into action at this important gathering of earth stewards and climate protectors.

Please join us in marching peacefully for climate sanity and a speedy transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy. The organizers are hoping for 1,000  to 2,000 participants.  Our experience on other 350-organized events is that the crowd is positive and upbeat, and that bystanders are often interested and even vocally supportive.  It is a moment for inspiring awakened action.

Here’s the overall plan:

Gather:  Richmond BART station

Time: 10 am, Saturday August 3

March: From Richmond BART to Chevron refinery (approximately 2.4 miles)

Rally: Chevron refinery, S. Castro St. gate, approx. 12 noon

Adjourn:  1 pm or so

Bus transit is available back to BART from the refinery

A shorter March & Kids’ Event will begin at 10:30 am, George Carroll (aka Washington) Park, Pt Richmond.

Green Sangha’s role

Have you been reluctant to participate in demonstrations because the energy feels negative?  Our goal is to contribute to the loving, joyful atmosphere of this event.  To maximize the coherence-creating effect, our group will begin with a circle in the nice grassy area just west of the Richmond BART station.  It is the area bounded by Metrowalk Way.  See this map.

Green Sangha board member and yoga teacher Bet Muth will lead us in a standing meditation and invocation.  We’ll have our banner in hand, or hanging nearby; just look for a circle doing gentle stretches or standing in silence.  The circle will be open to all who want to join, so please invite friends and family.  When the time comes, we will join the larger group at the BART station and set forth for the refinery, sometime between 10:30 and 11:00.

If you want to participate in the Green Sangha circle and prefer a shorter walk, there is bus transit from Richmond BART to either Washington Park or the rally site.

Practical reminders from the organizing team

  1. Bring your own water bottle.
  2. We’ll have porta-potties at the rally site, and possibly near the start (assuming we can either use BART or the Bobbie Bowen Center).
  3. Remember to bring sunscreen and a hat.
  4. Wear comfortable shoes and clothing!
  5. This is a family friendly event. (Children are encouraged to join the kids’ march from Judge George Carroll Park, formerly Washington Park).
  6. Non-violence includes no verbal abuse or threatening motions (although spirited chants are a big part of our demonstration).  No weapons, no alcohol, no non-prescribed drugs.  Be respectful of all participants and on-lookers.

If you have additional questions about Green Sangha’s participation, please e-mail Bet Muth, bet.muth [a]

We look forward to participating in this awakened action with you on Saturday, August 3!

For More information on the March:

Saturday, August 3rd

Richmond Chevron Convergenc– No Tar Sands, No Fracking, No Dangerous Refineries, Save the Rainforest and the 2013 Summer Heat Coalition

Learn more here and here.


An easy way to reduce waste

Green Sangha has been advocating for plastics reduction since 2004.  And we have gotten results:  from the saving of over 8 tons of plastic produce bags from Bay Area markets every year, to plastic bag and foam food ware bans in Marin County, to changes in the consumer choices of thousands of Bay Area citizens.  Harvill bldg Sun 10-14-12

Allison Vogel has initiated the latest action, something you can do on your own schedule in the course of your day.  The idea is simple:  saturate our local stores and restaurants with friendly, firm calls to end the use of Styrofoam foodware.  We continue to advocate for local ordinances to accomplish this across the board, and eventually a statewide ban.  But we can hasten the process by reminding local business persons of their role in making the shift to sustainable packaging and an ethic of reuse.

Allison has written a letter that you can download and bring to restaurants that still use Styrofoam for take-out dishes.  Copy this letter, edit it to suit your situation (for example, you may participate in clean-ups at other locations than Damon Slough,  mentioned in the letter.  Print out a few copies, put them in your backpack or your backseat, and carry them into the restaurant or market you visit.

Re:  Take-out packaging; going sustainable

I enjoy your food very much, but feel sad when I see polystyrene (Styrofoam and related products) used by customers to take their servings home.  I’d like you to consider changing the packaging for to-go orders.  Here’s why:

Polystyrene is resistant to photolysis and never completely degrades.  It does, however, break into smaller bits which, sadly, look like fish eggs and thus are regularly mistaken for food by wildlife. As a member of Green Sangha, I regularly participate in clean-ups at Damon Slough on the Oakland Shoreline, one of the Bay Area’s “hot spots” for litter pollution.  The little bits of polystyrene are by far the most insidious form of litter, nearly impossible to collect.

Polystyrene is harmful to humans.  According to the EPA, styrene is a suspected carcinogen.  This chemical migrates from foam containers into our food. Heated food, food with fat content, and acidic food are all especially likely to have plastic chemicals leach into them.  Workers who are exposed to styrene report acute health effects such as irritation of the eyes, skin, respiratory system, and gastrointestinal tract. Long-term exposure can lead to chronic effects on the nervous system, including headaches, depression, fatigue, weakness, and impairment of kidney function.

Recycling is almost impossible.  Although there is a recycling symbol on most polystyrene containers, the EPA reported in 2010 that only 1% of polystyrene was recycled.  It is not accepted in citywide curbside recycling because of difficulties in processing the material (sorting, transporting, cleaning, and re-forming into new articles).  Many citizens are not aware of these issues and put these containers in their recycling bins with the best of intentions.  Unfortunately these items contaminate the system, and must be weeded out and sent to the landfill.  Winds often carry these lightweight articles out of garbage trucks and away from the landfill, clogging storm drains and polluting the Bay and ocean.

Leadership.  Nearly 200 cities and towns in California have already banned foam foodware, including the Bay Area communities of Alameda, Berkeley, Emeryville, Fairfax, Hercules, Oakland, Palo Alto, San Bruno, and San Francisco.  One restaurant in San Rafael charges its customers $1 for orders that require take-out containers.  Very few customers have objected; if someone does complain, they explain the reason for the policy, and waive the fee.  This allows the business to cover the cost of the slightly-more-expensive compostable containers, to encourage customers to bring their own tiffins for left-overs, and to spread the message of waste reduction in practical and understandable ways.

I urge you to consider these approaches and to talk with your supplier about a green alternative to foam food ware.  Copied below are some websites that offer safer biodegradable alternatives to Polystyrene and plastic. (Plastic can only be “downcycled” once and then it, too, is landfill forever.)

If we want to protect our health and our environment, we must stop pollution at its source.  I deeply appreciate your consideration of my request and look forward to supporting your business in a way that is non-harming to people and the planet.



A few Green Product Suppliers

For more information about ending plastic pollution, see