Category Archives: Green Sangha Chapter News

Riding the Climate Train

Coast to Coast for Climate Action

By Linda Currie, Event Manager, Green Sangha

Wearing a shirt of her own design, Linda Currie prepares to board the Climate Train in Emeryville.  Photo:  Kristopher Skinner/Bay Area News Group

Wearing a shirt of her own design, Linda Currie prepares to board the Climate Train in Emeryville. Photo: Kristopher Skinner/Bay Area News Group

On September 15, I boarded the People’s Climate Train in Emeryville, California, along with about 125 others, including Green Sangha member Trish Clifford. We were headed for the People’s Climate March in NYC on September 21, a monumental gathering of more than 400,000 citizens in advance of the United Nations Climate Summit. As we traversed the country, greeted by colorful sign-waving supporters in Reno, Denver, Salt Lake City, and Chicago, our numbers grew to more than 200. We rolled through beautiful mountain ranges, rivers and plains, sometimes having to stop for freight cars filled with coal or oil, reminders of our purpose.

The Climate Train was organized by local Buddhists and the Center for Biological Diversity as a less carbon-intensive way to bring engaged people from the west to the east coast, and to provide opportunities to prepare for the march ahead.

On the surface, we were a disconnected, motley crew, ranging from 18 to 80 years old, all colors and so many walks of life: indigenous peoples, nuns, ministers, teachers, students, social justice advocates, environmental leaders, union members, and business owners. Over the long hours we connected and talked with each other, participating in dozens of workshops on issues such as divestment, tar sands, non-violent direct action, faith leaders’ response to climate change, and rights of nature.

By the time we arrived at Penn Station in NYC, we had formed unexpected bonds and become allies, ready to march together to protect what we love, our planet. One of the Green Sangha principles says, “Throughout the universe, One Body revealed.” I felt this so deeply in my heart every day on this journey:  “Of course we love the planet.  It is us!”

View from aboveThe People’s Climate March in New York City was huge, colorful, diverse, completely peaceful. The sense of quiet power was palpable in the air. At 12:58 pm, silence rolled back from the front through the crowd like the jet stream, connecting us all in two minutes of quiet. At 1 pm, cell phones led a wave-like roar back through the rows of marchers:  a symbolic call to awakening.  The march continued for several miles, ending without aplomb with a large gathering of food and music. Then, people dispersed in every direction, going back to the places and lives they had come from, knowing that something important had just taken place.

When I first awakened to the climate crisis, I vowed to do everything in my power to make a difference. At that time, our children were young and my husband and I were both busy working parents. I had no idea how I could personally have an effect, but I let myself be guided. Green Sangha was one of the organizations I found that has guided and sustained me on my path, providing grounding for all my actions, from those early days until now. Getting on the People’s Climate Train and marching were just more natural and powerful steps I could take to do my part.

Editor’s note: Have you participated in a Low Carbon Diet group? This is an easy and fun way to make real, measurable, and lasting reductions in your carbon use. Groups are forming in Marin County, for five sessions of neighborly gatherings (meeting weekly or biweekly). Participating households have already reduced their carbon emissions by 2.2 million pounds per year.  More info here: Resilient Neighborhoods.

March for climate, clean up the coast, listen and awake!

Environmental action this weekend!

1.  Coastal Cleanup Day is the largest volunteer service event of the year, with events up and down California. Green Sangha members will gather at McNear’s Beach in San Rafael, and Emeryville in the East Bay.  Details are here.

CLIMATE TRAIN/METRO2.  People’s Climate March.  In NYC, Oakland, Tucson, and around the country, hundreds of thousands are coming together to demonstrate for climate sanity.  Two days later, world leaders gather to consider climate action; they will be informed and inspired by our presence!

Linda Curriepictured here, boarded Amtrak in Emeryville on Mon Sep 15, on her way to join hundreds of thousands in NYC, rallying two days before a gathering of world leaders.  Photo: Kristopher Skinner, Bay Area News Group

Sanjen Miedzinski will march in New York City, as will other Green Sangha members.  You can join the world’s largest demonstration for climate protection! NYC info here. If you can’t make the trip to New York, come to the companion demonstration the next day in Oakland at Lake Merritt, 2-5 pm. In Tucson, there are workshops all day on Sep 20, with a rally and electric vehicle celebration on Sep 21: Tucson climate events.

Then, in October:

Thu Oct 9.  SYNBIO: a close look at an emerging new technology.  Speakers include Mark Squire, co-owner of Good Earth Natural Foods and Green Sangha Advisory Council member.  7-9 pm at the Mill Valley Community Center, Cascade Room, 180 Camino Alto, Mill Valley.  More info on Synbio.

Pumpkin madonnaSun Oct 12 is our seasonal day of Inner & Outer Restoration at Green Gulch.  Organic farm lunch, fresh air in the fields, tea, and meditation, noon to 6 pm.  This event takes the place of our regular monthly retreats in Marin & the East Bay.  Carpooling recommended, and reservations required:

Wed Oct 22.  Clean Energy:  Why we must have it, how it can be done.  A Green Chautauqua discussion with Michael Brune, Executive Director of the Sierra Club.  Co-sponsored by Sustainable Fairfax, Green Sangha, and more.  First Presbyterian Church, San Anselmo, 7:30-9:00 pm.  More info here.


Climate workshops in NYC

Ayya SantussikaThe People’s Climate March on Sun Sep 21 will be amazing.  Surrounding that day will be other opportunities for activists to convene, converse, and connect.  For example:

Santussika Bhikkhuni will be attending the March with the Buddhists for Climate Action and Buddhist Global Relief. She’ll also be co-leading an event at New York Insight on Saturday morning 10am-1pm called Preparing the Heart for Practice in Action.  Santussikā grew up on a farm in Indiana and has practiced meditation since 1979. She has trained as a nun in California and the UK since 2005 and is co-founder of Karuna Buddhist Vihara, a neighborhood monastery for women in Mountain View, CA. She received bhikkhuni ordination in 2012. The Saturday morning event is by donation.

Earnest conversationOn Saturday evening, 6:30 pm – 9:30 pm: “A Global Climate Treaty: Why the US Must Lead,” at the Ethical Culture Society building, 2 West 64th St. (corner of Central Park West). Doors open at 6 pm. Tickets are $11.49 (includes online fee). It is hard to know whether it will sell out in advance. Though the space is quite  large, it appears that there will be a lot of people coming to NYC to attend the march and the event may be widely publicized.

Speakers include:

Mary Robinson, United Nations Special Envoy for Climate Change
Lester Brown, Earth Policy Institute and the Worldwatch Institute
Bill McKibben,
Ambassador Marlene Moses, Chair, Alliance of Small Island States
Cecil Corbin-Mark. We Act for Environmental Justice
Donald Brown, Widener University College of Law
Sean Sweeney, Trade Unions for Energy Democracy
Annie Willis, Global Kids

Opening remarks will be made by two members of NY’s City Council

To purchase tickets in advance:

There will be several events before and after the march, so if these don’t work for you, watch for others.  All of the info on the Climate Convergence can be found here:

July happenings with Green Sangha

Come to our Gratitude Gathering this Sunday, and more!

Can we come together on climate change?  Bob Doppelt, writing for the Resource Innovations Group, says yes, and has a few suggestions on how.  In  a brief and readable article, he outlines five commitments that he believes “can establish the shift in consciousness required to diminish climate change.”  The first commitment?  See the systems you are part of.  Read more here.

We are coming together this Sunday, July 20, for the 6th annual Gratitude Gathering, 1 pm to 3:30 pm at the Eco-House in Berkeley.  Reservations are required, with three spaces left.  Click here for more information and registration.  I hope to see you there!

Feeling eager for going solar but can’t afford solar panels?  Check our web page here for a leasing option that should cost less than your current electric bill and sends a $750 donation to support mindful activism with Green Sangha:  go solar with Sungevity.

Solar Cookers Int'In the meantime, you can check out solar cooking options at the Solar Cookers International gathering in Sacramento, Sat July 19.  Marianna Tubman, who organized two solar cooking demos in Redwood City, says:  “If anyone wants to carpool from Berkeley, I will be leaving bright and early on Saturday and returning late that afternoon.”  Contact if you want to attend and carpool.

Speaking of saving energy, don’t miss this chance to join the conversation on ways to become more energy efficient.  Here is an invitation from MCE, Marin’s public, not‐for‐profit electricity provider, to join a community workshop on Thursday, July 24:

Marin Clean EnergyMCE is seeking local feedback on Energy Efficiency programs at the Marin Center.  The workshop will include a brief presentation of what Energy Efficiency programs MCE plans to offer in 2016 & beyond, followed by substantial time for public discussion and input.  This is a unique opportunity to share interests in Energy Efficiency projects and what incentives would make them possible for you.

When: Thursday, July 24, 2014, 6:00 to 7:30 pm

Where: Friends of Marin Center Room, 10 Avenue Of The Flags, San Rafael, 94903


MCE sliderMarin Clean Energy was born of local initiative, so community leadership is central to MCE’s mission. “It is important to us that these be ground-up programs, designed by the community, for the community” says Beckie Menten, MCE Director of Energy Efficiency.

MCE’s Energy Efficiency programs are available to all Marin residents and businesses. They enable residents, businesses, and multifamily property owners to save money through energy savings, increase property value and comfort, and put into their green values into action.

For more information on MCE’s Energy Efficiency Programs, visit

Environmental Forum of Marin, for 40 years offering educational experiences to be treasured, announces their Master Class Program 41: Education for Action — Field Trips, Lectures, and Advocacy Training.  Environmental Forum of Marin’s highly acclaimed Master Class has been educating the general public, environmental advocates, and civic officials for forty years.

Participants in the Forum’s Master Class can expect to develop an understanding of the natural world and adaptation to environmental change, learn what’s at stake for our ecosystems and what needs protection. Emphasis is placed on how citizens can participate in planning processes and develop tools to advocate for preserving a healthy environment for future generations.

Master Class 41 will be presented in two Modules:

Module 1, beginning August 26, 2014 will consist of 9 full days of classes, field trips and advocacy training.

Module 2, beginning January 2015, consists of 8 intensive lectures highlighting pressing environmental issues such as Sea Level Rise, Water Demands in a time of Drought, Land Use and Transportation.

To learn more and attend an orientation event this month, contact  Andrea Taylor at

Celebrate the fullness

Hibiscus - TBG 11-136th Annual Gratitude Gathering

Sunday, July 20, at the Berkeley Ecology Center’s Eco-House.

10:00 am – 1:00 pm.  Eco-House tour.

1:00-3:30 pm.  Gathering, potluck picnic, meditation, speeches, conversation, and song.  Hear former Green Sangha director Lauren Van Ham, founding member Devi Peri, and board president Stuart Moody reflect on the power and the practice of Green Sangha activism.  Celebrate our accomplishments, imagine the future.  Meet our TELA leadership team, who will be starting the summer camp in Marin on Monday morning.

The Eco-House is 11 minutes’ walk from N Berkeley BART.  This is a perfect day to leave your car at home and walk, bike, BART to a celebration of sustainability!  Space is limited for both parts of the day.  Reservations required.  Sign-up and carpool coordination:

On the way home:  TELA (Teen Environmental Leadership Academy) summer 2013

On the way: TELA (Teen Environmental Leadership Academy) summer 2013

Finding your purpose

Gustin 12Green Sangha founder, Jonathan Gustin, invites you to his seminar on Sunday, June 22, at 7 pm in Berkeley:  Life Purpose For Meditators.  In this evening presentation,  Jonathan will speak to the unique challenges—and opportunities—of meditators seeking a clearer sense of purpose in this life.

In Jonathan’s view, meditation practice is about primordial freedom of spirit, but it is not a complete spiritual path.  For a comprehensive awakening to occur, we need not only to deepen our sense of inner freedom but also to discover our mytho-poetic story, our life purpose.

Once we discover the miracle of freedom in meditation there is an opportunity to discover a second miracle:  knowing your soul’s purpose.  Many meditation systems stop at the point where the meditator is released, if only momentarily, from the self-contraction of egoic identity.  The second, equally important, step is about embodiment: engaging the unique strengths of your body-mind to serve in a particular way.

  • First, we find freedom, through meditation, from the sense of separation.
  • Second, we find meaning by embodying our purpose and acting on our sense of oneness.

Eel River - sunlightMeditation is the practice for connecting with pure consciousness.  Soul Encounter is the practice for connecting with the life purpose for which you were born.  In both cases, we experience a liberation from our usual sense of self.

During this evening together we’ll explore:

  • The miracle of meditation
  • The meaning of purpose, place and soul
  • The steps to embodying your soul’s purpose

What is Soul?
Soul is the essence of your specific life purpose. Soul is the reason the Mystery has taken your unique shape. Soul is the creative intelligence of the universe expressing itself through you. Soul is the body of your gift that fills up the garment of your life.

The key to becoming clear about your life-purpose is engagement with soul work. Soul work is a descent into your deep mysterious interior. Soul work is a dive into your incarnate uniqueness. Soul work is initiated by your longing to live a larger life and by the desire to make the world a better place.

Soul work gathers momentum through your willingness to receive the soul’s guidance, rather than letting your thinking dictate all your decisions. Soul work is the profound act of letting your life speak. Soul work is the proven path for disclosing your life purpose.

This seminar offers you a framework to support your spiritual journey towards a soul-centered life. This journey culminates in your ability to take your rightful place in the world, and occupy the niche you were born to inhabit.

Jonathan is wonderfully skilled in the art of guiding people to discover and embody their unique life purpose. There are few things I appreciate more than good teaching, and so I enthusiastically recommend Jonathan’s work with people. Jonathan is a person of great integrity, from whom I am ever learning.    

– Joanna Macy, co-author, Coming Back to Life and Active Hope

Life Purpose For Meditators
Cost: Free (though donations are welcome)
Location: Berkeley
Register here

Take the Resilience Challenge!

Away we goThis is the season for planting and growing.  What seeds will you plant in your community for sustainability, connectedness, resiliency?  This May, join Transition US in actions to:


  1. Save Water
  2. Grow Food
  3. Conserve Energy
  4. Build Community

It’s the Community Resilience Challenge (CRC), in which individuals invite their friends and neighbors in actions, large or small, to accomplish one or more of the objectives above.

During the Community Resilience Challenge, participants commit to specific actions under one or more of these 4 themes (e.g., installing a graywater system, planting a garden, weatherizing the home, or coordinating a community project).  Digging out favas

The CRC is a great spur to take care of those home and garden improvements you’ve been thinking about, to organize a neighborhood work party, or to plan a community visioning event.


1. Plan your action for the month of May. 

2. Register your action to be counted.

3. Send your stories & photos to so we can share them and inspire others!

If you live in the East Bay: contact  We have special discounts, offers, and prizes from businesses to help you with your actions. 

For more information from Transition US, go to:  Community Resilience Challenge.

Buffelgrass day - digging, gathering

Imagining the future we want

“Vision is the art of seeing things invisible.”  – Jonathan Swift, Journal to Stella (1726)

Sat Jan 18, 10 am – 1 pm.  Join us for our monthly mini-retreat in the lovely Sienna Room of the Edgehill Mansion at Dominican University.

10 am.  Gentle Yoga and meditation
11:00. Conversations about the future. Maeve Murphy will lead us in exploratory exercises from Joanna Macy’s Work That Reconnects, reflecting on our wishes and hopes for the future, imagining the resources we need to realize our dreams for the planet.
12:00. Announcements & actions
12:30. Potluck refreshments (avoiding plastic as possible!)
12:50. Clean-up
1:00. Closing circle

AAT conversationLocation & directions.  Edgehill Mansion is on Magnolia Avenue at Dominican University.  We meet upstairs, entering from the south or east side of the mansion.  On this map of Dominican, the Mansion is under the upper right corner.  From 101:  exit Central San Rafael. If coming from the N, turn L on Mission; if from the S, turn R on 2nd.  In either case, proceed one block & turn L onto Grand Ave.  Proceed to Acacia, which T’s onto Grand.  R on Acacia.  Acacia merges into Magnolia; veer slightly R onto Magnolia.  At T go straight ahead through driveway with large stone pillars on either side.  You have arrived; parking lot to L.  Join us in the Sienna Room upstairs on second floor to the R.

Donation.  Free-will donations support our programs of mindful action and cover the cost of rental.

For more information:  write or call (510) 532-6574.

Nimai & Danny at MSSThe deteriorating conditions of our world and the plight of other beings impinge on us all.  We are in this together.  Never before have our destinies been so intertwined.  The fact that our fate is a common fate has tremendous implications.  It means that in facing it together openly and humbly, we rediscover our interconnectedness in the web of life.  From that rediscovery spring courage, a deeper sense of community, and insights into our power and creativity.

– Joanna Macy & Molly Brown, Coming Back to Life (1998, p. 63)

Arbor Day – Sun Feb 15, 2015

Giver of shadeTrees give shade, give fruit, give beauty, give life.  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 effects of shade and consumption of CO2.

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.

Join us at Green Gulch Zen Center and Organic Farm for a gathering of earth stewards to plant native woody shrubs and grasses on Sunday, February 15, 2015.

12:00  Lunch (organic, largely farm-grown, vegetarian, and delicious)
1:00   Green Sangha conversation
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

Mindfulness retreat Dec 21

Sustainability means living in such a way that future generations may enjoy the same abundance, beauty, and opportunities that we enjoy today.  To be a sustainable activist means to take care of yourself as lovingly as you care for the earth.

Sat Dec 21, 10 am – 1 pm.  Join us for an experiential workshop — Sustainability from Within — exploring principles and practices of tension release, renewal, and revitalization of mind and body

Upward reach & smileProgram
10 am.  Opening circle & Yoga stretches (led by Libby Sherwood)
10:15. Meditation (led by Grace Severtson)
10:40. Introductions
10:45. Self-renewal through movement, energy massage, and pure awareness (with Stuart Moody, MA)
12:10. Announcements
12:20. Potluck refreshments (avoiding plastic as possible!)
12:45. Clean-up & closing circle
1:00. Adjourn

We will have a simple exchange:  bring a greeting card or something from the natural world (e.g., a pine cone, special stone, flower, whatever might please you to share). 

Location & directions.  Edgehill Mansion, on Magnolia Avenue in Dominican University.  We meet upstairs, entering from the east side of the mansion.  On this map of Dominican, the Mansion is under the upper right corner.  From 101:  exit Central San Rafael. If coming from the N, turn L on Mission; if from the S, turn R on 2nd.  In either case, proceed one block & turn L onto Grand Ave.  Proceed to Acacia, which T’s onto Grand.  R on Acacia.  Acacia merges into Magnolia; veer slightly R onto Magnolia.  At T go straight ahead through driveway with large stone pillars on either side.  You have arrived; parking lot to L.  Join us in the Sienna Room upstairs on second floor to the R.

Donation.  Free-will donations support our programs of mindful action and cover the cost of rental.

For more information:  write or call (510) 532-6574.

Past participants comment:
“What you taught us sunk in, in ways I’m still discovering.” – IM, certified public accountant

“Each tool/meditation in the workshop helped to calm my thoughts. I especially enjoyed the silent walk and the space it helped to open inside of me. Tools which empty my mind and allow respite from troubles and nagging to-do lists are so precious. I will use these meditations and practices as I journey and build sustainability within.” – RG, city councilmember

“This workshop helped me to let go of all the things that interfere and to soften the boundaries between myself & the rest of the world . . . Marin County will be a better place for everyone if we can follow your guidance and let the benefits flow through in our leadership.” – ME, conservation director

Allison & RebeccaTaking good care of ourselves is part of taking good care of the earth.  Refreshed and revived, we are ready for the work that lies ahead as we restore balance in the world.