As one of many Sacred Earth, Sacred Trust events that occurred around the world on Sunday, June 12, members of One Earth Sangha came together in spiritual practice to inspire compassionate action on climate change and environmental justice issues. Six months after the signing of the Paris Climate Agreement, we can affirm the sacred together and deepen our commitment to the health of the Earth and all beings. Read more about the Sacred Earth, Sacred Trust event and our community’s participation below the webinar.
This recording of the live webinar features Rev. Jayna Gieber, ordained in the Order of Interbeing and a leader in the Earth Holder Sangha as well as Peter Nickol, a current aspirant to the Order of Interbeing and also a member of the Earth Holder Sangha. Jayna and Peter offer guided meditations and chanting in the style of Zen master Thích Nhất Hạnh that develop our ability to skillfully connect with the climate crisis and avail ourselves to the heart’s natural response.
Faith Groups Finding Their Voice
As we mentioned in a previous post on these events, world religions have had a mixed track record when it comes to moving forward the causes of justice, peace and the protection of all that is sacred. So we can rejoice in the growing movement of faith groups who are calling all of us to put aside that which divides and answer the moral call of our time: swift, decisive action on climate change. Sacred Earth, Sacred Trust is a world-wide collection of events taking place on June 12 and is being organized by our partners at GreenFaith. You can read more about the call for an ethical response to climate change in our recent post authored by GreenFaith’s director, Reverend Fletcher Harper.
Hundreds of events took place around the world. Many church services around the world were devoted to embracing care for the Earth as part of spiritual practice. Many faith groups came together in Earth-care projects or engaged in public demonstrations. People came together in Santiago, Chile’s central square for the first multi-faith environment action. In Rio, scientists, faith communities and school children protested for environmental justice in Guanabara Bay. Still others are undertaking a personal commitment to go without as they fast together in solidarity with those affected by climate change. As Sacred Earth, Sacred Trust falls within the holy month of Ramadan, our friends in the Muslim community honored the occasion with Green Iftar (celebrating the Prophetic Diet which breaks a fast) with sustainable, local foods.
Mindfulness and Buddhist centers joined in as well, for example:
- The Charlotte Buddhist Vihara and Great Woods Zen center organized an event to “reconnect with nature in a half day of meditation and reflection, and to bless this precious earth.”
- The Boulder Ecodharma Sangha, Our Sacred Earth, and StarHouse collaborated on all day event and provided this report:Our event was planned as a collaboration between 3 organizations: Boulder Ecodharma Sangha, Our Sacred Earth, and StarHouse Visioneers. An Ecodharma Sangha member sent a link to this article about the vision for a Symbiocene following the Anthropocene. The harmony and ease of collaboration we experienced in planning and putting on this event was refreshing and beautiful making me think that this was a Symbiocene event! Our experience bodes well, I think, for the possibility of people to come together in a free and easy way, with much joy, to create uplifting events and take actions on behalf of the environment. Ten of us gathered at the StarHouse, some coming via organized carpool – all invited to join into whatever section of the 10:00 am to 4:30 pm activities worked best for them. Morning volunteer work on the StarHouse land was a real pleasure for those who contributed to window washing and cleaning walking spaces. We enjoyed getting to know each other under the trees for a shared picnic lunch then gathered in front of the beautiful StarHouse at 2 pm to dance and sing the song “Where I walk is sacred.” We began with an opening milling exercise, from Joanna Macy, then called the directions using parts of the Haudenosaunee Giving Thanks. After meditation, an orientation was provided to the International Climate Action Day and the significance of 1.5 degrees Celsius.One of us facilitated a series of exercises designed to address our often experienced sense of disempowerment in a culture dominated by life styles and industrial practices which are overheating the atmosphere and degrading many Earth ecosystems. We meditated again, outdoors on the sacred land, seeking inspiration from nature then had the opportunity to contemplate and share with each other.
- In Pennsylvania, USA, our friends at Water in the Wave Sangha hosted an event and provided this report on their “multi-denominational celebration of the earth and encouragement to engage our reverence for the earth off the cushion and out of the pew.” Members participated in an inclusive spiritual teaching on how each of their traditions reverence the earth with each teaching separated by many breaths for reflection. Teachings were provided from the Christian, Buddhist, First Nation, Wicca and Unitarian communities. We opened our weekly Sangha with the pebble meditation of Thích Nhất Hạnh with members holding a smooth rounded river rock stone, symbolic of the earth and its inter-being with the flower, the mountain, water and the non-self elements of all that we are and see. Walking meditation lead to a path under a massive tree on our campus and moments of silence occurred there. We closed with a reading of the Five Mindfulness Trainings, or as the book is so prophetically titled: For a Future to be Possible.