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Core Practices to Support the Planet and Ourselves


Estimated reading time: 1 minute

Part of the “Showing up for the Planet” series.

In this video teaching, Donald Rothberg draws on his long-time involvement with socially engaged Buddhism, including the Buddhist Peace Fellowship and the Buddhist Alliance for Social Engagement (BASE) that explored social action and meditation in small-group settings in the San Francisco Bay Area from 1990-2005. Donald invites us to embrace a diverse menu of climate actions as meaningful and counsels us to engage with “what makes you come alive.”

This talk was excerpted from Showing Up for the Planet, a daylong program on August 22 hosted by Marin Sangha. Speakers in addition to Donald included Thanissara, James Baraz, Kritee Kanko, Teja Bell, Kristin Barker, and Eve Decker.

View the slide deck from the presentation.

Six Core Practices for Those Showing Up for the Planet

  1. Regular communion with the earth.
  2. Building community and a sense of connection, and practicing in this context.
  3. Being skillful with difficult emotions and thoughts related to the climate emergency.
  4. Cultivating empathy and compassion, and bringing the empathy across boundaries of country, race, age, class, and political views.
  5. Staying connected to one’s imagination.
  6. Finding one’s own form of committed action and staying with it.


“We need practices which sustain our vision and our bodies, hearts and minds, and our communities.”

“Typically the difficult narratives are covering over unacknowledged or unprocessed pain. We need to get beneath the narratives.”

“I like to talk about empathy more as an intentional practice, than an innate capacity.”

“These are not just about finding personal balance or meaning. These practices create a new world.”

Donald Rothberg

Donald Rothberg

Donald Rothberg, PhD, has practiced Insight Meditation since 1976, and has also received training in Tibetan Dzogchen, Mahamudra practice and the Hakomi approach to body-based psychotherapy. Formerly on the faculties of the University of Kentucky, Kenyon College, and Saybrook Graduate School, he currently writes and teaches classes, groups and retreats on meditation, daily life practice, spirituality and psychology, and socially engaged Buddhism. He is the author of The Engaged Spiritual Life: A Buddhist Approach to Transforming Ourselves and the World and the co-editor of Ken Wilber in Dialogue: Conversations with Leading Transpersonal Thinkers.
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