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Earth Day 2023 at Spirit Rock

On Earth Day, April 22, 2023, Spirit Rock Meditation Center and One Earth Sangha hosted a day-long gathering grounded in wisdom, community, and action. The theme, “From Heartbreak to Engagement,” reflected both the challenge of navigating ecological distress and the wealth of opportunities for compassionate response. Below you can find ideas and opportunities for your engaged practice, as well as more information on the EcoDharma leaders who took part in the gathering.

Please feel free to add in the comments any other resources you’d like to share with the community. We may also choose to highlight some of your submissions in our resource sections that appear elsewhere on our website.

From Presenters

James

Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer

Rhonda Magee

Lyla June

Mark Coleman

Ancestry

My Ancestry DNA results came in.
Just as I suspected, my great great grandfather
was a monarch butterfly.

Much of who I am is still wriggling under a stone.
I am part larva, but part hummingbird too.

There is dinosaur tar in my bone marrow.

My golden hair sprang out of a meadow in Palestine.

Genghis Khan is my fourth cousin,
but I didn’t get his dimples.

My loins are loaded with banyan seeds from Sri Lanka,
but I descended from Ravanna, not Ram.

My uncle is a mastodon.

There are traces of white people in my saliva.

3.7 billion years ago I swirled in golden dust,
dreaming of a planet overgrown with lingams and yonis.

More recently, say 60,000 B.C.
I walked on hairy paws across a land bridge
joining Sweden to Botswana.

I am the bastard of the sun and moon.

I can no longer hide my heritage of raindrops and cougar scat.

I am made of your grandmother’s tears.

You conquered rival tribesmen of your own color,
chained them together, marched them naked to the coast,
and sold them to colonials from Savannah.

I was that brother you sold, I was the slave trader,
I was the chain.

Admit it, you have wings, vast and golden,
like mine, like mine.

You have sweat, black and salty,
like mine, like mine.

You have secrets silently singing in your blood,
like mine, like mine.

Don’t pretend that earth is not one family.
Don’t pretend we never hung from the same branch.
Don’t pretend we don’t ripen on each other’s breath.
Don’t pretend we didn’t come here to forgive.

– Fred LaMotte

  • Poem: “Lost” by David Wagoner
  • “Knowing that you love the earth changes you, activates you to defend and protect and celebrate. But when you feel that the earth loves you in return, that feeling transforms the relationship from a one-way street into a sacred bond.”

    ― Robin Wall Kimmerer, Braiding Sweetgrass

Charity Kahn

Kristin Barker

  • EcoSattva Training
  • Regeneration.org

Action Opportunities and Organizations

Bay Area

© Bryan Hanson from Unsplash

California

United States

Canada

© Reijo Telaranta from Pixabay
  • Yours to Protect Weekend is designed to help people find Earth Day events run by grassroots groups in Ontario.
  • Indigenous Climate Action (ICA) – an Indigenous-led organization guided by a diverse group of Indigenous knowledge keepers, water protectors and land defenders from communities and regions across the country.
  • Alberta Talks – The Alberta Talks project is run by a team of Albertans looking to bridge divides, so we can work together toward a prosperous future for everyone in our beautiful province.
  • Council of Canadians – Bringing people together through collective action and grassroots organizing to challenge corporate power and advocate for people, the planet and our democracy.
  • Ecology Action Centre – Engaging community in Nova Scotia to create systemic change in the face of urgent, complex environmental issues.

International/Global

  • World Resources Institute
    • Their newsletter offers ways to influence policy as well as incisive reports and articles on climate solutions. A great example of some of their recent work is the State of Climate Action 2022.
  • Systems Change Lab
    • A systems-level resource with both research and climate solutions. They also host webinars regularly and offer updates via their mailing list.
  • Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network (WECAN)
    • WECAN hosts regular informational webinars and occasionally in-person events where you can learn about current climate issues and opportunities for engaging with them. They regularly send out recordings of the events in their newsletter.
  • UN Environment Programme
    • UNEP publishes helpful reports that can help inform your response to climate issues, including IPCC summaries
  • Project Drawdown
  • Regeneration Nexus
    • Both Project Drawdown and Regeneration Nexus home extensive databases of climate issues and solutions. You can probably live many lifetimes and not run out of solutions to engage with listed here.
  • XR (Extinction Rebellion) Buddhists
  • Influence Map
    • Great resource to understand the climate crisis that may inform the way you engage and where you choose to direct your energy. See Influence Map’s U.S. Power Sector and Climate Policy Report for an example of the work they do.
  • Transition Network
    • You can find local and national groups on their website who are working to heal the environment together. Consider joining one near you.
  • 350.org
  • Not Too Late
    • A project to bring newcomers to climate organizing and to provide climate facts and encouragement to those already on the path

More Resources for Your Engagement

Books and Articles

© adege from Pixabay

Talks, Podcasts, Interviews

Please feel free to add in the comments any other resources you’d like to share with the community. We may also choose to highlight some of your submissions in our resource sections that appear elsewhere on our website.

Guests and Presenters

You can learn more below about the EcoDharma leaders who took part in this gathering.

James Baraz

James Baraz has been teaching meditation for over thirty years. He is a co-founder teacher of Spirit Rock Meditation Center in Woodacre, California where he regularly teaches, and he leads retreats and workshops around the United States and abroad. He created the Awakening Joy course, which has had over 9,000 participants on-site and online, since 2003. He is on the International Advisory Board of the Buddhist Peace Fellowship. He lives with his wife, Jane, in Berkeley, California. He is the co-author with Shoshana Alexander of Awakening Joy: 10 Steps that Will Put You on the Road to Real Happiness. He can be reached at

Rhonda V. Magee

An internationally-sought-after mindfulness teacher and keynote speaker, and a thought and practice innovator of mindfulness-based social justice principles, concepts and practices, Rhonda V. Magee, M.A., J.D., is Professor of Law at the University of San Francisco. She is the author and teacher of The Inner Work of Racial Justice: Healing Ourselves and Transforming Our Communities Through Mindfulness. To learn more visit RhondaVMagee.com.

Mark Coleman

Mark is an inner and outer explorer, who has devotedly studied mindfulness meditation practices for three decades. He is passionate about sharing the power of meditation and has taught mindfulness workshops and meditation retreats in six continents for the past twenty years. Mark is a senior meditation teacher at Spirit Rock Meditation Center and has taught there since 2000. Through his organization Awake in the Wild, he shares his passion for integrating meditation and nature.

Kristin Barker

Kristin is co-founder and directo of One Earth Sangha whose mission is to cultivate a Buddhist response to ecological crises. She is a graduate of Spirit Rock’s Community Dharma Leader program and now teaches with the Insight Meditation Community of Washington (DC). As a co-founder of White Awake, Kristin has been supporting white people since 2011 with a Dharma approach to uprooting racism in ourselves and in our world. With a background in software engineering as well as environmental management, she has worked at several international environmental organizations. She is a GreenFaith Fellow and serves on the advisory board of Project Inside Out. Kristin was born and raised in northern New Mexico and currently lives in Washington DC, traditional lands of the Piscataway peoples.

Lyla June

Dr. Lyla June Johnston (aka Lyla June) is a poet, singer-songwriter, hip-hop artist, human ecologist, public speaker and community organizer of Diné (Navajo), Tsétsêhéstâhese (Cheyenne) and European lineages. Her multi-genre presentation style has engaged audiences across the globe towards personal, collective and ecological healing. Her messages focus on Indigenous issues and solutions, supporting youth, inter-cultural healing, historical trauma, and traditional land stewardship practices. She blends her study of Human Ecology at Stanford, graduate work in Indigenous Pedagogy, and the traditional worldview she grew up with to inform her music, perspectives and solutions. Her doctoral research focused on the ways in which pre-colonial Indigenous Nations shaped large regions of Turtle Island (aka the Americas) to produce abundant food systems for humans and non-humans. Her internationally acclaimed live performances are conveyed through the medium of speech, hip-hop, poetry, and acoustic music. Her personal goal is to grow closer to Creator by learning how to love deeper.

Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer

Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer lives on the banks of the wild San Miguel River in southwest Colorado with her husband and daughter. She co-hosts Emerging Form (a podcast on creative process), Secret Agents of Change (a surreptitious kindness cabal) and Soul Writer’s Circle. Her poetry has appeared on A Prairie Home Companion, PBS News Hour, O Magazine, American Life in Poetry, on Carnegie Hall stage, and on river rocks she leaves around town. Her collection Hush won the Halcyon Prize. Naked for Tea was a finalist for the Able Muse Book Award. She believes in practice, and since 2006, she’s written a poem a day. These can be read on her blog, A Hundred Falling Veils. Her daily audio series, The Poetic Path, can be found on the Ritual app on your phone. Her new book for writers, Exploring Poetry of Presence II: Prompts to deepen your writing practice is available the first week of May, 2023. Her newest poetry collection, All the Honey, is out April 2023.

Charity Kahn

Charity Kahn is a musician, teaching artist and certified mindfulness and Qigong instructor based in San Francisco, CA. She has released seven albums of award-winning music for families with her band “Charity and the JAMband”, and shares music, movement and mindfulness with people of all ages around the Bay Area and beyond through her beloved classes and concerts. Charity also channels her passion for Earth, animal and climate justice into recordings and concerts for grown-ups with her band, “The Invisible Bee”, and supports people interested in transitioning to plant-based living through her “Vegan Journey” courses and collaboration with PAEAN (Peoples Alliance for Earth Action Now). For more info, visit www.jamjamjam.com and www.charitykahn.com

Please feel free to add in the comments any other resources you’d like to share with the community. We may also choose to highlight some of your submissions in our resource sections that appear elsewhere on our website.

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