An Annotated List of Digital Resources for Informed Community Action, Resistance, and Renewal
I have never been one to get involved in politics. As a journalist I definitively steer clear of anything that could be construed as activism or partisanship. In Buddhism, taking action in the face of injustice can pose a similar question: how to do this in keeping with one’s bodhisattva vows of non-harming, yet without being partisan?
“When we engage with worldly politics, we try not to take sides,” Phap Dung, a Thich Nhat Hanh disciple, said in a recent interview. “It’s easy to choose a side, but as Buddhist practitioners we try to have more inclusiveness.”
Beyond Fear of Differences (BFoD)
Social justice has long been a focal point for the Moutains & Rivers Order. While Shugen Sensei was based at the Brooklyn Temple, the Beyond Fear of Differences Initiative was formed, initially holding retreats and study groups for the sangha. Since May 2016, a planning committee of nine MRO practitioners have been meeting to help build the newest iteration of the Initiative: a monastery-based program to study oppression and privilege as it manifests both in the sangha and the world at large.
The Bees and the Mountain Bears
For many years the Monastery garden has shared space with a trove of bee hives, growing to a whopping six active, thriving hives this summer. In addition to providing pollination for the gardens and beyond, the bees have shared the surplus of their delicious raw honey, which we have been selling at the Monastery Store.
Dakota Access Pipeline Project
My great-grandmother became known as Pearl, as her Sioux birth name was forgotten. Her legend in my family suggests that her patient endurance—despite the traumas of her life during the Western expansion—was similar to the Earth’s great offering of itself. The Earth has offered a great quantity of petroleum, transformed from her earliest life forms, to allow for our great industrial age.
New Zealand and the ‘Climate Angels’
“It’s different when you arrest an angel.” That’s what I thought when in May 2016 I saw the Climate Angels being carried away by police at the blockade of the world’s largest coal port in Newcastle, Australia. Protestors are often dismissed and ignored, and their messages even more so. Even this message, which should strike so desperately close to home: that Australians will lose much that they love (including the great barrier reef) to climate change unless the vast majority of coal reserves are kept in the ground.
When we suffer, struggle, thirst, falter or fail, many of us look to nature to ground ourselves. And though dramatic landscapes can deliver the solace we seek, it is the intimacy created by deep attention that heals. Today I find that intimacy as I release the roots of a young service- berry from a cramped container. I am adding this plant to a community of nectar-rich plants at the edge of my yard, and tracking how this created habitat will impact populations of pollinators in my area.
Case Summary: Juliana v. United States
Twenty-one teenagers from ten states and the Yankton Sioux Tribe, along with an adult acting on behalf of future generations, have cleared an important hurdle in their novel lawsuit against the United States government for contributing to climate change.
United Nations Global Compact Takes Action on Climate Change
In September 2015, the United Nations launched the Sustainable Development Goals, also known as the Global Goals: seventeen ambitious, all-encompassing goals to transform our world by 2030, ending poverty, fighting injustice and inequality, and combating climate change. Progress on these goals is being marshalled by an initiative called the UN Global Compact which is engaging corporations and governments to make significant progress in meeting the Global Goals.