Earth Initiative

Green Dragon Earth Initiative

Earth Awareness, Earth Body

During Fall ango 2023 we are offering ways to work with the climate crisis from a place of community empowerment: MRO students will facilitate “The Week,” a three-part video-discussion focused on facing the current climate crisis and deciding how to respond with others (SEE DATES, TIMES & REGISTRATION BELOW). You can watch a 2-minute trailer of “The Week” here, or even sign up to do it with friends!

To participate in “The Week,” sign up for one of these options, (online or in person):

Meet online, over three weeks:

via ZOOM Wednesdays 9/13, 9/20, 10/4, time: 7-8:30pm EST. Facilitated by Seisan Laura and Sanzen Cole. REGISTER HERE.

Meet online for three consecutive days:

via ZOOM Monday 9/18, Tuesday 9/19, Wednesday 9/20, time: 7-8:30pm EST. Facilitated by Ishin Mason REGISTER HERE

via ZOOM Sunday 10/8, Monday 10/9, Tuesday 10/10, time: 7-8:30pm EST  Facilitated by Taikyo Gilman and Bryan Jackson REGISTER HERE

Meet in person weekly (at these locations):

DATE CHANGE! @ZMM Sundays afternoons starting 9/24, 10/1, 10/8, time: 1:30-3pm. Facilitated by Taikyo Gilman and Bryan Jackson REGISTER HERE

@ZCNYC as Born as the Earth, Tuesday evenings 9/2610/310/10,  time: 7-8:30pm (zendo is open for sitting beforehand) Facilitated with Chikyuu Donohue and Ishin Mason REGISTER HERE

Questions? Contact


Starting in October, we will offer “Ecosattva Training,” a deep dharma-driven exploration of the climate crisis and how to respond from an empowered place of compassion; introductory session with sangha in early October (date TBD). To find out more about “Ecosattva Training,” visit this site. An information session will be held online on October 2nd. More info to follow!


TerraCycle, for collective impact!

Lay sangha are invited to join TerraCycle with the Monastery’s on-site plastics collection project. Specific plastic packaging is collected and returned to manufacturers listed below. When you visit ZMM, just add them to our TerraCycle boxes. Here are the many items you can collect for TerraCycle (please bring them clean and dry!)

What you can recycle

All brands of used or empty toothpaste tubes and caps, toothbrushes, toothpaste cartons, toothbrush outer packaging, and floss containers NOTE: Electric toothbrushes, battery toothbrushes, and/or their parts are not accepted for recycling through the program. Colgate® Oral Care Recycling Program

All brands of blades and razors (systems and disposable units, and replaceable-blade cartridge units), rigid plastic packaging, and flexible plastic bag packaging  Gillette® Razor Recycling Program

Find out more about Teracycle. and see this article on plastic mass now outweighing the earth’s animal life.
Reducing Carbon emissions

In New York State: a group of environmental organizations have banded together to pass a collection of bills called Climate Can’t Wait 2022:

NYS Governor Hochul’s budget concerning the environment does not yet include the $15 billion investment asked for by the Climate and Community Investment Act (CCIA). You can find the full story here.

Ecosattvas and the Climate Crisis
A group of Earth Initiative sangha members are exploring the Ecosattva Training Program offered by One Earth Sangha to bring a perspective which centers global majority concerns and perspectives on healing the planet and dealing with the ongoing climate crisis. Please explore the program offering and consider joining!

Arising from profound love and deep respect for the earth, the Green Dragon Earth Initiative is an ongoing effort by the sangha of the Mountains and Rivers Order to address the individual, institutional, national and global degradation of our planet. Recognizing that all life springs forth from an intricate, causally-related web of interdependence, every action intended to benefit one part must benefit the whole. This Initiative thus focuses on the whole of the Earth, it’s creatures, and human society. Issues of social and environmental justice are also within the scope of this Initiative.

The MRO sangha members are from Zen Mountain Monastery and the Zen Center of New York City. Previous activities have including gathering to share information about, and organize responses to, issues involving the health of the planet that seem most urgent. The Initiative is part and parcel with a broader Dharma Action Initiative that attempts to take on a variety of social and economic issues effecting our communities, our country, and our world.

The Earth Initiative includes:

  • Clarifying our understanding of the nature of the self and its relationship to the Earth through traditional study of Buddhist teachings, practice and training
  • Reducing the ecological footprints of Zen Mountain Monastery and the Zen Center of New York City
  • Examining and adjusting individual life choices to improve our impact on our planet
  • Community and Policy action (at the local, state, national, and global levels)
  • Identifying global systems and their interdependence
  • Education about relevant issues
  • Challenging cultural assumptions that undermine sustainability

The countenance of the mountains is completely different when we are in the world gazing off at the mountains, and when we are in the mountains meeting the mountains.
Mountains & Rivers Sutra, Master Dogen