Earth Initiative

Green Dragon Earth Initiative

Earth Awareness, Earth Body

During Spring ango 2023 at Zen Mountain Monastery, MRO students will facilitate explorations of the deep bonds we experience within the natural world, on Sunday afternoons (1-2:30pm*). These gatherings will be grounded in direct, non-conceptual awareness practice to help us experience things as they are with curiosity and freshness. Space will be made for reflection and inquiry into our feelings and our yearning to protect all beings from climate catastrophe. We will meet what arises together and take inspiration from the work from Joanna Macy and others, with love, fierceness, compassion and courage.

March 19—Spring: Direct Contemplation, Deep Connection

April 2—Sky Life: Migrating and Nesting Birds

May 7 & May 14—Wild Foraging

*If you have visited ZMM before, then simply register for that Sunday on the Programs Page and follow all required protocols. If the date is full, join the waiting list and contact

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 empty writing instruments, glue sticks, watercolor dispensers, paint sets, and flexible packaging. BIC® Stationery Recycling Program

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