Climate Action Group
Climate Action Group at SIMS
The Climate Action Group at SIMS was started in May of 2018 by a few sangha members concerned about the climate crisis. We are interested in working within our sangha and from the ground of our Dhamma practice to learn, understand, connect, and, with wise intention and view, take appropriate actions.
We meet monthly, have sponsored several programs at SIMS, and facilitated Tim Geil, one of our guiding teachers, in giving annual climate crisis-related Dhamma talks each April, the month during which Earth Day is celebrated. We have an online bulletin board with our mission, goals, and meeting notes, as well as a variety of resources to deepen understanding of the climate crisis and how to take meaningful action. We offer “Practices for a livable planet” as one way to engage with the climate crisis as Buddhist practitioners, and our Climate Buddies program (details below) connects sangha members for mutual support.
Signing up to be on our email list allows access to our bulletin board and monthly invitations to attend our meetings. If you are interested in getting on our email list, please email Ken Yasuhara. If you have questions and would like more information, please contact Iris Antman.
2023 January update: Expand the Green Buildings Now benefit section below for the latest on the fundraising effort.
Sunday, 2022 September 18
Our group held a meditation walk/circle at Cal Anderson Park on Capitol Hill. We met, walked silently, shared feelings/thoughts in a circle related to the climate crisis.
Sunday, 2022 May 15, 3:00 pm
SIMS co-sponsored a benefit performance of Nelda Swiggett’s The Alaska Suite: a story of loss, beauty and hope. The Alaska Suite is a performance comprised of a jazz quintet, images, poetry, spoken word and audience participation that depicts how the climate crisis is unfolding in Alaska and leaves audiences inspired to take action. All proceeds from ticket sales supported Green Buildings Now, a grassroots initiative promoting social justice and climate resilience by working with frontline community leaders to remove fossil fuels from buildings in a just way.
Green Buildings Now Update
2023 January 27
Last May, SIMS’ Climate Action Group sponsored and organized a fundraiser for Green Buildings Now. Along with 18 co-sponsors, including other faith-based climate groups and environmental groups, we held an event featuring a performance of Nelda Swiggett’s The Alaska Suite: A story of beauty, loss and hope. The event took place at Seattle First Baptist Church and was attended by approximately 150 people. Between ticket sales and donations offered as a result of advertising, the event raised roughly $10,000, adding a bit to the more than $200,000 that Green Buildings Now, along with their partners at Bethany United Church of Christ, had already raised over the previous year and a half.
Bethany UCC, besides wanting to weatherize and decarbonize their campus’ four buildings, including the church sanctuary, also envisioned a resilience hub where community members could seek shelter in the event of extreme weather or natural disaster emergencies. To build a robust hub would cost $750,000.
In the fall of 2022, Green Buildings Now reached out to Tammy Morales, Seattle City Councilmember for District 2, which includes Beacon Hill (home to Bethany UCC), to request a $455,000 addendum to the city budget in order to build out Bethany’s campus to become a robust resilience hub. Many people testified at several council meetings over the course of weeks to voice support for this budget item, and it was successful! The request was passed through the council budget committee and approved by the full city council, becoming part of the budget that the mayor signed into law in December, 2022!
Growing from the love, persistence, and efforts of a small group of people and several community organizations, a partnership working towards a project to benefit the community came to fruition. I am pleased and proud that SIMS played a part in this important project.
Interdependence and Our Ecological Crisis: Responding with Wisdom, Compassion, and Justice
(co-sponsored by SIMS and Dharma Friendship Foundation)
- Restoring the Land, Rehabilitating the Mind
2021 February 28
- “Changer and The Star People”: The Role of Indigenous Sovereignty and Culture in Healing our World
Fern Naomi Renville (Dakota) and Roger Fernandes (Lower Elwha S’Klallam)
2021 March 27
- The Dharma of Resistance
Kritee Kanko, Ph.D., climate scientist, Zen priest, educator, and Dharma teacher
2021 April 24
- Finding the Courage to Embrace the Climate Crisis with Wisdom and Compassion
Joel Levey, Ph.D., founder of Wisdom at Work
2021 May 22
- How Do We Work with Grief and Trauma on the Cushion?
Zhiwa Woodbury, M.A., ecopsychologist
2021 June 12
Teachings on the Climate Crisis
SIMS co-guiding teacher Tim Geil’s climate-themed teachings:
- Wise Intention and the Climate Crisis, 2021 April 19
- Climate Crisis and Wise Intention, 2020 April 20
- Climate Crisis and Wise Intention, recap & discussion, 2020 April 27
- Climate Change and the Dharma: Practice and Reflection, 2019 April 16
- Study Nature, Study Dharma: Buddhism, Nature, and the Climate Crisis, Lyndal Johnson, 2023 April 24
- Earth Day Talk: Climate Dukkha, Lauren Wilson, 2023 April 23
- Responding to the Climate Crisis with our Dharma Practice, Lauren Wilson, 2021 April 18
The Climate Action Group offers an opportunity to partner with a "Climate Buddy" to sustain the work of opening to and working with the difficult issues around the climate crisis with a spiritual friend. Connection and support allow for the deep exploration needed to find ways of responding that make sense to you.
You may already have a friend with whom to partner. If you do not and would like to find a buddy, we are happy to facilitate this process. Here’s how it works: Click here to email Lauren Wilson and let her know you would like a Climate Buddy. She will pair you with someone and email both of you by way of an introduction. From there, you decide for yourselves how often you want to communicate (daily, twice a week, weekly, etc.) and how you want to communicate (email, text, phone call, etc.). Don’t rush into action. Take time to sit with and share your feelings and thoughts so your actions feel congruent and doable.
We offer prompts below that might help Climate Buddies focus their communication. We suggest exploring one at a time and also encourage Climate Buddies to come up with their own prompts.
- What are some hopes you have for yourself and your community with respect to the climate crisis?
- Where are you in your journey of facing the climate crisis?
- Who or what provides inspiration for you in responding to the climate crisis?
- What kind of support would you like to help you find appropriate responses to the climate crisis?
- What specific support would you like your Climate Buddy to provide to you?
- Would you like to explore and share your eco-biography?
- What are some obstacles you have encountered personally in responding to the climate crisis?
- What are some strengths you bring to addressing the climate crisis?
- What meditation practices support you as you face the climate crisis?
- What are some action steps you have already taken to respond to the climate crisis?
- What are some next steps you want to take? (See our list of suggested/recommended actions at http://bit.ly/sims-climate-reco.)