Rochester Climate Strike This Friday, September 27

From Roshi:

Alarmed at our overheated planet and governmental failure to address climate change? Dreading the world we could be leaving for our descendants? Come join Sangha members – and probably hundreds of others – for the local Rochester Climate Strike this Friday afternoon. It’s sponsored by a broad coalition of local organizations tapping into the worldwide effort this week to signal that business as usual is unacceptable.

It’s not too late to act, and like the proverbial frog sitting in a pan of steadily-warming water over a flame, I’m one person who’s ready to jump. In a recent teisho (What If Global Warming Is Irreversible?), I chimed in with the myriad scientists and activists who now see no alternative to getting actively involved. “Marches and rallies are not my thing,” you say? You’re not alone, but then, isn’t taking action better than just continuing to look on passively? Rallies are fortifying to everyone in attendance, and if the media cover them, others similarly concerned can feel bolstered. Numbers matter.

For motivation to act, we don’t need to rely on the increasingly frightening projections into the future. Look at the ecological and social breakdowns already happening now! “Our house is on fire!” climate activists point out, and that cry raises the stakes signaled by the Buddha in his Fire Sutra. There he addresses the suffering each of us will face as a result of the inexorable law of impermanence, whereas now it’s obvious that we have countless other species we’re also responsible for. 

Earlier this year the Auckland Zen Centre trustees issued a Climate Emergency Declaration that I will ask our own trustees to ratify at their upcoming meeting. In doing so the Rochester Zen Center would be joining hundreds of other Buddhist communities, faith groups, councils, cities, and nations around the world. “Words are cheap,” yes, but like numbers, they matter.

I am inviting our resident staff to cut our workday a little short this Friday to join me at the rally and march at City Hall. Anyone wanting to car-pool can contact us. And if you’d like to help make signs, join some of us for that, too, in the Center’s Community Space, this Friday afternoon at 2:00.

P.S. Stay tuned in the near future for a revival of the Zen Center’s own Earth Vigils. We did these several times a few years ago – silent zazen in public places to demonstrate our solidarity with our threatened biosphere. The rally this Friday is just the beginning!