Here at Crestone Mountain Zen Center, we are looking for ways to integrate our personal quest to be fully alive with a caring and meaningful response to the planetary ecological crisis we are facing.
We all ask the same question: What can we do? As Buddhists we vow to awaken and live for the benefit of all beings. When it comes to carbon emissions and climate stabilization, the time to act wholeheartedly on this vow is now! We know what to do. We must do everything to create a zero carbon economy and lifestyle.
We have decided to transform Crestone Mountain Zen Center, our Sangha home at the edge of the Sangre de Cristo Wilderness, into a net zero carbon campus by 2030.
In 2017, we completed an energy audit and built a campus-wide energy model. In early 2018, we implemented the recommended energy efficiency measures and, despite growing program activity, reduced CO2 emissions by 12% in absolute numbers and 27% per user-night. In 2019, with the help of a local engineering group, we developed a campus-wide fuel conversion plan to switch all propane-fueled systems in our 12 buildings to electrical.
Right now, we are fundraising for a 50kW solar array that will reduce campus emissions by an additional 75%. We plan to connect the system in May 2020.
Next steps will be to incrementally complete the conversion to electrical and build a second 50kW array to provide the additionally needed solar energy. We are also working on the transition to electric cars.
Every year, on our Wild Dharma trips, the Sangha enters the wilderness of the Sangre de Cristo Range, the pristine mountains behind our Zen Practice Center. We ask wild nature to teach us, to help us become aware of the undivided nature of our existence. Its beauty nourishes us and fills us with joy and aliveness. Yet, in our times of climate change and species extinction, wild nature’s fragility also calls us to action.
Therefore, we are determined to develop our Zen Practice Center as an ecologically responsible, sustainable and regenerative community that embodies the change the world urgently needs.
Each year, we touch many people’s lives: many Zen practitioners from different walks of life as well as guests, body workers, other spiritual teachers, college students, local community members, and federal land managers. While today’s ecological problems are planetary and require global political responses, we know that all transformative change is enacted locally. We trust that what we do at this Center can be an example and inspire others to join the larger, interdependent dynamic of transformation that is underway everywhere.
We have to act decisively and boldly. The whole Earth is calling us to action. We start by shining one corner of the world. Our corner, our home. And then, of course, we can make home as large as we want it to be.
“We say ‘to shine one corner of the world.’ That is enough. Not the whole world. Just make it clear where you are.”
(Shunryu Suzuki Roshi)
“We don’t have to act out of fear or guilt for not doing enough. We can commit to taking care of, protecting, and nourishing the biosphere and thus our own lives, simply because we choose to. Out of freedom!”
(Zenki Dillo Roshi)
If you want to become a campaign champion for this vision, please contact us for more information.