All life is interrelated, and we are all caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny….I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. And you can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be–this is the interrelated structure of reality.Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Earth justice opens our eyes to the realities that the global environmental and climate crises do not affect us all in the same way. Ecologies of animals, plants, water bodies, soil and air have long suffered from degradation caused by humankind’s delusion of separateness. Communities across the globe that have been historically marginalized by colonialism, poverty, racism, and extractive economies have long struggled for well-being and survival are now being impacted first and worst by the climate crisis. Countries and island nations across the Global South are at the front lines of these disasters despite being the least responsible for the crisis.
The Earth Holder Community believes the leadership of Black, Indigenous, and other People of Color (BIPOC) along with those from the Global South hold tremendous power, knowledge, and resources for our collective survival. The same is true of individuals with disabilities, low income, non-BIPOC, LGBTQUIA+, and others who are deferentially impacted by systemic exploitation driving climate chaos and climate disruption itself. Diverse voices are central to the earth justice movement and must be heard and supported. The Earth Holder Community embraces values of justice and we aspire to continue to grow in allyship, friendship, inclusivity, healing, and liberation. On this small and precious planet we inter-are.
Earth Holders are inspired by earth justice organizations that support a just and swift transition to a carbon neutral future–a transition that redresses past harms and creates ecological and social well-being through democratic processes, cooperation, and a regenerative economy built on the principles of ecological resilience. Organizations leading the way on these issues include:
- Climate Justice Alliance
- People’s Climate Movement
- Indigenous Environmental Network
- Indigenous Climate Acton
In the Encyclical Letter Laudato Si’, Pope Francis expresses Earth Holder Community convictions when he writes:
Every ecological approach needs to incorporate a social perspective which takes into account the fundamental rights of the poor and the underprivileged…. The cry of the earth is the cry of the poor.Pope Francis, Bishop of Rome
As a network of mindful advocates, the Earth Holder Community is inspired by the Jemez Principles for Democratic Organizing. We aim to:
- Be inclusive
- Emphasize bottom-up organizing
- Let people speak for themselves
- Work together in solidarity and mutuality
- Build just relationships among ourselves
- Commit to self-transformation
Today, the Earth Holder Care Taking Council has grown with the new leadership of its monastic and lay BIPOC members. Together we aspire to interweave social and racial justice work in all aspects of earth holding practices. To this end we are:
- Offering a 7-week “This is It” Earth Holder Online Retreat featuring lay, monastic, BIPOC, and white teachers to explore the interconnection, the intersectionality, the interbeingness of ecological- racial-social justice (registration opens early 2020)
- Providing scholarships to people of color, youth, and LGBTQIA at all Earth Holder retreats. (Note: everyone who asked for scholarship support in the past received what they requested.)
- Launching an Action Team focused on Community Earth Holding and Racial Justice. For more information, contact Simona Coayla Duba at
simona [dot] coayladuba [at] gmail [dot] com.
- Benefiting from people of color practitioners and Dharma teachers as they facilitate the Earth Holder Community Online Sangha. See our YouTube Channel here.
- Supporting the Climate Justice Alliance and other people-of-color-led organizations.
In past years, Earth Holders embodied Earth Justice when we
- Hired a very skilled person as the Earth Holder Community Coordinator, a woman of color.
- Committed to a study of racial equity issues, beginning with reading Ruth King’s book, Mindful of Race: Transforming Racism from the Inside Out.
- Committed to the development of 1) a racial equity organizational self-assessment tool, and 2) an optional demographic and interest survey for everyone in the Earth Holder Community.
- Benefited from the wisdom of three Plum Village people of color practitioners on the Mindful Way Forward development committee of a total of eight people.
- Reached out to people of color Dharmacharyas and asked for their input into how to skillfully proceed in changing the culture of the Earth Holder Community.
- Created relationships with local Indigenous Tewa elders and asked permission to have our retreat on their ancestral homeland at Ghost Ranch, Fall 2017.
- Sent a multi-racial team to represent the Plum Village Tradition and the Earth Holder Community at the Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco, September 2018.
- Arranged a delegation of people of color to represent the Earth Holder Community at a cross-Buddhist retreat.
- Raised, in conjunction with Sr. Chân Không and the Thich Nhat Hanh Foundation, more than $25,000 to offset the catastrophic social and economic harm of a massive fish kill in Vietnam from factory pollutants (2014-2015).