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The Green Way of Deer Park

Posted by Brother Phap Luu

Here at Deer Park Monastery, monks, nuns, and lay practitioners practice and teach mindful living in the Plum Village tradition of Vietnamese Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh. The practice of mindfulness and the insight of interbeing are core to our actions. Our tradition’s teachings are ecologically founded as they rely on the interconnectedness and interrelationship of all things.

When Thay addressed UNESCO he called on all the world’s residents to “wake up” to the dangers of global warming and to take action to stop it. To demonstrate this message the monks and nuns at Deer Park have taken significant actions to respond to the ecological threat of global climate change.

The residents at Deer Park Monastery have implemented a visionary environmental plan to reduce their collective greenhouse gas emissions. As part of their environmental initiative, residents and visitors to Deer Park Monastery:

Community Living:

•           live, work and play in one place – no commuting

•           share facilities, roommates – less resources

•           can buy food in bulk – save packaging

•           live simply – consume less

•           offer the opportunity to for people to come and live with us - see for themselves

 

Transportation:

•           dedication of one day a week when we do not drive – a Car Free Day

•           combining trips and errands when we go out

•           walk around Deer Park

•           Veggie Car for short trips to town – drinks reused vegetable oil

•           electric cart for silent trips around Deer Park

•           encourage carpooling and mass transit for visitors who attend

Electricity:

•           solar energy system cover 90 % or our usage

•           replaced all light fixtures for energy efficiency

•           limit heating or A/C

•           air dry clothes

•           do not wash clothes every day/wear clothes for more than one day.

Water:

•           Develop landscaping using native plants that need less water, fertilizer, and care to thrive.

•           Practice of mindful consumption- use the minimum of water that we need.

•           use of well

•           Incorporate Rainwater harvesting into our landscaping practices. Making berms to have rainwater soak into the earth

•           installed water-free urinals

Food:

•           vegan diet

•           home cooked meals

•           Composting of food scraps into new soil builder

•           Growing food for the monastery and visitors in the garden

•           Updated the 5 contemplations to include preserving the planet and reversing the process of global warming. These contemplations are used daily by 1,000s of people worldwide.

Live close to nature:

•           cultivating a connection with plants and animals

•           recognize the wonders of this planet

We all know that our actions today will create what kind of future we will have. We have to live in such a way that a future will be possible for our children and our grandchildren, and our own life has to be our message.