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Touching the Earth page

Earth Day Celebration on Sunday, April 25

A Special Shambhala Sunday Gathering  

With Jocabed Solano

12:00 (Pacific) / 1pm (MT) / 3pm (Eastern) /4pm (AT) / 8pm (UK) / 9pm (CET)

Free and open to all!

Meet Jocabed Solano, our friend of the Gunadule People of Panama
who will share some of the 72 definitions of Earth,
and join the conversation!


Find out how our seven land centers,
SMC, KCL, DDL, DKD, DCL, Casa Werma and Sky Lake
are promoting Earth care and uniting in the shared mission
of protecting the sacred living environment.

Seven two-minutes videos that will cheer you up!!

The March EARTH SALON, “Green Burial” — RECORDING

A monthly meeting offering, with occasional guest ‘experts’, hosted by the Touching the Earth Collective and Shambhala Online, curated and co-facilitated by David Wimberly and Deborah Luscomb.

Green Burial

The March Earth Salon featured Dawn Carson and Hanna Longard, of Green Burial Nova Scotia, cheerfully walking us through the benefits of choosing a natural burial.

Click here to access the recording

Green burial is the act of returning a body as naturally as possible to the earth. Green burials use less energy and resources, making them lower impact than conventional burials or cremation. They are also less toxic, reduce carbon emissions, and protect worker health. Certain types of green burial can even restore or preserve habitat.

Dawn Carson is a successful business owner, Death Doula, Community Deathcaring Educator, Funeral Coordinator, Advance Planning Consultant, Chair – Green Burial Nova Scotia, Meditation Instructor, Non-Violent Communication Facilitator, Certified Yoga Instructor & a consultant on menopause transition. Combining a mix of pragmatic planning and compassionate communication, she provides education and tools to help make your end of life choices. Serving as host of Death Café & Final Curtain Films and as consultant for Death Matters, Dawn is dedicated to creating a culture of openness around living and dying well. 

Hanna Longard grew up with vegetable gardening and composting practices – experiences that teach natural decomposition and nutrient recycling. When learning how conventional funeral practices often inhibit reintegration with the earth, she was curious to discover alternatives and talk with her communities about them. She has a B.Sc. Biology and Philosophy Double Major from Mount Allison University, have conducted a community research project on environmentally friendly funeral practices, completed the Beyond Yonder Virtual School for Community Deathcaring Certificate, attended a weekend Home Funeral Practicum, and led many community events about green deathcare.

We appreciate your donation in any amount!
Click here to contribute
The money collected will be used to offer an honorarium to our guest teachers.


Next Earth salon will be Sunday, April …, 2021 at Noon (Atlantic time)
Passcode: Sacred
(Scroll down for a more detailed Zoom invitation)

Previous Earth Salons

Green Burial with Dawn Carson and Hanna Longard
Click here to access the recording

Wild Bees are Backyard Bees with Michelle McPherson
Click here to access the recording

Living with Eco-Anxiety with Melissa Moore
Click here to access the recording

Climate Victory Gardens with Bob Cervelli
Click here to access the recording

Gratitude with Deborah Luscomb and David Wimberley
Click here to access the recording!

Backyard Chickens with Charlotte Mendel
Click here to access the recording!

“The consideration of where we are and what we are, on the spot, turns out to be very important. We are talking about a farming situation in some sense: how we are going to experience the land properly, the real land, the land that grows crops and the land on which animals are raised.

When we first wake up in our bedrooms, first thing in the morning, it would be so great if the first incense we smelled were either cow or horse manure or the smell of plants. We have to go back and experience how the earth works, rather than purely smelling our neighbor’s bacon cooking as soon as we wake up, and hearing taxicabs roaring and garbage trucks rumbling. We should all experience working on the land, literally and properly. That is the best way to wake ourselves up: smelling earth, actually experiencing good earth.

Ladies and gentlemen, there are a lot of problems that have come up because, since medieval times, the process of conquering the world has been based on conquering the earth
instead of touching ground, touching soil properly.”

From “Nowness,” a talk at the 1979 Kalapa Assembly.

The Earth Salon is intended to bring us together to explore the greater implications of our bodhisattva vow.  We hope to include guided practices, as well as guest speakers to focus on how our daily activities bind us or alienate us from the earth we share with all creatures.

How do we rouse our intention?  How do we move from intention to action?  How do we build resilience and appreciation?  How do we create a pathway for caring activity on this earth?

Together we will investigate these questions and more while looking at food & gardening, housing & construction, travel, clothing, energy, consumption, and many other areas that will undoubtedly arise during our conversations.

The Zoom meetings are free and open to all, but we do appreciate donations.
(Zoom info below.)



Topic: Earth Salon
Time: Every month, on the Second Sunday, 7 occurrence(s)
Passcode: Sacred

March 14, 2021 12:00 PM (Atlantic)

Meeting ID: 81262050347

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MOVIE OF THE MONTH– Thursday, April 15 at 7pm (Atlantic)

From November 2020 to April 2021, we will offer a film to watch on your own time and a scheduled Zoom meeting to have a discussion based on the topic(s) presented in the film. The program will present a broad spectrum of views on our relationship with this earth and will include both documentaries and features from around the world.   

Thursdays: April 15
At: 4:00 pm (MT) / 6:00 pm (ET) / 7:00 pm (AT) 
Zoom Link
Passcode: STECfilm
Meeting ID: 895 1609 7467

1- We announce the movie in this newsletter and on the Collective’s website
2- You watch it at home or with a friend before the discussion date
3- We discuss it online in a Zoom Room, with a break-out groups format
Our Programmer for this series is British-born film brat Angela Pressburger, who has been a Program Consultant for the Vancouver International Film Festival since 2000 and has sat on documentary juries for both the Vancouver and Seattle film festivals. In 2001, Angela founded the Sunshine Coast Film Society, which is still running, and in 2012 she started the Tatamagouche Movie Group, many of whose members will be joining us for this film series. At one point she wrote a movie review column for the Shambhala Sun and she is also the co-founder of the short-lived Shambhala Agricultural Foundation, which turns out to have been just a little before its time. 

April Films:

After a lively conversation about Africa and the state of protecting the land there at our last discussion, we decided we wanted to further explore the topic of  “soil”. These are two of the best on the topic as well as being excellent documentaries which will keep you entertained as you learn. Watch the films if you can, and if you’re inspired, please join us for the discussion

Recognitions: Best Feature Documentary, Boulder, Denver, Heartland, Hamptons, Miami, Mill Valley, Newport Beach, Palm Springs, Sarasota, Sedona, Thessaloniki, and Toronto; plus numerous Critics Awards.

A testament to the immense complexity of nature, The Biggest Little Farm follows two dreamers and a dog on an odyssey to bring harmony to both their lives and the land. When the barking of their beloved dog Todd leads to an eviction notice from their tiny LA apartment, John and Molly Chester make a choice that takes them out of the city and onto 200 acres in the foothills of Ventura County, naively endeavoring to build one of the most diverse farms of its kind in complete coexistence with nature. The land they’ve chosen, however, is utterly depleted of nutrients and suffering from a brutal drought. The film chronicles eight years of daunting work and outsize idealism as they attempt to create the utopia they seek, planting 10,000 orchard trees and over 200 different crops, and bringing in animals of every kind– including an unforgettable pig named Emma and her best friend, Greasy the rooster. When the farm’s ecosystem finally begins to reawaken, so does the Chesters’ hope – but as their plan to create perfect harmony takes a series of wild turns, they realize that to survive they will have to reach a far greater understanding of the intricacies and wisdom of nature, and of life itself.


KISS THE GROUND, 202, USA, 84 min.
Recognitions: Best Documentary, LA Doc., London International Film Festival; and many Critics Awards.

About two-thirds of the world’s soil is desertifying, and the remaining topsoil will be gone within 60 years. Pesticides rebranded for farms from toxic chemicals developed by German scientist Fritz Haber, who also developed the poisons used in the gas chambers of the Holocaust, have been turning the world’s soil into dirt for decades, leading to poverty and global warming. There is hope, however, with “regenerative agriculture,” which could balance our climate, replenish our vast water supplies, and feed the world.

Josh Tickell and Rebecca Tickell examine the eye-opening history of soil narrated by three-time Academy Award® nominee and environmental activist Woody Harrelson. Including historical context about the Dust Bowl—the largest man-made environmental disaster—the film follows modern-day conservationists such as Ray Archuleta, who teaches farmers regenerative agriculture, and French Minister of Agriculture Stéphane Le Foll, who introduced the “4 per 1,000” Initiative, which 30 countries signed except for the US, China, and India. Kiss the Ground takes us around the world, showing a global movement to regenerate the world’s soil

Link to Watch the Film:
In Canada or the US: Netflix


Online Discussion: Thursday, April 15, at 7:00 p.m. Atlantic / 6:00 p.m. Eastern

Zoom Link:
Passcode: STECfilm
Meeting ID: 895 1609 7467

See you in the Movie Zoom Room!


The Touching the Earth Collective Celebrates the Spring Equinox–RECORDING!!

Join us for this special Sunday Gathering featuring a celebration of the spring equinox (Nyida Day), and an opportunity to connect with the cycles of the seasons.













What better way to welcome spring than celebrating the arts and the elements! 

There will be dance, music, words and brilliant colors…

With Acharya Arawana Hayashi, Barbara Bash, and other special guests!
Orchestrated by Sarah Cox

When human beings live in harmony with the principles of heaven and earth, then the four seasons and the elements of the world will also work together harmoniously.”
– Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche.


Working with Grief and Resilience, First Sunday of the Month (April 11) at 7pm (ET)

If you are feeling grief associated with climate disruption, changing climate, species extinction, forest fires, water and food shortages, and the disproportionate impact on marginalized populations at this time, you are not alone. Join together in community for a twice a month online group which will create safe space to explore themes such as gratitude, grieving, activism, resilience and building capacity for staying present and awake in this time which portends both crisis and opportunity.

No ongoing commitment is required. The basis of the group will be contemplations, space for listening, sharing and discussion.

This is a facilitated zoom group taking place the first Sunday evenings of each month from 7:00 – 8:30 pm EDT

Facilitator: Sara Demetry. Please email Sara ([email protected]) for the Zoom link.

Humanity at a Crossroads: Laudato Si’ & The Shambhala Principle—RECORDING AVAILABLE HERE!

An online gathering hosted by the Touching the Earth Collective.

 Several members of the Touching the Earth Collective discussed and compared these two analyses, in which the Pope and the Sakyong offered their assessment of the challenges facing our species and the earth’s biosphere. We have invited former Shambhala President Richard Reoch to facilitate the gathering and he has kindly agreed.


“A certain way of understanding human life and activity has gone awry, to the serious detriment of the world around us. Humanity has entered a new era in which our technical prowess has brought us to a crossroads.”
– Pope Francis, Laudato Si’ 

“We humans have come to a crossroads in our history: we can either destroy the world or create a good future. Even climatically, the balance is shifting to dramatically change the face of the earth. Our ecosystem is in a precarious and fragile state, and our future depends on our actions as a species.” 
–Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, The Shambhala Principle

In the run-up to the 196-nation conference that adopted the historic Paris Agreement on climate change in 2015,  the Pope and the Sakyong offered their assessment of the challenges facing our species and earth’s biosphere. They also set out the personal and societal changes that would be needed to meet the threat of global devastation.

After retiring as President of Shambhala, Richard Reoch developed a 14-point comparison of these two analyses and found remarkable resonances between them.

Click here to access the document, prepared by Richard, about the Points of Convergence. 

Here is the recording for Part 1, which took place on Saturday, October 17:


Here is the recording for PART 2, which took place on Saturday, November 14. 

24 Hours of Reality: Countdown to the Future–Recording now available!

With Mayela Manasjan and David Takahashi.

 We’re at an inflection point. COVID-19, the climate crisis, and a global reckoning on racial justice have forced us to rethink normal and created a new world of possibilities. 

Please enjoy the recording below!

Join Climate Reality Leaders, David Takahashi and Mayela Manasjan for a digital presentation dedicated to learning more about climate change, how the Sacred Path of the Warrior happens to fall within the intersection of the triple bottom line of people, planet, and profit, and the steps we can all take to solve our climate crisis.






Two-Eyed Seeing with Elder Albert Marshall–Recording now available here!

Join us for this conversation with Elder Albert Marshall, HonDLitt – Mi’kmaw Nation, facilitated by Christine Heming.

Saturday, July 25 at 4:00 pm (Atlantic).

Climate change activists have been calling for indigenous peoples to be part of the solution to tackling climate change, emphasizing their traditional wisdom and practical knowledge.  Elder Albert Marshall’s two-eyed seeing is a guiding principle for how to join indigenous wisdom and knowledge with Western science and technology in a collaborative effort of co-learning how to live on this earth in a balanced and sustainable way.

Albert Marshall is a highly respected and much-loved Elder of the Mi’kmaw Nation; he lives in Eskasoni First Nation in Unama’ki (Cape Breton), Nova Scotia, and is a passionate advocate of cross-cultural understandings and healing, and of our human responsibilities to care for all creatures and our Earth Mother.  

In Albert’s words:  “So this is what we truly believe. This is what reinforces our spiritualities: that no one being is greater than the next, that we are part and parcel of the whole, we are equal, and that each one of us has a responsibility to the balance of the system”. 

Please enjoy the recording!

You can also read the transcript here!