As young mindfulness practitioners, we are aware of the damage we cause to the Earth by our high ecological footprint due to our habits of consumption. We try to lower our footprint, for instance by choosing a vegetarian or vegan diet or refusing to buy things we don’t really need. However, we know that as members of modern society our ecological impact still will be very high. Traveling to retreats or going on Wake Up tours – while nourishing ourselves and bringing happiness and relief of suffering to many people – we even increase our ecological footprint. This insight inspires us to – on the other hand – get active to help our planet.
Looking deeply into our Interbeing Nature with trees, young practitioners have started a few years ago planting trees at the end of Wake Up Retreats, as a symbol of hope, and our wish to take care of the planet, as well as entrusting the seeds of happiness, community, love and understanding that have been watered during the Retreat to the Earth and letting them grow into tall trees, baring fruits for everyone to enjoy.
The Forest of Interbeing project is a next step further of this path. By purchasing remaining areas of tropical forest in order to protect them from destruction and by replanting parcels of land where tropical forest had been destroyed we can have a real impact, by reducing CO2, for our descendants to enjoy a healthy Mother Earth and by returning a Home to the many living beings and diverse wildlife that has suffered from the unskillful way in which we have related to nature. The oxygen produced by the Southern rain forests, is also the oxygen we breathe. Even though we might live far away, we truly inter-are with every tree that grows there. Our dream is that this Forest of Interbeing will continue to grow and nourish the intercultural connections and the collective mind of love in our worldwide communities and Sanghas.
Our first project is situated in the Los Tuxtlas region, in the Mexican state of Veracruz. Los Tuxtlas is the northernmost tropical rain forest area in America and an area of high biodiversity value which is home to many threatened plant and animal species, some of them even can be found in no other place in the world, like the Tuxtla Quail Dove or the hummingbird Long-tailed Sabrewing.
Unfortunately, only about 20 % of the original forest area of the region still remains, the rest had been destroyed mainly to create space for cattle breeding. By reforesting in the Los Tuxtlas Mountains we also contribute to protection of the soil from erosion, prevention of inundations and conservation of headwaters crucial for the supply of water of the region’s population. Furthermore, our reforestation efforts will bring about economic benefits to people of impoverished rural communities and increase awareness and action toward environmental conservation. Eventually, it will encourage the process of Wake Up Sangha building in Los Tuxtlas and – due to the proximity to the US and Mexican cities where Sanghas in the Plum Village tradition are found – will give other young people the opportunity as well to come here and experience helping directly in the restoration of the forest.
If you have any questions regarding the Forest of Interbeing project or if you would like to get involved, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We would love to hear from you!
We are very grateful for any amount of donation – big or small. As a volunteer operated project, 100% of your contribution will go directly to the purchase of land for conservation and reforestation. Thank you for your generosity.
You can read recent articles about the project at Reforestation in Los Tuxtlas, Mexico and Replanting a “Forest of Interbeing”: Spiritual Community as Food