The leadership of the San Francisco Zen Center, the largest Sōtō Zen center in the West, just released a letter calling on California Governor Jerry Brown to ban fracking. The letter comes just days before the massive March for Real Climate Leadership on February 7, an anti-fracking protest in Oakland, CA that is expected to draw thousands of people.
“We write to urge you to ban hydraulic fracturing—fracking– in California and, more generally, move away from making our state a major producer as well as a consumer of fossil fuels,” write the abbesses and much of the leading membership of the center. “What happens here matters everywhere.”
The signatories include the central abbesses of Zen center, as well as many of its members, including well-known figures such as actor Peter Coyote.
The letter will hopefully have a big impact on Governor Brown, who lived in Japan for a number of years studying zen meditation and has attended the Tassajara branch of the San Francisco Zen Center numerous times. In speeches, the Governor has been known to quote the founder of the San Francisco Zen Center, Suzuki Roshi.
Here’s the full text of the letter:
An Open Letter from San Francisco Zen Center Leadership and Members: Governor Brown, End Fracking
February 5, 2015
Dear Governor Brown,
We write to urge you to ban hydraulic fracturing—fracking– in California and, more generally, move away from making our state a major producer as well as a consumer of fossil fuels. We celebrate that you have, in your inaugural address, made a renewed commitment to addressing climate change.
We know—you, and us, and many in California and elsewhere–that hydraulic fracturing is destructive of so many things. It has a long, deep, devastating impact on many species, as well as human beings. It is a theft the present makes from the future, compromising for the sake of the few who profit in the present, longterm well-being for the many to come. It commits us to continue pursuing fossil fuel and with it climate-change emissions when we know, as you said in your inaugural, we need to take “significant amounts of carbon out of our economy.” This should mean not only what we consume here in the state, but what we produce to be consumed anywhere.
That carbon goes into the upper atmosphere, wherever it is burned. Too, fracking devastates water, both in the huge amounts used in the process, and in the lasting contamination of groundwater, a terrible waste in a dry state. We can leave that oil in the soil. And we must. We ask that you sign a bill banning fracking and help turn us away from the age of fossil fuels with its immeasurable and lasting damage to the biosphere. California, with its extraordinary implementation of energy-efficiency standards during your first term as governor, with Assemblywoman Fran Pavley’s emissions legislation in 2002 that set nationwide standards under the Obama administration, with the California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, has often led the way for the rest of the country. What happens here matters everywhere.
For the well-being of all life now and to come,
Eijun Linda Cutts, Central Abbess
Zenkei Blanche Hartman, former Central Abbess, senior Dharma teacher
Kiku Christina Lehnherr, former Central Abbess
Ryushin Paul Haller, former central Abbot
Furyu Nancy Schroeder, abiding Abbess, Green Gulch Farm Zen Center
from Beginners Mind Temple/City Center
Shundo David Haye, City Center Director
Reverend Jisan Tova Green, vice president, SFZC
Kyoshin Wendy Lewis
Knzan David Zimmerman
Shokan Jordan Thorn, cfo and treasurer, SFZC
Rev. Daigan Gaither
Erin T. Merk
from Green Gulch Zen Center
Steven Weintraub, also guiding teacher at Presidio Hill Zen Group
Dr. Grace Dammann
from Tassajara Zen Center
Dr. Shinchi Linda Galijian
Gentoku Mike Smith
from temples in the lineage
Rev. Alan Senauke, vice Abbott, Berkeley Zen Center, founder Clear View Project
Rev. Michaela O’Connor Bono, Midcity Zendo, New Orleans
Rev. Taigen Dan Leighton, Dharma Teacher, Ancient Dragon Zen Gate, Chicago