sfzenThe 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

Maria Lindao

Lee Lipp

Kyoshin Wendy Lewis

Barbara Machtinger

Knzan David Zimmerman

Shokan Jordan Thorn, cfo and treasurer, SFZC

Nancy Petrin

Judith Randall

Djinn Gallagher

Lauren Bouyea

Jay Pennington

Rev. Daigan Gaither

Judith Keenan

Amy Parker

Marcia Lieberman

Lydia Linker

Sandy Lamerson

Juan Angel

Sioen Roux

Ken Collins

Heather Gardner

Paul Jamtgaard

Cynthia Ziegler

Samantha McWilliams

Susan Millman

Joe Wicht

Katherine Shields

Cecelia Barnard

Erin T. Merk

from Green Gulch Zen Center

Peter Coyote

Anna Thorn

Steven Weintraub, also guiding teacher at Presidio Hill Zen Group

Dr. Grace Dammann

Arlene Lueck

David Lueck

Sukey Parmalee

Kathleen Early

Hakusho Ostlund

Quayyum Johnson

Aubrey Inman

Antonio Pares

Stephen Hale

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

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