Interdependence and our Ecological Crisis:
Responding with Wisdom, Compassion, and Justice

A series of online forums sponsored by Dharma Friendship Foundation and Seattle Insight Meditation Society (see below) creating a safe space for honest, often difficult conversations about the climate emergency and related ecological, social and economic crises. Climate threats, biodiversity loss, threats to food and water supply, racial violence and injustice, deep economic inequality, war, refugees, homelessness, pandemics—these are all connected. This series has two aims: 1) To break through layers of denial and open to a more honest acceptance of the accelerating ecological breakdown, and 2) To present a variety of Buddhist, Indigenous, and other perspectives to inform and inspire wise, compassionate, action.

June 12, 2021.  “Healing Climate Trauma – How do we work with Grief and Trauma on the Cushion?” with Zhiwa Woodbury, M.A. Ecopsychologist. Zhiwa Woodbury is a Panpsychologist and long time advocate for all things wild. With a background in science and law, he walked away from a successful career in environmental law at 33 to do spiritual retreat with a backpack in some of the world’s most beautiful mountains, which he credits with re-connecting his psyche to Nature and, thus, ‘human nature.’

     During a second career oriented towards eco-activism in defense of Mother Earth, Zhiwa remembered he was a Tibetan Buddhist (adopting his precept name to signify that), endeavored to live like a monk in the world as a response to the existential nature of the climate crisis. Inspired by hospice service and Kalachakra (Tib: “wheel of time”), Zhiwa returned to school at 55, determined to get to the root of both our collective spiritual crisis and his own dharma practice. While studying ecopsychology, he taught on the 3 turnings of the wheel and served at Zen Hospice in San Francisco. After training in spiritual counseling and hospice, Zhiwa was called instead to service of Gaia when Joanna Macy championed a paper he wrote entitled “Planetary Hospice: Rebirthing Planet Earth.”

     He presented the model for Planetary Hospice at His Holiness’ Mind & Life Conference, and subsequently began writing and serving as a guide on the topic of climate trauma. His work inspired Thomas Hubl to organize a Collective Trauma Summit in 2019, which drew over 70,000 registered participants over a 9-day period, and Zhiwa was one of the early presenters. Zhiwa moved from Montana to the Puget Sound on Snohomish ancestral lands at the start of the pandemic. He blogs at Panspychology Now. View the event on YouTube.

May 22, 2021; Dr. Joel Levey, Founder, Wisdom at Work; Embracing the Climate Crisis with Wisdom,Courage, & Compassion. trust your heart if the seas catch fire. and live by love though the stars walk backwards  ~e.e. cummings

We honor that it takes considerable courage and compassion to embrace and take to heart the tsunamis of information regarding the climate crisis and what it means for our lives and world – and that all this can be quite overwhelming and distressing for people who are just not able or ready to embrace this information, yet.  In this spirit, this special session with Joel Levey (one of the founding members of D.F.F.) will explore a variety of profound practices and perspectives for opening our hearts and minds to embrace our current reality, and likely future realities, with deepening curiosity, courage, creative compassion and inspiring wisdom. Joel offers a rich mix of insights from nearly 50 years of intensive Dharma studies and teachings with many respected teachers, work with hundreds of leading organizations around the globe, and pioneering work in health-care, wellness and human thriving.  Learn more at: View the event on YouTube.

April 26, 2021. Kritee Kanko, Ph.DThe Dharma of Resistance. Kritee is a climate scientist, Zen priest, educator & founding dharma teacher of Boundless in Motion. She believes in identifying and releasing our personal and ecological grief and bringing our gifts into strategic collective actions for societal healing. She is a sensei in the Rinzai Zen lineage of Cold Mountain and a co-founder of Rocky Mountain Ecodharma Retreat Center as well as Boulder Ecodharma Sangha.  As a senior scientist in the Climate Program at Environmental Defense Fund she helps implement climate-smart farming at scale in India. View the event on YouTube.

March 27, 2021.  Fern Naomi Renville (Dakota) and Roger Fernandes (Lower Elwha S’Klallam) – “Changer and The Star People”, The Role of Indigenous Sovereignty and Culture in Healing our World. Fern Renville is a theatre director, storyteller, teaching artist, and enrolled citizen of the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate, an eastern Dakota band of the Oceti Sakowin. A long-time teaching artist in out-of-school spaces and former director of Red Eagle Soaring Native Youth Theatre, Fern currently is director of SNAG Productions, a Seattle-based collective of Native artists committed to sharing traditional stories in contemporary settings. Roger Fernandes is a Native American storyteller who shares the myths and legends of the local Puget Salish tribes of western Washington including the Snoqualmie, Muckleshoot/Duwamish, Tulalip, Suquamish, and the S’Klallam. He shares these stories to give an insight into the deeper aspects of coast Salish culture. View the event on YouTube. Listen to “Changer and The Star People“.

Yangsi Rinpoche

February 28, 2021, Yangsi Rinpoche, President, Maitripa College, “Great Compassion”. Rinpoche was recognized as the reincarnation of Geshe Ngawang Gendun, a renowned scholar and practitioner from Western Tibet, at the age of six. Rinpoche trained in the traditional monastic system for over 25 years, and practiced as a monk until the age of 35. In 1995 he graduated with the highest degree of Geshe Lharampa from Sera Je Monastery in South India. He then completed his studies at Gyume Tantric College, and, in 1998, having the particular wish to benefit Western students of the Buddhism, Rinpoche came to the West to teach. View/Listen to this session on YouTube.


Seattle Insight Meditation Society has an ongoing Climate Action Group which began in May 2018. Besides monthly meetings (held on Zoom since the pandemic) they have sponsored several events (you can view on their website) and co-sponsored the Interdependence Forum Series on the Ecological Crisis with DFF last year. Engaging with the climate crisis from the ground of dharma practice is essential, and facilitates using compassion and wisdom to respond appropriately. If you are interested in attending one of their meetings or would like more information, please contact Iris at’re welcome to view their website page by going to: then click on the Engaged Buddhism menu item and the Climate Action Group tab.


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