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"Carpooling, nurturing honeybees, planting trees, cleaning the environment, waste management (reduction) and growing vegetables were recommended many years ago (by Amma) and Amma’s children are doing that. If we all get together and do it with more focus, we will be able to transform this earth into heaven. For that, we should first create heaven within ourselves. I pray to the Supreme to grace us with the blessings to do so."

Amma (from speech at the Special Envoy for the Protection of the Planet convened by President Francois Hollande 21 July 2015, Paris, France

Amma reviews a harvest
GreenFriends is an international, volunteer-based movement that promotes environmental awareness and participation at the individual and community levels. GreenFriends' goal is to promote environmental awareness by inspiring people to serve and protect Nature.

GreenFriends started in India in 2001 as a project of Embracing the World and has since spread across the globe, with thousands of members today throughout the United States, Europe, Australia and Asia. The mission of GreenFriends is to create a loving bond between humanity and Nature and to promote conservation through constructive action. Any service-oriented activity to protect and promote awareness and conservation of Nature can be considered a GreenFriends activity.

"Look at Nature. Nature is a text book from which we must learn. Each object in it is a page from that book. Each and every object in Nature teaches us something. Renunciation and selflessness are the greatest lessons we can learn from Nature. Nature sacrifices Herself for humans; whereas, we not only exploit Her, but destroy Her. Yet Nature serves us. The earth is serving us; the sun, moon and stars serve us. What to we do in return for their selfless service? Nothing except harm.

The unintelligent beings and things have no thinking power, yet they selflessly serve each other and humans. Humans have discrimination and yet they are utterly selfish. They are not even clearing their debts to Nature." - Amma

May all beings and life-forms live and thrive in harmony upon the Earth!

For information on GreenFriends activities in your area, click on the Friends of GreenFriends link at the top of the page.


Source Reduction Campaign
Amma touches the world

Amma has asked that we begin to concentrate our efforts of sustainable living on SOURCE REDUCTION. This means stopping waste before it begins. Instead of recycling plastics and other throw-away products that need to be processed for reconfiguration into another form, we need to start using products that are designed to last, or find an alternative way of living that eliminates the need for the product altogether.

You can now download an inspiring PDF introducing the Source Reduction Campaign.


Calculate Your Plastic Footprint

Read the Source Reduction Newsletter


North America GreenFriends Newsletter
Download the May 2020 North America GreenFriends newsletter!

The May edition of the North America GreenFriends newsletter focuses on gardening in the time of the pandemic. See the table of contents and subscribe to the newsletter...

Pacific Northwest GreenFriends Newsletter
Squash blossom
Download the August 2020 GreenFriends Pacific Northwest newsletter!

The PNW GreenFriends newsletter contains interesting articles and photos about gardening, nature, the PNW Litter Project, the Greenbelt Restoration Project and more...


How to Grow Food in Small Spaces

Growing gardens in small spaces

From GreenFriends MA Center in San Ramon comes some great ideas on how to create gardens using the least amount of space possible. With the advent of the the COVID-19 virus, environmental issues, and widespread poverty, growing healthy organic food has become a critical priority for families and communities. Using the principles of square foot gardening, vertical gardens, arbors and trellises, learn how you can utilize your existing growing area in many creative ways.



Indoor Gardening Guide

Kale sprouts

Amma has recommended we try to grow our own fruits and vegetables. For those without a patio or garden space, you, too, can have fresh vegetables without going to the store - and also follow Amma’s wishes (as things get c, but with some effort and grace, it did not seem that difficult. If I can do it in my small apartment with not much light, I believe you can also make it happen.



Growing Flowers in Pots
Potted flowers

Every green leaf holds carbon that could be in the atmosphere. Those green leaves can also fuel the abundant flowers that we all enjoy. Without large garden areas and the time needed to tend them, growing flowering plants in pots is a fun alternative and it can be easier than you think.


Temperature and Watering Tips for Planting

Have you wondered just what it takes to start growing vegetables and fowers? This article provides some great tips on temperature and watering needs and when you can start planting.


Clay Pot Irrigation
Clay pot irrigation

As we look at another drought-filled season in many parts of the southwest US, it is a continuing imperative to try to conserve as much water as possible while increasing the efficiency and yield of our home gardens. Fortunately, we can turn to an age old method that is guaranteed to give you this level of conservation while improving yields in your garden.

Buried clay pot irrigation or "ollas", which is Spanish for pots, is a clever invention that has proven to increase productivity and significantly decrease water consumption for over 4,000 years around the globe.


Sprouts in North America
Balcony sprouts

In the past, I had a garden plot and space to grow vegetables. I usually grew vegetables from store-bought seedlings. But now, I live in an apartment with a balcony. While I do not have access to a plot of land, I do have some space and a few hours of sunlight to grow plants. Last year, I grew kale in a planter and it was nice to be able to pick leaves for meals on a regular basis.


Pigeon Garden
A pigeon garden

"A few years back, inspired by Amma’s InDeed Campaign for Nature, we started planting vegetables indoors and on the balcony. We started planting seeds indoors, using recycled clear plastic containers that act like a mini greenhouse. We’d then move the seedlings outdoors when the spring temperatures were high enough. In the summer, our balcony is covered in recycled pots and buckets, full of growing veggies. This year, in the early spring, before we started planting, some pigeons started frequenting our balcony."


India's Enduring Love for Trees
Tree huggers are killed

In India, trees have been regarded with deep respect and reverence throughout the ages.

IAmma, has told us that in ancient times in India, people would perform a puja to worship trees. If there was a need to cut a tree down, or even before plucking its fruit or leaves, they would seek its permission and apologize.

"In the old days, there was no specific need for environmental preservation," Amma says, "because protecting Nature was part of worshiping God and life itself."

"If people did need to kill a tree in those days, they would plant not just one, but several more to replace it."

"More than remembering 'God', the people used to love and serve Nature and society."

"They saw the Creator through the creation. They loved, worshipped and protected Nature as the visible form of God."

Read about the original tree huggers...


How to Harvest Acorns to Plant Oak Trees
How to harvest acorns to plant oaks

Here are 4 easy steps to plant acorns for future oak trees:

  1. Pick acorns off an oak tree (those from the ground are likely to have bugs) that are turning from green to yellow. They should be clear of holes and cracks and not dry.
  2. Drop them in a tall vase of water. Keep only those that sink
  3. Surround them with a wet mixture of peat moss and soil. Put them in a baggie labeling where they are from and the date
  4. Refrigerate them and plant them in the spring in a location similar to the one where you found them

Acorns to Oak Trees Part 1

Acorns to Oak Trees Part 2


MA Center Plants the 1000th Fruit Tree
Amma blesses the 1000th fruit tree

Amma’s wish to plant 1000 fruit trees on the ashram grounds was finally realized when she blessed the 1000th sapling after the question and answer session at the 2019 San Ramon retreat.


Tree Planting Campaign

A tree freshly planted

In honor of Amma's 65th birthday, an offering was made to Amma of a gift of trees to be planted all over North America. Over 6500 trees were planted as a result of the campaign!

As Amma says, "Planting a tree is selfless service to society". In recent times, hundreds of thousands of North American trees have been lost in devastating forest fires, floods, tornadoes and hurricanes. While the campaign may be complete, we still need to keep planting trees. GreenFriends provides basic information on how to plant trees, and where you can plant them even if you don’t own property or don’t have room.

Ravi's Tips for Conserving Water and Energy
Tips on conserving water and electricity

A website visitor who moved to the US from India nearly 45 years ago shares his personal experience with conserving both water and electricity. Read more...


Sustainable Dental Care
Dental Lace

The new US Tour Greening Advisor writes about zero waste products, alternatives to plastic and alterative household cleaners.

AYUDH GreenFriends Initiative Plants 2200+ Trees and Plants on Deserted Island
Shells left over from military target practice

14 year-old Ella Laird of Hawaii, along with 15 of her friends, planted more that 2200 trees and plants of a deserted Hawaiian island that was formerly used for military target practice.

Read the story in Ella's own words...


GreenFriends at the Parliament of World Religions
GreenFriends Booth

GreenFriends and Embracing the World were represented at the 2018 Parliament of World Religions in Toronto, November 2 - 7, 2018.

Green Friends was invited to host a booth as part of the Interfaith Family Festival (IFF). The IFF had the theme of “Plant an Interfaith Garden” and featured five days of "joyful, engaging, and experiential spiritual exploration for kids, teens, families, schools, and faith groups."

Each booth in the Interfaith Family Festival had a theme and an activity focused on children. The GreenFriends/Embracing the World booth had the theme titled, "The Light of Diwali - The Light Within You".



Middle School Donates 17,000 Plastic Bags For Sleeping Mats for the Homeless
Bags of bags

When Jones Middle School couldn’t find a recycler for their plastic bags, their teacher did an Internet search on recycling and reusing plastic bags and ended up at the Green Friends North America Plastic Challenge web page. The Middle School contacted the GreenFriendsNA.org website to find out if they could donate their plastic bags. A day later the greenhouse at Turtle Barn Farm was full from floor to ceiling with 17,000 plastic bags that volunteers can use to create sleeping mats for the homeless.



Children’s Climate Lawsuit
Defendants of the Children's Climate Lawsuit
On Nov. 2, 2018, the US Supreme Court refused to dismiss Juliana v United States, also known as the Children’s Climate lawsuit. The suit argues that the US government undertook policies that contributed to climate change, thereby causing irreparable harm to young people and denying them a safe climate. Specifically, it claims the federal government encouraged the production of oil, gas and other fossil fuels, causing the planet to warm and infringing on several of the plaintiffs' fundamental rights. It lists examples that the government knew the Earth was warming as early as 1965, and it requests a court order for the government to decrease carbon dioxide emissions as well as the creation of a national plan to "restore Earth's energy balance and "stabilize the climate system.



MA Center Chicago Responds to the Plastic Challenge
Chicago ashram responds to the plastic challenge
Residents and community members from the Chicago MA Center responded to to the Plastic Challenge in a variety of ways, from recycling, to reusing plastic bags, to using alternative shopping bags, to using glass instead of plastic bottles, and many more source reduction strategies.



Good Environmental News!
Good environmental news
There are plenty of awful things happening on the planet these days, like marine plastic pollution, greenhouse gases increasing, rainforest degradation, sea levels rising, extreme weather... the list unfortunately goes on and on. But at the same time, there are a lot of good people doing a lot of good things to help save the planet.

Like news in general, good environmental news often goes unreported, or at least under-reported.

Read more some good news...


Amma is Presented with the Results of the Plastic Challenge
Amma smells a tulsi

Amma was presented with the results of the Plastic Challenge in the form of a PowerPoint presentation while on the US tour. She had a very positive reaction when shown the plastic challenge results and was very happy it is happening.


Environmental News Stories

Major Corporations Launch Project to Eliminate Wasteful Packaging

Swedish Teen Tells the Truth at UN Climate Change Conference

Supreme Court Says Young Activists Can Sue Government Over Climate Change

New U.S. Climate Report Forecasts Dire Effects

European Parliament Approves Ban on Single-Use Plastics

Microplastics Found in Human Stools

Pakistan Urges Innovative, Cost-Effective Solutions to Tackle Plastic Pollution

Beer, Drinking Water And Fish: Tiny Plastic Is Everywhere

An Indian State Bans Plastic Bags, Straws and More

Starbucks is Eliminating Plastic Straws

Plastic is Killing Coral Reefs

The Oceans are Drowning in Plastic and No One's Paying Attention

Beekeepers Benefit From Community Apiaries

Oregano, Cow Burbs and Climate Change

Healing the Ocean With A Garden of Coral

Scientists Warn of Perilous Climate Shift Within Decades, Not Centuries

How a Great Teacher Cultivates Veggies (And Kids) in the Bronx

Why Organic Food Might Be Worth the High Price

Regrowing Rain Forests May Help Curb Climate Change More Than We Thought

More Pollinator Species In Jeopardy, Threatening World Food Supply

Bill Nye Says a Single Scientific Fact Refutes Climate Change Deniers

Planting for Pollinators - From the US Fish and Wildlife Service


Home Source Reduction Friends of Green Friends Newsletters Resources What You Can Do Contact Us

For more information, e-mail info@greenfriendsna.org