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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


GreenFriends
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.

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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.

Read more...

Calculate Your Plastic Footprint

Read the Source Reduction Newsletter

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North America GreenFriends Newsletter
Read the August 2020 North America GreenFriends newsletter!

The August edition of the North America GreenFriends newsletter continues to focus on gardening in the time of the pandemic and includes some great wildlife stories. See the table of contents and subscribe to the newsletter...

Pacific Northwest GreenFriends Newsletter
White rose
Download the September 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...

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Lessons I Learned from Gardening
Peonies with stakes
Every part of the gardening process teaches us patience. For most plants, starting seeds require weeks to months of patiently waiting for the first shoots to appear. There is so much joy and hope when seeing those tiny little green shoots sticking out the soil. In the cold and often gloomy New England springs, those first signs of life bring me much joy. In the fast paced world we have become accustomed to living in, plants and vegetables teach us that everything happens in its due course

Read more about the lessons gardening can teach us...

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Milk Crate Composting: Easy and Effective Ideas for Backyards & Balconies

Stirring the compost
I’m Iucky enough to live in a city with industrial compost - Toronto, Canada. I was merrily composting using my city’s service for years, but then I moved into a building complex, where I learned that apartment buildings have the option to opt-out of city compost. What?! My composting days came to a sudden halt.

Read more about my creative and successful solution of milk crate composting...

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Bluebirds of Happiness

Mountain Bluebird
The call to action to start a garden in the San Luis Valley of Colorado seemed like a conscious act of kindness - even the responsible thing to do. While carefully exploring the perfect site for setting up our raised beds, we discovered a pair of nesting mountain bluebirds just a few feet away in the elevated penthouse of our propane tank.

Would we be able to co-exist with the bluebirds and grow a garden?

Read more about what happened next…

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Daily Ponderings at the Amma Center of New Mexico Garden

Let this be a sign
It is a joy and a privilege to live in our little oasis at 7600' here among the juniper and pine forests of the dry, New Mexico, high desert” writes an ashram sevite. Read here about a gardener’s daily ponderings at the Amma Center New Mexico.

Read about the garden at Amma Center of New Mexico...

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The Turtle Stories of the Amrita Nature Sanctuary - Part I

Baby turtele just out of the egg
While digging holes to plant trees at the Amrita Nature Sanctuary and Organic Gardens, a few miles from the Amritapuri ashram, two eggs were found buried in the soil. We gathered around, unsure of what kind of eggs we had found and worried as they had been slightly cracked. As we held them, two tiny turtles started to emerge one after the other..

Read about the turtles at the Amrita Nature Sanctuary...

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An Inquiry into the Lotus Garden at the San Ramon Ashram

San Ramon ashram garden
GreenFriends interviews Amartya, the master gardener for the garden at the MA Center ashram in San Ramon. In this wide ranging intereview, Amartya explains the inspiration for the garden watering methods, what they decided to plant and where, dealing with pests and more.

Read more about the Lotus Garden…

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Going Zero Waste - Strategies to Reduce and Recycle Packaging

Zero waste products
As things heat up in the world and Mother Nature seeks to heal herself by keeping us indoors, Amma says it is important to learn how to live in harmony with nature. This insightful article explores ways to cut down our production of waste and live a more environmentally balanced lifestyle.

Read about going zero waste...

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Parents and Children’s Corner

Romain scraps
GreenFriends would like to offer support for the many parents who are working from home or homeschooling their children during the pandemic. Here, we provide environmental resources and nature activities to support parents’ educational efforts surrounding Nature that Amma stresses as so important.

Read about environmental resources and nature activities for kids…

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...

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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

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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.

Read more...


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...

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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...

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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".

Read more...

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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.

Read more...

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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.

Read more...

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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.

Read more...

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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...


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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.


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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


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


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