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The Caitanya Ecological Foundation


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Our Mission

The Caitanya Ecological Foundation is a non-profit organization whose primary objective is protecting the earth's fragile, natural environment by cultivating and promoting ecologically sound principles and insights expressed in or implied by some of the world's great spiritual traditions.  Caitanya (aka cit) means "consciousness" or "awareness."  That caitanya is the fundamental datum of all spiritual and intellectual life is commonly recognized by religious and philosophical traditions all around the world.  Caitanya or consciousness presupposes existence (sat) and leads to or at least provides the necessary conditions for joy (ananda).  It is the belief of the founders of the Caitanya Ecological Foundation that those who are fully conscious of the intimate connections and intricate dependencies existing between living organisms and their environments will act in ways that are not harmful to or exploitative of those natural environments.  It is therefore the work of the Foundation through its various programs and sub-organizations to raise human consciousness on matters of personal and global ecology.  This raising of consciousness will lead those so illumined to more joyful and peaceful forms of existence in harmony with themselves and nature.

While the Foundation is open to and appreciative of ecological insights from all religous and spiritual traditions as well as from modern humanistic thought and scientific discovery, it has drawn particular inspiration from the Krsnaite tradition of India.  Krsna (pronounced "krishna"), shown above in his natural habitat, is to our knowledge the only divine being in the world who is represented as having come not just to save a small portion of mankind or to enlighten mankind or to give mankind some new skill or knowledge.  Rather, Krsna came (as an avatara, descent) in large part to save the earth from its burden of exploitation, represented as various asuras (anti-gods). Along with saving the earth he came to save its innocent inhabitants, life forms of all types, who were being oppressed by the arrogant, self-centered asuras who were in power at the time.  The Sanskrit word krsna, in addition to referring to a kind of antelope (Rig Veda 10.94.5) and a kind of bird (the kokila in Ramayana, 2.52.2), means "dark-blue."  This dark-blue is often associated in India with the rain-laden clouds of the monsoon season which bring life-giving waters back to the parched earth after India's hot summers.  However one reads the Krsna narratives, their ecological threads are unmistakable.  The Caitanya Ecological Foundation seeks to foster and apply those insights while at the same time drawing on compatible ecological understandings from other traditions.

At the top of its list of goals of the Caitanya Ecological Foundation is the raising of funds for the acquisition and preservation of undeveloped, wilderness lands.  Such lands once acquired will be protected from unnecessary development and exploitation.  Moreover under the management of the Foundation those lands will be cared for in ecologically sound ways so that the natural habitats and wildlife on them may flourish.  On each tract of land eco-guardians will be placed to care for the land and occasionally conduct tours of the natural habitats on those lands.  The eco-guardians will be primarily drawn from practitioners of the world's meditative traditions (Hinduism, Buddhism, Daoism, Mystical Christianity and Judaism, Islam and so forth) whose meditative practices would be enhanced and strengthened by residence in natural settings of beauty and peace. 

Why use meditators in robes instead of armed guards to keep off poachers and lumberjacks?  In the first place the foundation's methods are non-violent.  Non-violence, ahimsa, is very important to us.  Violence has been repeatedly shown to be ineffective.  It merely provokes more violence.  To paraphrase Mahatma Gandhi: if one practices the biblical dictum "an eye for an eye," before long the whole world will be blind.  Foundation's major aim is therefore educational and the preferred educators are those who through their meditative practices are able to experience a sense of oneness with the world or, to put it in the words of the Bhagavad-gita (9.4, 9.6, etc.), to see the divine in all beings.  In addition to placing meditators on the lands protected by the foundation, the foundation also intends to create small eco-villages on some of the lands, peaceful and beautiful habitations where interested people can learn and practice meditational techniques so that more and more people are brought to a higher awareness of our fundamental unity-in-diversity with the world and its beings.

In parallel with this concern for the preservation of wilderness lands the Foundation is interested in building new buildings or renovating older buildings in cities, outfitting them with  state of the art  eco-technology such that they are able to generate their own electricity from the energy of the sun and/or the wind, to recycle the water used in them, and to be heated or cooled in ways that are efficient and not harmful to the environment.  Once so redesigned, the buildings will house shops, theaters, apartments, schools, libraries and galleries and will be offered as examples of fully eco-conscious design for future city planning and construction. 

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