Sounding Board for September 2015

The climate crisis has arrived, despite all crackpot denials. We feel it here in California in the depth of drought, mandated state water rationing, and now in a twelve-month fire season burning through our forests and grasslands.  As responsible citizens and visible members of Berkeley’s religious community, the BZC sangha has been taking steps to evaluate and change our consumption of waterand petroleum-based fuel.

Recently the board asked for reviews of water and energy usage. Board member Mark Copithorne has found that our total electrical usage—for all four of our buildings—averages 1200kWh per month. This is remarkably modest given the usage of residences, zendo, community room, etc. The average California single household uses about 500 kWh per month.

Checking water bills, Office Manager Tamar Enoch has found that our water usage, compared  with 2013 usage is down by the following startling percentages:

  • 1929 Russell is down 45%
  • 1931 Russell is down 50%
  • 1933 Russell is down 42%

The garden committee, with guidance from Sojun Roshi and others, is actively looking at replacement of our front and back lawns with paving and drought-resistant vegetation. As prices of solar panels and installations continue to fall, the

Board is investigating the possibility of solar conversion. Lastly, although we are not a wealthy community, we have in place a socially-responsible investment policy that eschews funds that carry in their portfolios weapon manufacture, tobacco products, alcohol, oil, and gas.