SGI-USA Washington, D.C. Culture Center Participates in "Ecotour"
On January 19, 2009, the eve of the historic presidential inauguration of Barack Obama, SGI-USA members welcomed more than 75 guests to the SGI-USA Washington, D.C. Culture Center as part of an "Ecotour" sponsored by the Presidential Inaugural Committee 2009. Participants took five-mile bike and bus tours down Northwest Massachusetts Avenue to visit several faith groups and learn about how they shape their congregation's outlook on the environment.
As part of the tour, SGI-USA member Leanne Nurse presented Buddhist concepts applicable to environmental issues, such as dependent origination and the unity of each life and its environment. She also highlighted the culture center's environmentally sustainable features, including the facility's green roof, which slows down and filters rainwater runoff, provides noise and heat insulation and helps counter the urban heat island effect, which results in the metropolitan area being significantly warmer than surrounding rural areas.
The guests also learned about SGI-USA's support of the Earth Charter and the United Nations Declaration and Program of Action on a Culture of Peace. Both initiatives combine public education and grassroots efforts to foster peace, justice and sustainability.
The environmental organizations Wholeness for Humanity and Friends of the Earth invited SGI-USA to take part in the Ecotour. Mid-Atlantic Zone Women's Vice Leader Jean Rosenberg presented representatives from two groups with certificates of appreciation for their efforts to protect the environment.
[Adapted from an article in the February 13, 2009 issue of the World Tribune, SGI-USA; photo courtesy of Linda Wright]