Written by mike

When I did not yet practice Zen Buddhism, to me a mountain was a mountain, and water was water; after I got an insight into the truth of Zen, a mountain was not a mountain and water was not water; but now that I have really attained the abode of final rest, to me a mountain is really a mountain and water is really water.

- Chinese Zen master quoted here

I live in a quiet, pleasant neighborhood.  My neighbors are cordial, and I try to be the same.  I pick up after the dog, mow the dandelions before too many seeds blow next door, and try not to sing too loudly when the windows are open.  I am part of their environment, I try not to mess it up.  I think I do all right.

Then I think of my other neighbors -- the people down the river from me, the farmers who grow my food, people on the other side of the world who just breathe the same air.  And then my child, and her children not born yet... these are neighbors too.  And I am a part of their environment.  I want to treat them right too.  I'm not sure I'm doing so well.

With the world and the future my neighbors, I need to know -- am I leaving a mess?  I don't want to, but our world has become complex and interconnected.  To regain my place as benign dweller in a quiet, pleasant, bigger neighborhood, I need to look at my choices.  I might need support and I might choose to make some changes.


The Green Neighbor initiative supports the efforts of individuals and families to live more responsibly on the Earth.  We believe in:

  • Strengthening local communities, "thinking globally, acting neighborly".
  • Bringing people who live nearby together to support each other in living more "green".
  • Taking seriously the information from scientists about climate change and other impacts we have on the Earth.
  • Finding ways to enrich our lives and build joyful connections even as we live more responsibly.

The term "Green Neighbor" came to us from a program of the City of Austin, Texas.  Some of us in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin liked the idea, and we have used it to unify the work we had already been doing.  With our neighborly focus, some of our activities, and some of this site, will inevitably be focused on our corner of suburban Milwaukee.  However we hope to share our experiences and tools we develop on this site so those outside the area might benefit from it as well.

So far the Green Neighbor group has facilitated several study/action groups, hosted several community gatherings, and produced the Green Neighbor Checklist.  Completing the checklist qualifies you as a "Green Neighbor".  Check it out! And if you want to get more involved, drop us a line.  We'd love to hear from you.

Last Updated on Thursday, 03 February 2011 22:36