By Paula Kline.
For more than a decade, my husband and I have hosted high school students for an annual Environmental Leadership Workcamp in the cloud forest of Veracruz, Mexico. A project of Westtown School’s Quaker Leadership Program, students return home transformed by their hands-on experiences with sustainable agriculture, living on a solar budget, and learning how to protect our sacred soil and the cloud forest. This is a deeply spiritual awakening for many and an opportunity to slow down and experience simple living.
This summer, we collaborated with the Mexican Ecovillage, Tierra de Niebla, in founding a new Interfaith Spiritual Ecology Center aimed at adults. The new center, known as Ashram del Bosque, seeks to create a space for learning, growth, and healing of ourselves and the planet. With the cloud forest as our teacher, we seek to establish a harmonious relationship with the natural world in a practical and light-hearted way, as well taking concrete action to reverse climate change.
The vision that guides us is nourished by Quaker values and the legacy of those who have sought a more humane, wise, and fraternal society. It is also nourished by science and art as ways of exploring our human nature and its expression in the world.