Mass Meditation Means to Bring Attention to Pollution in the Genesee River

Apr 23, 2014

Dozens sat in silent midday meditation Tuesday on the Pont de Rennes footbridge in the heart of downtown Rochester. 

Meditation was meant to call attention to pollution in the Genesee River without speaking a word.

The “Earth Day Earth Vigil” was organized as collaboration between The Lost Bird Project and Rochester Zen Center.

Executive Producer of the Lost Bird Project, Andy Stern says not many people know the state of the Genesee River.

“In the past, there have been a tremendous amount of toxins dumped into the river. This was largely when there were no regulations at all,” said Stern. “They still remain; many are embedded in the bottom of the river. There's controversy about whether to clean or not, maybe we'll just stir it up and make it worse.”

Stern says agricultural run-off and other pollutants still contaminate the river.

Bodhin Kjolehede is the abbot and director of the Rochester Zen Center. He says the silence of meditation is intended to cut through what can otherwise be divisive political discourse.

Kjolehede said, “We're just trying to find something that connects us rather than divides us. Silence does that as well as anything.”