Satchidananda Ashram–Yogaville Solar Project
Converting the Ashram to clean, renewable energy
is our goal. Please help by making your donation today.
What is YES?
Yogaville Environmental Solutions (YES) officially launched on April 18, 2015 in honor of Earth Day, at a beautiful event on the grounds of Yogaville, with interfaith prayers and a tree planting. YES is Yogaville’s undertaking to support and adopt sustainable energy practices and oppose the Atlantic Coast Pipeline.
The long-term goal of YES is to transition Yogaville to renewable energy and continue to develop our sustainable lifestyle practices.
YES is involved in monitoring pre-construction and has joined with our coalition partners in a wider monitoring program along the entire route of the ACP. We continue to join with our neighbors and other environmental groups in the legal process of opposing the pipeline. It’s a complicated, frustrating process and we think our rights to clean air, water and soil is worth it.
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The YES Team
Jeeva has been a disciple Of Sri Gurudev since 1970, has served at three Integral Yoga Institutes in CA, and two other Satchidananda ashram locations. He was a yoga instructor in the CA prison system in the 1970’s. Jeeva is a skillful negotiator and able to communicate with all kinds of people from Dominion decision makers to local students and community. He is dedicated to seeing his service with YES as an extension of his practice of cultivating peace for himself and the world.
Mindy is new to Yogaville and to YES. New to the issues of environmental justice, her practice is pushing her in new directions of inquiry. She is dedicated to supporting the YES staff and Yogaville in the establishment of renewables here at Yogaville and the stand against the ACP.
Dayananda currently feels Faith and environment are two areas of service she feels inspired to bring together for the protection of Yogaville and Mother Earth. What would we do without her infectious energy and constant bubbling of ideas? She has been a part of the monastic community here at Yogaville since 1983. She initiated the certification process for Yogaville with GreenFaith (see below) and is an integral part of the Green Team. She also serves on the Yogaville Board of Trustees, and is a member of the IYTA Integral Yoga Global Network and the Lotus Center for All Faiths.
Sarvananda pioneer at Yogaville since holding many position in leadership. Currently on the Board of Trustees. Board Certifed Chaplain need to add more
What has YES been doing?
VICTORY WITH OUR STAND AGAINST THE ATLANTIC COAST PIPELINE!
On July 4, 2020, Dominion Energy and Duke announce that they were abandoning the Atlantic Coast Pipeline project due to long delays, cost overruns, and legal obstacles to their permits.
This was announced in the New York Times and Washington Post. The Post noted in its announcement, the important work of our partnership with the Union Hill community: “The abrupt abandonment sparked jubilation among environmental and community groups who had fought the pipeline all along its path, which included some of the most scenic and rugged terrain in Virginia. Property rights advocates in the Appalachians joined with an ashram in central Virginia and black Baptists from a rural county to make opposing the pipeline a high-profile political and social justice issue.”
W continued working on GreenFaith Certification through documenting our work with Union Hill Baptist Church against environmental injustice; documenting our waste water management system; and documenting our farm to kitchen to table Satchidananda Farm operation.
- Continued managing Yogaville comprehensive waste management program with Republic Services and Bryant with Yogaville Community Association
- Upgraded the Yogaville Community Association webpage to accept community recycling payments
- Began developing a Yogaville Solar Field project with CVEC utility and Sigora Solar
- Participated in Solar Open House
Atlantic Coast Pipeline
- Continued as member of ABRA steering committee, and participated in ABRA strategy session along with legal team partners
- Held letter writing workshops with our African American Union Hill community neighbors to file with Virginia Department Environmental Quality (DEQ)
- Testified with Yogaville’s senior monks and community members at Virginia DEQ hearing in Buckingham
- Assisted with Friends of Buckingham in bringing vice-president Al Gore and Rev. Dr. William Barber II to Union Hill to tour the African American community and historical grave sites
- Assisted in coordinating an environmental event at Buckingham County Middle School with vice-president Gore and Rev. Dr. William Barber II, and other environmental justice and faith groups in support of our stand against the ACP
- Testified in Richmond, Virginia at Air Pollution Board hearing on ACP Compression Station permit (reported in Washington Post and other media)
- Participated in historical march across the Lee Bridge in Richmond, Virginia with Union Hill community and many coalition partner groups and Yogaville community members for Environmental and Racial Justice (attracting major media attention)
Continued working on GreenFaith Certification through establishment of new waste management program and solar initiative
• Partnered with Yogaville Community Association to establish comprehensive waste management program with Republic Services and Bryant
• Trained over 50 staff and community members in new system
• Recycled thousands of cubic feet of materials
• Set up system for recycling printer cartridges
• Set up system for recycling plastic bags
• Set up new system for food waste recycling (for items unusable by Satchidananda Farm)
• Solar array on Sivananda Hall activated
• Participation in Solar Open House
• Video produced about participation
• Solar for LOTUS funded, approved and installed at end of year
Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP)
• Continued as member of ABRA steering committee, Buckingham County coordination group and regional coordination group
• Monitoring and disseminating information about Federal Environmental Regulatory Commission (FERC): research, testimony, action, Final Environment Impact statement (FEIS), legal actions, coalition
• Tracking Virginia Department Environmental Quality (DEQ) process: coalition monitoring, research, testimony, public relations focus on Virginia Air Pollution Control Board
• Met with Virginia Governor Northam’s staff to discuss concerns about the ACP
• Met with ABRA CSI planning group
• Partner in the Circle of Protection prayer and music event in support of Union Hill and against the Compression Station
• Participation in coalition actions & planning: developing strategies for legal, legislative, media, and grass-roots actions
• Testified at Buckingham planning commission in support of Union Hill community
• August 2018, the Washington Post documented our work with our African American neighbors in Union Hill with an article, “The Baptists and the yogis join to fight a pipeline”
2016 to date have been busy years for the YES department. Here is an overview of the direction and scope of support to the ashram that has occurred.
- Joined the Greenfaith Certification Program to lower carbon footprint at the ashram
- Completed initial evaluation of 7 areas of concern (energy, water, food, waste, toxins, ground maintenance, tramsportation) with department heads
- Established ìGreen Teamî as part of this certification process
- Completed a professional Energy Level 2 Audit in 2016 using the Audit analysis to implement actionable and measurable sustainable and green practices in our community
- Approval of Solar project for SH, first phase funded, fundraising for second phase begun
Atlantic Coast Pipeline
- Continued as member of ABRA steering committee, Buckingham County coordination group and Regional coordination group
- Monitoring and disseminating information about Federal Environmental Regulatory Commission (FERC): research, testimony, action, Final Environment Impact statement (FEIS), legal actions, coalition
- Tracking VA Department Environmental Quality(DEQ) process: coalition monitoring, research, testimony, public relations focus on VA Water Control Board
- Hosted hikers of Walk the Line action at Yogaville
- Hosted participants on Journey on the James at Yogaville. Presented them at Satsang to the community
- Participation in prayer gathering in Richmond to bring attention to DEQ
- Met with Chief of Staff in Lt. Governor Northamís office to discuss concerns about the pipeline
- Participation in coalition actions & planning: developing strategies for legal, legislative, media, and grass-roots actions
- Joined with Union Hill, Friends of Buckingham and Sierra Club in the Climate March 2017 in Washington
- Testified at Buckingham planning commission in support of Union Hill community
- Supported and participated in the Human Rights Tribunal, Charlottesville, October 28, 2017.
- Proposed Compressor Station size increased from 40,000 to 53,000 horsepower
- Conducted press outreach to explain the YES’ position on the proposed pipeline and compressor station with coverage in the Richmond Times Dispatch and Farmville Herald– August, ongoing
- Co-sponsored Hands Across Our Land with Friends of Buckingham and Friends of Nelson at the Wingina Bridge in Buckingham, VA – August 1
- Officially filed as an intervenor in the legal process to challenge any approvals by FERC
- Attended community advisory group sponsored
- Strategy planning and coordination with ABRA for future PR initiatives
- Presentations to community and coalition members
- Fundraising concert with Siva Fike at Yogaville – June 14
- Met with Senator Tim Kaine to express concerns about the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission process– 28 May
- Special Film Screening of “Groundswell Rising” with Craig Stevens – May 13
- Hosted the Pipeline Resistance Bike Riders of the VA Student Environmental Council (VSEC) – May 12
- YES had a table, along with Friends of Buckingham, at May Fest in Dillwyn to talk with Buckingham County residents about the proposed pipeline on May 9
- A radio Interview of Swami Dayananda by Adrienne Ramey on the show “Backyard Revolution” on WCNR (“106.1- The Corner”) – May 1
- Yogaville, along with other allied organizations, signed on to the scoping comments filed by Appalachian Mountain Advocates (also on April 28, 2015)
- YES members prepared and filed official scoping comments to FERC on April 28, 2015.
- Members of the YES Team spoke at the scoping meeting that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) held in Farmville and in Lovingston.
- Yogaville retained Appalachian Mountain Advocates as their legal counsel – on March 24, 2015
- Yogaville joined ABRA
- YES members attended a meeting of Allegheny Blue Ridge Alliance (ABRA), where 23 coalition members came together
- YES hosted 13 staff members from Dominion Resources for a question and answer session.
- Virginia state delegate, Mat Farris, came to Yogaville to hear our concerns about the health, safety and environmental impacts of the proposed pipeline and compressor station.
- YES Team members, accompanied by Buckingham County administrators, visited Dominion’s compressor station in Leesburg, Virginia.
Some of the many contributions from Integral Yoga sangha members and friends:
- A petition expressing opposition to the pipeline was created by Integral Yoga Global Network – February 2015. Over 700 names from concerned people from around the world have been collected as of May 1. The petition has been sent to FERC.
- YES launched its Facebook page, with the assistance of Yogaville volunteers- April 2015
- Ashram Pipeline Committee organizes the first pipeline education meeting in Yogaville with guest speaker, Ernie Reed, of Friends of Nelson
- The Yogaville Board of Trustees prepared an official letter of concern to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and mailed it out on 28 Nov. 2014. It is clear that the pipeline and compressor station directly affect the Ashram and its future .
Stand With Us!
Want to help?
- Learn about the health and safety risks of natural gas infrastructure and share this with friends
- Contact us if you are interested in volunteering at [email protected]
- Join the CSI network to monitor the building of the pipeline.
- Support renewables!
- Stay tuned for local, regional and state actions- we need your ongoing support.
Thank you for supporting the Satchidananda Ashram–Yogaville Solar Project!
Help Yogaville in its transition to clean, renewable energy. We are seeking to raise $100,000 to complete the installation of a solar energy system that will cover additional solar installations at Yogaville, including an additional portion of Sivananda Hall, potentially the Academy, Guru Bhavan (our meditation hall), and the dorm buildings. Providing solar power to these buildings around the Quad would be an additional savings of over $2000 in annual energy costs. Please consider making a donation today. We are grateful for your support!
For more information please contact [email protected]
Our Solar Mandate
“We have a duty toward the land that brings us food, toward the rain that brings us water, toward nature.”
–Sri Swami Satchidananda
Ashram life brings us daily reminders of our deep connection to the natural word and of our duty to protect it. Our meal prayer goes out to our Beloved Mother Nature. Our vegetarian diet is primarily organic, much of it from our own farm. Even elements of our Yoga practice—such as Surya Namaskar, the Sun Salutation—are founded on a reverence to the forces of nature that goes back to antiquity. Through the contemplation of nature in the beauty of our Ashram surroundings, and in our daily practice, we recognize our deep responsibility to protect and promote the natural environment. Our health and lifestyle depend on it.
How do we honor this responsibility? In recent years, Yogaville Environmental Solutions (YES) has created a green initiative to address pressing issues related to Yogaville’s environment. Chief among these has been our opposition to the proposed Atlantic Cost Pipeline (ACP), implementing energy efficiency practices at the Ashram, and most recently, transitioning the Ashram to clean, renewable solar energy.
The Sivananda Hall Solar Installation is the first step in the Ashram’s solar initiative. When complete, the project will:
- Cover 100% of Sivananda Hall’s annual energy needs.
- Save Yogaville about $400,000 over the life of the system.
- Reduce our reliance on dirty energy sources such as gas and coal.
- Showcase use of renewable energy in Buckingham County
Funding for the first half of the solar array for Sivananda Hall was raised internally. Construction began on January 23, 2018 and the array was connected February , 2018. This portion will provide 64 KW of energy or about half of the electricity needs for Sivananda Hall. For the system to provide complete coverage for Sivananada Hall, we are seeking an additional $85,000 through private donations, about ¼ of which has already been raised.
The LOTUS Temple Solar Project is now emerging as a new step in our solar initiative. A generous donor stepped forward to offer funding for 50% of a new solar array installation to power Yogaville’s LOTUS Temple. Additional donations through September 2018 have completed the fund raising for this 45.5kW ground array system. Final design and installation planning is now underway. This solar array will save Yogaville an estimated $ 7,368 per year.
The LOTUS (‘Light Of Truth Universal Shrine’) – Yogaville’s crown jewel of our founder Sri Swami Satchidananda’s interfaith work – is an interfaith shrine built in Yogaville in 1986. LOTUS celebrates the unity among the diversity of all the world religions. Lighting the LOTUS via solar power underscores the principles of living a clean and natural life by our implementation of clean and effective solar power in our community. The light of the sun and the inspiration of the LOTUS shines forth to benefit everyone.
Turn Yogaville Green!
The new Sivananda Hall solar energy system is a giant step towards the Ashram’s transition to clean, renewable energy. The system will more than pay for itself in the long-term, but the initial cost is considerable. Internally, the Ashram has raised about 50% of the money needed to cover this system. But for complete coverage of Sivananda Hall’s energy needs we are seeking to raise an additional $100,000 from private donors. Please help Yogaville to realize this great goal by contributing here. We are grateful for donations of any size.
Long-term goal: a proposed solar field would cover 100% of the Ashram’s energy needs.