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EcoSikh Newsletter December 2012, Dharat Suhavi: Volume 2 Issue 12

December 2012
Dharat Suhavi: Volume 2 Issue 12
Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa, Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh!

Editor’s Note: As winter approaches and this year comes to a close, it’s hard to say that this year has been anything less than amazing. In what seems a like a short breath of time, the Sikh community has proved that it can work magic. This year alone Sikhs held the biggest Sikh environment day yet with over a thousand celebrations in March. We witnessed Amritsar and Hazur Sahib officially commit to the Green Pilgrimage Network with firm leadership on sustainability. We launched EcoFest, the first youth creativity contest for the environment, and celebrated many, many local successes along the way, through the committed efforts of ordinary Sikhs doing extraordinary things, from new solar Gurdwaras in the UK and US, to Sikh bike rides across the California, to the first sustainable Sikh conference in Canada. In short, this year has been remarkable.
And still, the best news we’ve heard this week is that we officially had our 501(c)3 non-profit status approved in the US! Today we ask you to join us in creating a greener, more beautiful world through a tax-deductible contribution. May we continue down this path so that our children inherit a greener, more livable earth, with Guru’s kirpa.

Sikh Miracle – ‘March 14’

“A day, which otherwise used to pass off as ‘just another’ Gurpurab, within the year has suddenly become one of the most significant days in the international Sikh calendar.”

Before March 2011, there was no Sikh Environment Day and there was hardly any eco

Guru Har Rai Ji

activity at our learning centers or Gurdwaras. Within these two years a lot has changed. With the celebration of Sikh Environment Day on March 14 on the Enthronement Day of Guru Har Rai Ji, the Seventh Master, the miracle began. Hundreds of Gurdwaras distributed plant saplings as prasad; planted trees in their surrounding areas; involving local sangat, katha and kirtan on environmental themes broadcasted live on PTC; invited school kids to Gurdwaras for painting competitions and seminars on nature, organised bicycle rallies, flower shows, clean-up drives, discussions about green nagar kirtan and steam & solar kitchens, green Gurdwaras, special environment cells in Gurdwara committees and cleaning of ponds in villages. All these wonderful actions were initiated with this celebration.

Be a part of this miracle! Three months to go! Create your plan for March 14, 2013!

Print the Sikh Environment Day Guide and discuss ideas with your local Gurdwara committee. Chose from katha-kirtan programme focused on nature, to children’s activities like painting competitions, seminars or exhibitions on Sikh Gurus and nature. Or involve your local sangatvia a bicycle rally, a flower show, a seminar on starting a kitchen garden and saving water. Isn’t it a wonderful and unique way to celebrate a Gurpurab and seek blessings of Guru Har Rai Ji?

See the end of this newsletter as well for details of an exciting new competition for future environmental leaders…

Inspirational stories from the most recent Sikh Environment Day:

1. Read an excerpt from an inspirational article from Melbourne’s Gurudwara by talented singer Dya Singh: “A day, which otherwise used to pass off as ‘just another’ Gurpurab, within the year has suddenly become one of the most significant days in the international Sikh calendar.” Dya Singh also wrote on the long-term implications of March 14 in the Sikh calendar for years to come. “Can this army of 30 million then also turn into eco-warriors?” he asked. He marked Sikh Environment Day as phenomenal for Sikh identity, Sikh collective consciousness for environment and active multiculturalism. Read the whole article by Dya Singh on www.sikhchic.com.

Students with environmental slogans

2. Gurdwaras and Schools of Kolkata, March 2012: Gurdwara Behala, a very popular Gurdwara in Kolkata organised a katha session by the famous Sikhkathawachak, Giani Pinder Pal Singh Ji. Giani Ji led an inspiring lecture at the Gurdwara that was broadcasted on PTC. The talk focused on three main areas: the life of Guru Har Rai Ji and his passion for environment; how Gurbani can inspire us to preserve nature; and how Sikhs can contribute in saving Mata Dharat for future generations. The Gurdwara sangat also organised a joint cleanup drive in the park nearby involving the Muslim community and Khalsa High School students. The trio cleaned trash and dead bushes from the park and left it remarkably cleaner and greener.
At another Kolkata school, the Khalsa English High School, the students and staff organised a week-long cleanup drive for Sikh Environment Day. A few students marched in streets with very strong environment messages in their hands while the rest picked up trash from the streets. On March 14th they had Kirtan, Katha, tree saplings planted on campus and environment lectures.
Watch ‘Inspirational Kolkata,’ a movie on YouTube about their celebrations or read more

Exhibition on Sikh Gurus and environment

details in SED-2012 Report on page 15 and 21.
3. Dayton, Ohio: in 2012, Dayton Gurdwara celebrated Sikh Vatavaran Diwas with full enthusiasm by focusing kirtan and katha on the environment, holding a ceremonial tree planting by the sangat, and exhibiting examples from Sikh history on environmental care.

In what ways are you preparing for the Green Gurpurab of Guru Har Rai Ji?

Steps to plan Sikh Environment Day:

1. Get together a group of people who care for the environment and are keen to work together.
2. Read the Sikh Environment Day Guide (toolkit) in English or in Punjabi with many inspiring ideas to celebrate the Green Gurpurab.
3. Make a plan based on your resources, situation, inspiration and energy.
4. Get more people together, based on the final plan.
5. Improve it, and make it achieve more.
6. Send your plans via email to us at EcoSikh. All inspirational plans shall be mentioned on our 2013-timeline page.

Other useful links at EcoSikh:

Registration for Sikh Environment Day (SED) 2013
Eak Bageecha (nature focused Gurbani compilation) with introduction in Punjabi or English
SED Timeline from 2012
SED Pledge Form for sangat
10 minute Eco-Assembly for schools
SED poster English, Punjabi for notice boards
SED-2011 and SED-2012 reports
Green Nagar Kirtan
How to raise a plant

Ecofest, a competition for young environmental leaders

We’re proud to be working with Sukrit Trust (India) to launch a creativity contest for young environmental leaders, which we have called EcoFest. The prizes will be eco-friendly, and they also include a total of US $1,000 donated by EcoSikh. All prize winners will also receive Certificates of Environmental Leadership.
The last date of submission is 31st January, 2013 and the winners of each category will be announced on March 1, but an overall “EcoSikh” winner will be announced by EcoSikh on March 14, Sikh Environment Day, for the candidate who provides work that can best assist our vision of Sikhs, all around the world, wanting to protect the environment because it is what our faith teaches us. For details, go to the Ecofest page. Download an Ecofest poster in English or Punjabi for your schools.
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