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EcoSikh Newsletter: October 2013

October 2013
Dharat Suhavi: Volume 3 Issue 6
Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa, Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh!
1. Four years of Sikh environmentalism caught on a film. A Salute to Sikh worldwide.
We have created a short film to celebrate the impressive achievements of EcoSikh since it’s launch 4 years ago. This global environmental network which was created by a small team is supported by the enormous network of Sikhs around the world – determined to play their part in protecting our beautiful mother earth.
Click to play 4 years
EcoSikh – Four Years of this incredible journey charts the progress of EcoSikh since 2009, when US based ‘ Sikh Council on Religion and Education‘ (SCORE) partnered with UK based ‘ Alliance of Religions and Conservation‘ (ARC) and the ‘ United Nations Development Programme‘ (UNDP). Their response was to the challenge posed by the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon where he called on the various religions of the world to become more active in promoting care for the environment. Some religions had taken on that challenge; but many had not realized that environmentalism was at the heart of their teachings. Yet the need for religions to take action had never been greater. EcoSikh was launched that same year and thanks to a small amount of seed funding from the Government of Norway, a pilot group was able to create a Five Year Plan on the environment outlining changes needed to enable Sikhs to take action on the environment. The plan included the creation of a dedicated EcoSikh Organisation, and submitted a 5 Year Plan on the environment to HE Ban Ki Moon and HRH Prince Philip (ARC’s founder) at the ‘Many Heavens, One Earth’ celebration at Windsor Castle, UK. A year later one full time and one part time member of staff were appointed to bring the Five Year Plan into action.
The film shows how, from that point on, EcoSikh’s limited staff & resources have been used to grow a worldwide network within the Sikh community that is committed to follow the example of Guru Har Rai ji, the seventh Sikh Guru whose love for Creation led him to nurture plants and animals and make special gardens for them. His example led EcoSikh to create Sikh Environment Day, an annual event held on March 14 – the enthronement day of Guru Har Rai ji.
2. News from Guru-ki-nagri, Amritsar
Eco-AsrLogoWebWhiteBGThis year for the first time EcoSikh sent an initial appeal to the Sikh community and all the Gurdwaras in Amritsar to commemorate the Gurpurab of Guru Ramdas Ji in a green way. This is part of Amritsar’s commitment to be part of the Green Pilgrimage Network, an international network of places that are sacred to religions around the world, and which attract pilgrims and want to use that to help them become more environmentally aware.
The two days of events included a Green Religious Procession or Nagar Kirtan
Eco-Amritsar planned a clean-up operation in the surroundings (galliara ) of the Golden Temple at the same time as the 2.5 kilometre-long Sikh religious procession which was organized in collaboration with SGPC, Punjab Tourism, MC Amritsar and Voice of Amritsar. Watch the much inspirational video from the nagar kirtan.
The major part of cleaning sewa during the nagar kirtan was undertaken by a team of over 60 volunteers from the nearby villages of Ajnala (led by Baba Kulwant Singh) as well as students of Khalsa College of Engineering and Technology, Amritsar, and many Sikhs who joined whole-heartedly when they saw the volunteers taking part in this inspirational action.
Elder sewadars from villages and young student volunteers collected garbage from roads in recycled bags and loaded them on trolleys provided by the SGPC and Municipality Corporation of Amritsar.
Eco Amritsar also created leaflets in Punjabi about ‘Five steps to Green food distribution langar’ and shared them with food stalls along the route. The aim was to bring awareness about the growing problem of garbage in the holy city. The five steps are:

  • Along with food distribution, install trash containers close to food stalls
  • Arrange for additional volunteers at stalls for the special sewa of garbage collection, please consider using recycled bin bags for trash collection
  • Prefer leaf plates instead of plastic and Styrofoam, as leaf plates are bio-degradable whereas the latter do not decompose for one million years
  • Make sure that the procession route is cleaned after the procession. Part of our sewa is to leave the roads clean and tidy
  • The garbage collected should be delivered to the city Municipal Corporation

Click here to read more about this event…
Celebrating Amritsar’s founder’s birth anniversary in an Eco-way
Dara SinghWe discovered a unique way as a humble tribute to our beloved Guru, Guru Ramdas ji, who was so passionate to protect the wonders of the Creation. In one of his writings of Guru ji says;
Jo Bolath Hai Mrig Meen Pankhaeroo So Bin Har Jaapath Hai Nehee Hor ||3||… (P-1265, SGGS),
which means that all the species of air, land, and water, chant and praise the Almighty.
Collaborating with the 75-year-old bird lover and birdhouse maker, Dara Singh from Tarn Taran (click here for Dara Singh’s message), the Eco-Amritsar team invited different religious places in the city to commemorate Guru Ramdas ji’s gurpurab by welcoming birds to the holy city. A variety of religious communities responded positively, and opened their doors to the idea and the action. Birdhouses were installed at Sri Harmandir Sahib (the Golden Temple) complex, Radhe Krishna Hindu Temple at Rani ka bag, Khairuddin Mosque Hall Bazar, St. Mary’s Church Gumtala road and Miri-Piri Academy at their campuses. The aim was to welcome parrots, doves and other native bird species of Punjab, which don’t make their own nests but used the modest spaces in the old architected buildings, such as brick spaces in the non-cemented outer walls, windows etc, which they no more found in the newest buildings designs. Read more about the Gurpurab celebrations at Amritsar…
3. New EcoSikh team member
tds cropped
Finally we’d like to introduce our newest team member, Tarundeep Singh. Tarundeep is the Program Administrator for the Eco-Amritsar initiative. Tarundeep is charged with driving the vision of the Green Pilgrimage Network in Amritsar since July 2013. Based in Amritsar, he comes with a track record in the Education & Organisational management and with a deep interest in Sikhi. His qualifications include a Bachelor degree in Business Administration, Biotechnology and Genetic Engineering. He also has an MBA with Honours. We expect he will leverage this training by bringing in entrepreneurial and planning skills to this project. Our mission is to engage the citizens of Amritsar – at a religious, social and political level to improve the city’s ecology. Amritsar – My City, My Pride, My Responsibility!
Tarundeep, his wife, and 3 year old daughter live together with their parents. “I love my city Amritsar because it connects me to Guru Ramdas ji, and as an EcoSikh, I strive to extend this respectable connection to all my fellow citizens and bring them close to nature as any resident of this city should be.” Says Tarundeep.
These are humble beginnings…we pray that this work gains more traction and momentum with all Sikhs worldwide…
Signed the EcoSikh team…

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