New York, NY (PRWEB) March 21, 2011
The week of March 14th, over 250 Sikh temples, schools, and organizations across South Asia and six continents will participate in Sikh Environment Day to mark the day when Guru Har Rai took on Guru Nanaks mantle and became the seventh Guru of the Sikhs. Guru Har Rai is remembered in Sikh tradition for his deep sensitivity to nature and its preservation through the medicinal garden and animal sanctuary he kept in Kiratpur Sahib, located in present day Rupnagar District, Punjab.
The celebrations are being marked across South Asia and countries across North America, South America, Europe, Africa, and Australia that the global Sikh diaspora calls home.
In South Asia, the Akal Takht, the central governing authority of Sikhs issued a statement from the city of Amritsar encouraging all Sikhs to commemorate Sikh Environment Day by planting a tree. Sikh institutions such as the 100-year old Chief Khalsa Diwan, Sukrit Foundation, and Tavleen Foundation have developed educational materials to teach children to be more respectful and caring towards the environment. Two major seats of Sikh temporal authority Takht Sri Hazoor Sahib and Takht Sri Kesgarh Sahib have endorsed the idea, and Gurdwaras or Sikh temples from Indian states of Punjab, to Maharashtra to Bengal, and over two hundred schools have signed up to celebrate Sikh environment day by remembering the connection between the Sikh concept of the Divine and the environment. There also is a ban on pollution from vehicles and fire crackers in the city of Anandpur Sahib during the annual Hola Mohalla festival.
The Creator has created a vast variety of flora and fauna to maintain ecological balance on this earth. Whenever we try to modify the creation, it loses its balance and we face disastrous earthquakes, floods, and droughts. It is due to this disturbance in ecology that the environmentally sensitive people of the world are celebrating Environment Day, said Giani Gurbachan Singh, the leader of the Akal Takht, the Sikhs major decision-making body in a statement issued last month.
Dedicated Sikh environmental leaders in the state of Punjab, like Baba Balbir Singh Seechewal in Kapurthala District in and Baba Sewa Singh in Amritsar District are supporting the day day through mass tree plantings and by adopting villages. Bibi Inderjit Kaur, the head of Pingalwara shelter, founded by the respected Sikh environmentalist and humanitarian Bhagat Puran Singh Ji hosted a zero-budget natural farming workshop in Sangrur District of Punjabs Malwa region to encourage farmers to practice ecologically friendly agriculture without the use of hydrocarbon based chemical inputs.
In the Sikh Diaspora, Gurdwaras from Canada to Malaysia will be participating in Sikh Environment Day by focusing traditional verses from the Sikh scriptures on nature. In Northeast of the United States, the Connecticut Sikh Association will be celebrating the day with plans to install solar panels in their new Gurdwara, reducing energy costs by $ 15 thousand per year. In British Columbia, Canada, Guru Nanak Sikh Gurdwara and Sukh Sagar Gurdwara Sahib will be hosting a community environmental clean up, a tree planting, and a plant distribution in partnership with the youth organization Sikh Green Team.
In Malaysia, the Sikh Naujawan Sabha of Malaysia will be hosting an activity in the countrys forest reserves to reconnect children with nature. In West Africa, the Sikh community of Nigeria will be focus on reducing waste and on encouraging others to lead a simple life to protect the environment.
Sikh educational institutions known as Khalsa Schools, including several private schools in Toronto and Calgary, Canada in will be hosting childrens environmental education lessons that connects Sikh history, scripture, and values to important environmental challenges of today such as energy and water shortage, waste and consumption, and responsible behavior and management of natural resources.
“This day is an important day for Sikhs around the world. In the fields of agriculture, education, communications, health, and business, Sikhs are leaders with a tremendous potential to move to the head of the curve in the field of the environment, in line with our religious teachings. The natural demands of our planet will require us to restructure our lives in a more sustainable manner, which in the end will not only benefit ecology and society but help us build a more robust and innovative economy based on the protection of our natural resources,” said Bandana Kaur, Program Manager for EcoSikh and a recent graduate of the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies.
The events are being supported and coordinated by the organization, EcoSikh, the Sikh communitys contribution to the Alliance of Religions and Conservation and United Nations Development Programmes Plans for Generational Change Project, which aims to work with all major faiths to improve their relationship with the environment. EcoSikhs mission is to connect Sikh values, beliefs, and institutions to the most important environmental issues facing our world. The organization draws on the rich tradition of the Sikh Gurus and the Khalsa to shape the behavior and outlook of Sikhs and the world, ensuring that a deep, abiding reverence for all creation remains a central part of the Sikh way of life.
If you would still like to participate in Sikh Environment Day, please register your organization or Gurdwara at http://www.ecosikh.org.