NewZNew (Chandigarh) : As, UN gears up for a major worldwide summit on Climate Change in December 2015 in Paris, “Eco Sikh”, based in Washington, has appealed to the Sikhs to concentrate on Climate Change when they celebrate the Sikh Environment Day on March 14 this year which would be in consonance with the UN Summit focus in Paris later this year. It will be recalled that Sikh Environment Day is celebrated on March 14, each year, this being the day which coincides with the Gurtagaddi Diwas (enthronement day) of 7th Sikh Guru, Guru Har Rai, who is remembered in Sikh history for his deep sensitivity to nature and its preservation. ‘EcoSikh’ has been working with the White House and the State Department on climate issues and was also invited by the World Bank president in Washington. It is leading and coordinating the celebration of the Sikh Environment Day since 2011 throughout India and around the globe and has popularized the day with the goal of creating environmental awareness amongst the Sikh masses and engaging them to take action on nature preservation.
Dr. Rajwant Singh, President of “Eco Sikh,” who has especially flown in from Washington, said, “On this year’s Sikh environment day, Eco Sikh will be emphasizing on climate change issues and will engage Sikh masses and Gurdwaras on increasing renewable and alternate forms of energy. In the past over 2,200 Gurdwaras, schools, and organizations were involved in celebrating the Sikh Environment Day and took part in awareness campaigns, plantation drives and nature marches.” In this he specifically highlighted role of Gursahib Singh, the team leader of a Ludhiana based youth group, ‘Young Flares’ that contributed two years of hard labour in greening and cleaning of the Nagar Kirtans (Sikh religious procession) in partnership with Eco Sikh. “We were able to successfully reduce consumption of water, prioritize its conservation and reuse. Our brethren are now aware in using organic food in langars and homes and increasing green cover,” he said in conclusion
Eco Sikh Project Manager, Ravneet Singh said, “Sikh Environment Day has played a positive role in shaping Sikh mindset and attitude towards mother earth. We have witnessed that in the past five years many Gurdwaras have stopped using Styrofoam & switched to steel utensils, planting trees and gifting saplings on auspicious occasions has become popular, many Gurdwara managements are looking for solar and bio solutions for energy. We appeal to Gurudwaras & Sikh communities in India & countries like USA, UK, Australia, Malaysia, Canada, Dubai, Norway, Pakistan and Africa to continue engage the young generation in establishing environmental projects.”
Dr. B S Brar who has contributed a lot of his time and energy in the development of two parks dedicated to Guru Har Rai ji in village Patto Hira Singh Wala in Moga was present at the press club along with his team to appeal the Gurdwara managements to take concrete action to protect the health of Punjab. He gave an example of the historical Gurdwara in Village Patto when he said, ‘This Gurdwara has dedicated its 13 acres land to create gardens and landscapes as a tribute to Guru Har Rai ji. The parks were started on Sikh Environment Day in 2012, are still developing, and would cost over 60 lakh rupees ($100,000).
“Over eight hundred schools across Punjab will take a green pledge on Sikh Environment Day,” declared Jaspreet Kaur, Project Manager of Guru Nanak Multiversity Educate Punjab Project. “We have been organizing Sikh Environment Day celebrations in Punjab schools in collaboration with Satnam Sarv Kalyan Trust and Chief Khalsa Diwan these past years which includes write ups, posters, pledges and short movies on nature conservation.”
Dean Student Welfare, Dr. Bir Bikram Singh from the Sri Guru Granth Sahib World University, Fatehgarh Sahib, an SGPC run educational institution, shared with the press, “We have extended full support to Sikh Environment Day initiative by arranging seminars and plantation drives at our University and we will continue with creating even better projects in honour of our great Guru. “
Climate change is the most important issue of our times and people must act to save the Earth from this dire peril. EcoSikh hopes to work with various Governments on climate issues and will welcome a meaningful binding agreement coming out of Paris this year. Both Mumbai and Kolkata will be seriously threatened by the turn of this century if a decisive action is not taken to cut down carbon emissions. Punjab’s agriculture will be seriously affected in future, were the thoughts shared by the eminent panelists at the press conference.