NewZNew (Chandigarh) : EcoSikh, a Washington DC, based organization has sounded the alarm on issues related to climate change and has urged Sikh Gurdwaras to take green actions as part of the Sikh Environment Day celebrations on March 14. In a new campaign, EcoSikh has appealed to Gurdwaras to develop a plan to introduce organic ingredients into langar meals. The Sikh Environment Day (SED) is an international day of environment action for Sikhs around the world. Inspired by Guru Har Rai ji’s love for nature, EcoSikh facilitates gurdwaras, schools, clubs and individuals to take action against climate change, through initiatives such as hosting a recycling drive, giving an eco-lecture, or having a nature walk. SED is celebrated on March 14th globally.
Dr. Rajwant Singh, President of EcoSikh, said, “EcoSikh plans to pursue organic farming as an important issue in India and in the U.S. Organic agriculture in the U.S. provides a way that can help farmers adapt to climate change through strengthening ecosystems, diversifying crop production and building farmer’s knowledge. In fact, organic farming is seen as one of the best way to sequester CO2 from the atmosphere and soil.” He added, “Gurdwaras ought to send signal to the World that Sikhs are serious about saving the planet from degradation.”
EcoSikh also released a 80 seconds video on organic langar to be shared with Gurdwaras in 25 countries via their social media campaign.
Suneet Tuli, EcoSikh board member and CEO of Datawind, said, “We appeal to all the Gurdwaras to have an energy audit and take steps to reduce the emissions of gases contributing to climate change. In India, over 70% of pollution and carbon emissions are due to the energy sector and this rate is going high day by day. It is imperative that the spiritual centers of all religions at least commit to stop the damage to Mother Earth and the future generations.”
Ravneet Singh, Project Manager of EcoSikh, said “Organic Langar is the way ahead. Each Gurdwara should serve organic Langar as a part of Sikh Environment Day celebrations on March14. We also appeal the institutions to welcome the farmers at the Gurdwaras to exhibit and sell their healthy organic food products at the Gurdwaras.”
Ravneet Singh added, “Switching to organic diet would save our health and would reduce ailments among people especially cancer. The cost to treat dreadful diseases is more than the cost to buy healthful food and it is time that we calculate this simple math.”
In attendance at the press conference was Country Regional Director of Centre for Environment Education, India (CEE), Prabhjot Sodhi. Mr. Sodhi highlighted the UNDP’s Low Carbon Lifestyle guidebook which endorsed the EcoSikh’s Sikh Environment Day campaign, “I appeal the Sikh institutions to share the lessons from the Low Carbon Lifestyle guidebook in Gurdwaras on March14. The book enlists all the logistics and do-able actions to save energy and water which will save earth and a lot of your money as well.”
A renowned organic farmer from Ludhiana, JS Ghulal, also joined the EcoSikh team and said, “Growing organic vegetables and crop is healing to the earth and to the body. It is also an economically viable option and we must increase the consumption and demand of this food by serving it in our religious places so the farmers see the financial opportunity.”
EcoSikh also emphasized on the use of steel thalis and minimize the use of Styrofoam and plastic plates for langar. EcoSikh will share online toolkits throughout the world, including hymns on nature, katha and discourses, educational material for children and other ideas to celebrate SED. EcoSikh has introduced two new hashtags #SED16 and #OrganicLangar to collect all the related news.
EcoSikh was invited by the French President Francois Hollande during the climate change deliberations in Paris and EcoSikh is also closely working with the White House on climate change issues.