US-based Sikh Outfit Creates Forests as Climate-action
EcoSikh, a US-based Sikh organisation has announced the planting of 400 forests in India and other parts of the world as part of its climate action.
According to the announcement made on the occasion of Sikh Environment Day (SED), EcoSikh said it has planted a forest of 1150 trees in Ireland and of 500 trees in Derbyshire, the United Kingdom.
In addition, a forest of 250 trees was planted in Surrey, Canada. EcoSikh, based out of Washington DC, has collaborated with local governments and gurdwaras in its projects.
These forests are called ‘Guru Nanak Sacred Forests’, named after the founder of the Sikh faith. This campaign started in 2019 when Sikhs celebrated his 550th birth-anniversary, EcoSikh said in a statement on March 20.
“The Sacred Forest” project has become a community-based initiative and many hundreds have joined this massive grass roots campaign all across the globe. This is a solid step to mitigate the effects of climate change and the good news is that all trees planted are surviving in these thriving forests,” said Dr. Rajwant Singh, EcoSikh (USA), the founder and global president.
According to Dr. Singh, “Guru Nanak was a nature-lover, and in his writings and pronouncements, he always inspired people to look at nature as the divine presence of the Creator and to form a loving relationship with nature. Planting trees to celebrate the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak will be the best way to celebrate this visionary. We appeal to all Sikh institutions, gurdwaras, and colleges and Punjabi organizations all across the world to take on this initiative to plant trees in their respective locations.
“Guru Nanak always spoke on the issues affecting the common people and he raised his concerns against social injustices and discriminatory practices. Guru Nanak would have raised his voice against the current degradation of the environment, especially what is happening in South Asia and in Punjab. Guru Nanak said “pavan guru paani pitha, maata dharath mahat”, which means “Air is the teacher, water is the father, earth is the mother”. He wanted his followers to have a harmonious relationship with these gifts of nature”, said Dr. Singh.
He said over the last 36 months, EcoSikh has planted forests in many states across India including, Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Delhi, Maharashtra, Gujarat and in Jammu. Each forest has 550 trees of native species.
These forests are planted following the Japanese Miyawaki methodology and are tagged on Google maps all across Punjab and India, he said.
It is said that every year hundreds of Sikh institutions and Gurdwaras all across the world celebrate SED by taking step to reduce carbon footprints and to save water and energy. In fact, EcoSikh has released a tool kit for the community to take action on SED which includes organic langar, nature walk, switching to LED bulbs and solar panels.
EcoSikh has formed a network of young volunteers all across Punjab who are said to be engaging with grassroots to do plantation in different parts of the state and other parts of India. EcoSikh has invited members of the Punjabi diaspora to sponsor or facilitate plantations in Punjabi villages.
EcoSikh has a special website for people to register all over the world for this task and it encourages Sikhs to work with their respective governments and local administrations to work out a plan. EcoSikh also collaborates with other international environmental organizations and the United Nations on this initiative.