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ARC Home > News and Resources > News archive:

Sikh Environment Day 2011 - how we all did it.

May 24, 2011:

During the week of March 14th 2011, more than 450 Sikh temples (gurdwaras), schools, and organizations around the world participated in Sikh Environment Day. This is a very exciting start to an annual Sikh event that we believe will last and grow for many years.

Here is a report to show what Sikh Environment Day 2011 involved, how we all, in the Sikh sangha and beyond, achieved it, how many people contributed, and giving some great inspiring ideas and examples. We will also soon be adding a photo gallery.

March 14th was chosen by the EcoSikh team to mark the day when Sri Guru Har Rai became the seventh Guru of the Sikhs. Guru Har Rai Ji is remembered in the Sikh tradition for his sensitivity to nature and his passion for preserving it. The 7th Guru was instrumental in developing Kiratpur Sahib on the banks of tributary of the Sutlej in Punjab as a town of parks and gardens: he planted flowers and fruit bearing trees all over the area, as well as medicinal herbs and wildlife sanctuaries. According to Sikh history this created a salubrious environment, attracting birds and animals to the town and turning it into an idyllic place to live.



Some Highlights

"EcoSikh approached Sri Akaal Takhat Sahib the supreme decision-making body in Sikhism, and submitted the event proposal for their consent. EcoSikh appealed to the religious head of Sri Akaal Takhat, Singh Sahib Giani Gurbachan Singh, to support Sikh Environment Day. He issued a message for all Sikhs to observe March 14th and recommended that every Sikh should plant a tree on this day and attain blessings from the Guru. This was HUGE news and spread rapidly throughout the Sikh community around the world. The Sikhs are accustomed to obeying the rules and messages issued from the Akaal Takhat Sahib. EcoSikh posted this message through press releases to the major media, on Facebook, the EcoSikh website, twitter and an emailed letter. The idea was so fascinating that many environment lovers within the Sikh community extended this message to their groups and all the popular non-profit Sikh organisations."

"A facebook ‘event’ was created in January to spread the word. The facebook event was initially sent to 700 people, but this tripled in nearly 24 hours and then reached a total number of over 10,000 Sikhs from across the Diaspora and in Punjab. The limitation with facebook is that there is no way to send a message to invitees once the number reaches 5,000, and so we were not able to plan an event. If coordinated roughly a month in advance, next year everyone could put up a message in support of Sikh environment day. Constant messaging on facebook and updates are needed to keep the public engaged."

"Partnership was secured early on with major Sikh organizations including Sikh Research Institute, the Sikh Coalition, SALDEF, and the Sikh Activist Network. These organizations each advertised the information in their newsletters, facebook posts, and websites. Sikh Research Institute was probably the strongest of all our partners, since, they prepared an environmental education curriculum, hosted an online webinar, and also organized a planting. Sikh Activist Network would also like to continue this work and has the potential to mobilize about 4,000 Sikh youth in Canada for messaging."




Links

Sikh Environment Day report 2011

EcoSikh website

Sikh Environment day

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