Hundreds of thousands celebrate Sikh Environment Day 2012
18 March, 2012:
||Students at Kolkata English High School this week
Sikh Environment Day (Sikh Vatavaran Diwas) March 14, 2012 has more participants than ever before. By the morning of March 14, we had heard of more than 1007 organisations, schools, gurdwaras and others who were doing Environment Activities. Read the support letter from the UN Assistant Secretary-General Olav Kjorven here.
Sikh Environment Day was created by EcoSikh, a small organisation founded by ARC and the Sikh Council on Religion and Education (SCORE) in the USA, supported initially by the Norwegian Government with some funding now coming in from the Sikh Community. It has been operating for only 18 months and has already made some big impacts with its three programmes - Green Gurdwaras, Amritsar as a Green Pilgrim City, and Sikh Environment Day March 14.
Below is the list of some of the advance pledges, as posted on the EcoSikh site. The totals and stories will be posted in the next few weeks.
MARCH 15, 2012: Delhi, India: Yesterday the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) President Paramjit Singh Sarna pledged that Delhi Gurdwaras would be world leaders in green places of worship, with plans to introduce solar power, ban plastic disposables, promote tree planting and pray for the environment. The sangat at 16 Gurdwaras in Delhi were encouraged to plant trees and save water at the gurdwara, offices and their homes. In addition 19,000 students at 12 DSGMC schools were encouraged to protect nature, reciting special hymns, attending seminars, and being taught about water saving. “Sikh Environment Day is just a beginning, we have a long way to travel,” Paramjit Singh said.
MARCH 15, Australia: the talented singer Dya Singh has written a wonderful article from Melbourne on the Sikhchic website, talking about how: “A day, which otherwise used to pass off as ‘just another’ Gurpurab, within the year has suddenly become one of the most significant days in the international Sikh calendar”. Thanks so much Dya – it was very moving for us at EcoSikh to read it.
MARCH 15, 2012, Peru: Manpreet Kaur Singh in Peru wrote to us to say that she and her family celebrated EcoSikh Day with local people from Peru.
MARCH 14, 2012: International: Sikh cartoonist Vishavjit Singh of sikhtoons.com has created this lovely Sikh Environment Day cartoon for EcoSikh. He wishes everyone “all the best for Sikh Environment Day”.
MARCH 14, 2012: the PTC channel is broadcasting live from Amritsar with live katha on the environment coming from the Manji Sahib Hall in the Golden Temple. People watch the PTC channel from 68 countries. Many kathawachaks on this channel are congratulating the entire sangat for new year, Gurugaddi diwas of Guru Har Rai ji and Sikh environment day. They are asking everyone to plant a tree and not wait for the authorities… this is our own earth.
||Free plant distribution at Kalgidhar Sewak Jatha for Sikh Environment Day
MARCH 14, 2012: AUSTRALIA: Dya Singh has written a powerful article for Sikhchic.net about the long-term implications of this day in the Sikh calendar for the years to come. “Can this army of 30 million then also turn into eco-warriors?” he asks.
MARCH 14, 2012: International: 7Sea channel is releasing the environmental kirtan recorded at Jawaddi Taksal, Ludhiana. The timings are UK 8.30am and 7pm; Europe 9.30am and 8pm repeat.
MARCH 14, 2012: Punjab: 11 schools so far from SUKRIT have told us they are celebrating Sikh Environment Day this week.
MARCH 13, 2012: California, USA: The San Jose Gurdwara will be marking Sikh Environment Day with enthusiasm. “2011 was a big year for our Gurdwara Sahib. We celebrated the grand opening of the expanded Gurdwara Sahib in April. Here is the most exciting part: * The new langar hall is eco-friendly with stainless steel plates, no more styrofoam! * The new parking structures on one side of the Gurdwara sahib are covered with solar panels, we’ve made the switch!
MARCH 13, 2012 London, UK: the Sikh Community of Gurudwara Sri Guru Singh Sabha, Southall, London, UK, is celebrating Sikh Environment Day by planting five fruit trees at the newly acquired green at Norwood Hall. It will also signify the the sangat participating in the biggest community eco-food growing project in West London. The “Community Feeding The Community”, involves organic and sustainable principles, with water from rain-water harvesting and compost from the Gurdwara’s bio-waste. This is the largest Gurdwara in Europe. Also in Southall, Amanroop Kaur and her husband both teach kirtan and on March 18 will combine the themes of Sikh Environment Day and the wider UK traditional Mothering Sunday and sing kirtan with friends and family about mothers and the environment, and give seeds to the sangat to take home.
MARCH 13, 2012: Srinagar, Kashmir The late planting season in their area means the SAVE organisation of Srinagarwill be celebrating their Sikh Environment Day during the first week of April with tree planting, ecotours and special quiz programmes among other activities. Handmade greetings cards and other craft items are being specially designed, based on quotations of Sri Guru Granth Sahib.
MARCH 13, 2012 Punjab, and Haryana: The SGPC has announced that 78 Gurdwaras, 11 aided colleges, 31 Khalsa schools and 12 Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) schools will each plant 50 trees to celebrate Sikh Environment Day: a total of 7250 new trees.
MARCH 13, 2012 Haryana: Our Haryana volunteer, Gurpreet Singh reports that more than 230 Sikh gudwaras schools, organisations and families will be taking part, including around 150 gurdwaras and at least 19 schools. Schoolchildren at Nankana sahib Public School in Ludhiana pledged to protect the environment .
MARCH 13, 2012: India: At least five people in India did bulk SMS sewa, sending out the message: Celebr8 Sikh Environment Day March 14: plant a tree, say no to disposables, clean a street, pray for a cleaner world. Waheguru ji ki Fateh! www.ecosikh.org ! Also PEFA from Punjab University Chandigarh are joining in as well.
MARCH 13, Maryland, USA: The Guru Gobind Singh Foundation in Rockville Maryland and the Guru Nanak Foundation of America in Silver Spring, Maryland, will both be celebrating Sikh Environment Day on March 18. Link here to see how Sikh families in Rockland celebrated last year.
MARCH 13, Mohali: Kalgidhar Sewak Jatha is organising a very big event in Mohali on 14th March including kirtan, cleanup drives, a tree planting drive, and recycling lessons.
||Delhi gurdwaras are to go solar
MARCH 13, AROUND THE WORLD: Cordoba, Argentina Partap Singh and his family are the only Sikhs in the Cordoba so they will celebrate Sikh Environment Day with other local people with gurbani shabad; Tbilisi, Georgia By coincidence, Sikh Environment Day is also the birthday of Shiv Kamal Singh’s fiance, so they will celebrate both by growing plants ant telling their friends about the day. Indianapolis, USA:At Purdue University, Amandeep Kaur will be giving flowering plants to friends and work colleagues as well as adopting more green practices like saving water; Pennsylvania, USA:S. Puri Pushpinder reports plans for celebrations in local Gurdwaras and schools in Leigh Valley, Easton and Blue Mountain communities in Pennsylvania; Connecticut, USA As well as students undertaking special projects, art works and discussions on environmental themes, the Guru Gobind Singh Academy will install recycling bins in their school and Gurdwara and re-emphasise the importance of recycling.
March 12, Haryana: The Khalsa School of GNFA will include shabads regarding environment in the regular kirtan darbar on March 14. Since there are no classes that day it was decided by Gajinder Singh ji to celebrate Sikh Environment day on March 18 with one hour of program from 11 am in which the children will recite shabads and give speeches pertaining to the environment. The GNFA secretary has been making regular announcements to sadh sangat to attend this programme.
MARCH 12, 2012: Ludhiana: Today we had kirtan recording on a nature theme, involving two music academies, for two channels who came forward to provide their platform. We have also had 145 families in Ludhiana who have signed and taken the Sikh Environment Day, and two additional gurdwaras joined the celebration.
MARCH 12: 2012, SCHOOLS IN INDIA: We have heard from schools in Dera Bassi, Jandiala Guru, Sangrur and Shahkot, who will all be celebrating Sikh Environment Day with their pupils. Kolkata Khalsa High School, Kolkata has also registered.
MARCH 12, 2012: MALAYSIA: Kuala Lumpur The Sikh community of the Sikh Naujawan Sabha, Titiwangsa, will be organising Sikh Environment Day on March 24. Also, following the initial Sikh Environment Day celebrations in Kuala Lumpur, Sikh Naujawan Sabha Malaysia and O.M.G. (Oh My Guru) will be taking ideas for sustainable long-term action to be implemented in other Malaysian states.
MARCH 12, 2012 USA: News from the USA shows that the Manhattan Sikh Association, Southington Gurdwara CT and Santa Anna Gurdwara California, In addition the Sikh Coalition will run a workshop for youth, and the Sikh Association of Queen’s College, New York will organise a tree-planting. The Guru Tegh Bahadur ji Foundation in Norwalk, CT will initiate a waste reduction and recycling programme in their Gurdwara as well as planting a tree in a local school.
MARCH 11, 2012: Houston, Texas The Sikh centre of the Gulf Coast Area will hold Kar Sewa and plant flowers, shrubs and trees on March 10, with a Keertan/Katha on later Sundays.
MARCH 11, 2012: Ferozepur, Punjab: As well as a ceremonial tree planting, members of the Singh Sabha Gurdwara in Ferozepur will be enlarging the green spaces in the Gurdwara and surrounding area.
MARCH 11, 2012. Internet. Sikhnet has posted two wonderful stories for Sikh Environment Day. One about Guru Har Rai, who understood the sacred action of gardening, and would hunt animals only to give them medicine and free them. The other is a story about Guru Har Rai as a little boy, who could not even hurt a flower. They are available as audio files as well.
MARCH 11, 2012: PUNJAB. Khalsa Akal Purakh Ki Fauj, a group of children and young people who sing in gurdwaras every week, will sing kirtan on nature theme this week. Meanwhile Nankana Sahib public school in Ludhiana will do an Eco Assembly on Monday 12th, March. And a gurdwara in Ludhiana called Gurdwara E block used pledge forms this weekend in their Saturday evening kirtan darbar.
MARCH 11, 2012, Derby, UK: The children of the Gurdwara Ramgarhia Sabha in Derby will begin to cultivate Khalsa Garden, a plot of land that will grow organic vegetables for the Guru Ka Langar as well as flowers
MARCH 11, 2012: Ohio, USA. Dayton Gudwara is hosting kirtan on nature, a special exhibition and tree planting for Sikh Environment Day. Activities will be held on March 18. Read DaytonGurdwara SED 2011 for their 2011 celebrations.
MARCH 10, 2012: Punjab, India: Students from more than 10 engineering colleges throughout the Punjab made pledges that, in their work and at their homes, they would be true to their faith, and protect the living planet. More than 200 students took that pledge.
MARCH 10, 2012: Canada: British Columbia Ik Onkar TV will be making short films inspired by EcoSikh and Sikh Environment Day 2012. They have already made videos in English & Punjabi (mixed) for Sikh Environment Day 2011, giving young people the chance to explain green Sikhism. In Mississauga, Ontario the World Green Aviation Council has registered.
MARCH 9, 2012: UK: Panjab Radio focused a whole programme today on Sikh Environment Day: 11 listeners from the British Sikh Community called in to show their support.
MARCH 9, 2012: New Jersey: The Sikh Research Institute is hosting a Ecotheology lecture, titled Kadir-Kudrat: Inseparable Creator-Creation at Bridgewater Gurdwara on March 11, for Sikh Environment week.
MARCH 9, 2012: Mukatsar, Punjab: Bhai Maha Singh Engineering college has joined Sikh Environment Day: Students are reciting prayers for nature, and making vocal pledges to preserve their environment.
MARCH 8, 2012: India: Jammu, Kashmir: Baba Banda Singh Sikh Youth Organisation are going to encourage more travelling on foot and less use of motor vehicles for their members and activities. Registrations too from Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh The Sant Longowal Foundation, Phagwara, Punjab The Phagwara Environmental Association, Tarsikka, Punjab Gurmat Sewa Society, Indore, Madhya Pradesh Tavleen Foundation Fatehabad, Haryana Scholars Destiny Education Consultants Pvt Ltd, Nagar, Delhi Shiromani Akali Dal.
MARCH 8, 2012: Ludhiana: Six organisations and groups including the Gursikh Family club, Kalgidhar School, Pothohar School, Jawaddi Taksal Music Academy, Ishmeet Singh Music Academy, and an unnamed group of young boys in Ludhiana have all signed up. Also Sri Guru Angad Dev College at Khadur Sahib.
MARCH 8, 2012: California: The Khalsa Care foundation in California is preparing a garden and making the Gurdwara more sustainable! ”We’ve laid the basic foundation for it but we’re looking to expand, beautify and properly take care of the rest of the land. March 3rd is cleanup and March 10th will be planting. Santa Rosa, California The NBSF Santa Rosa Gurdwara will be holding a Kirthan/katha on the environment, including a ceremonial tree planting and distribution of plants.
MARCH 8, 2012: HP, India: Dagshai School is taking students to an organic farm for Sikh Environment Day.
MARCH 8, 2012: Ontario, Canada: the Khalsa Community School, Malton, Ontario will be joining in with assistance from Punjabi Community Health Services organization. They will be conducting a community garden (tree) planting and cleanup with students from the school and members of the Malton and Brampton community. Reciting a shabad is likely.
MARCH 7, 2012: Punjab: 300 Satnam Sarv Kalyan Trust schools have announced they will take part in Sikh Environment Day through school assemblies, lessons, and other actions.
MARCH 7, 2012: British Armed Forces, UK: the annual Chardi Laka Sikh weekend for Sikhs in the British Army will have one of the days themed on Sikh Environment Day and how to make the world’s environment better by taking inspiration from Guru Har Rai Ji. The weekend runs from April 20 to 22 at AFCC, Amport House. There are around 200 Sikh serving members of the British Armed Forces.
MARCH 6, 2012: Nagar, Punjab: The Election Reform Society, based in Nagar, will begin a campaign to encourage the banning of firecrackers during Diwali celebrations.
MARCH 5, 2012: Connecticut, USA: Guru Nanak Darbar in Connecticut will officially be celebrating its switch to solar energy on March 14, Sikh Vatavaran Diwas this year. The Gurdwara installed solar panels last year for the main Gurdwara Hall, the Granthi’s house, and an old Gurdwara building, and officially turned on the power in February 2012 in a soft opening. Costs for solar installation in the main Gurdwara building were fully reimbursed by the State of Connecticut, and the sangat chose to pay for the other buildings.
MARCH 4, 2012: Ludhiana: Gurdwara Sri Guru Singh Sabha, Sarabha Nagar Ludhiana arranged a flower show and flower competition here at Gurdwara premises today. Families were welcomed to bring maximum 3 flower pots from home to take part in the contest. Along with that painting competition on the theme of Trees is Gurbani was arranged for kids above 6-14; 15 and above years of age group. About 60 Sikh families signed the EcoSikh Sikh Environment Day Pledge form to plant a tree on 14th March in honour of Sri Guru Har Rai Sahib. There will be a kirtan darbar on Basant Raag in the evening. The Gurdwara management committee has also organized a bicycle rally on 14th March. Youngsters and elders are all welcomed and encouraged to register their names for the event at the Gurdwara.
FEBRUARY 24, 2012: Kolkata: Gurdwara Behala, D.H Road is organizing a week-long cleaning drive in and around Gurdwara premises, there will be an awareness program plus Gurdwara Sangat will adopt a park nearby to make it a ZERO PLASTIC ZONE. What a beautiful unique way to celebrate Guru Har Rai’s teachings…
FEBRUARY 24, 2012: Mumbai: In March 2011, Gurdwara Sri Guru Nanak Darbar, Mira Road inspired sangat with a Kirtan Darbar focused on the theme of nature and shared a Powerpoint presentation showcasing the effects of global warming planning, the increasing green house effect and the steps to be taken. This seminar on the Sikh Environment Day gained a huge interest from sangat. So this year they are planning bigger action in the week of March. Stay tuned to read more about this…
FEBRUARY 23, 2012: Punjab: The Hazur Sahib committee has announced to celebrate the Sikh Environment Day again this year by organizing a nature march, plant distribution at Nanded and developing a beautiful garden at Gurdwara Shikar Ghat Sahib. They will also involve the community in ‘Each one Plant one’ campaign in honour of Sri Guru Har Rai Sahib Ji.
FEBRUARY 23, 2012: Punjab: On 21st February the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC), Amritsar announced to celebrate the Sikh Environment Day in their Gurdwaras by planting 5,000 trees. Read the full news in Punjabi.
FEBRUARY 22, 2012: New Jersey: Bridgewater Gurdwara has recently made concerted efforts towards sustainability by getting rid of disposable materials for langar and has taken steps to powering the gurdwara with solar energy.
FEBRUARY 22, 2012: Assam: Gurdwaras in Assam are on board: they will be organizing Kirtan Darbars on a nature theme and will use Sikh Environment Day Pledge forms. The Sri Guru Har Rai Sikh Eco-Society, Guwahatti will collaborate with all the Gurdwaras of the area.
FEBRUARY 22, 2012: Himachal Pradesh: Dagshai Public School is planning to organize a school trip to an organic farm for a live lesson on organic food, healthy food.
FEBRUARY 20: Haryana: Gurdwara Patshahi Chhevi in Bani Badarpur, which is managed by SGPC in Haryana will create the first ever Guru Ka Baagh, or Guru’s Garden project to celebrate Sikh Environment Day, 2012. With the support of Baba Sewa Singh, a piece of vacant land at the gurdwara will be transformed into a beautiful orchid garden. Read more here.
FEBRUARY 21: Batala, Punjab The Woodstock School iwill have Kirtan and Katha on environmental themes.
FEBRUARY 20: California: Leaders affiliated with the Bhujangi Youth Academy for Punjabi Sikh Youth will lead a nature hike for Sikh Vatavaran Diwas, through Northern California’s scenic mountains. In August 2011, Bhujangi led a 10-day program called ‘Bhujangis in the Forest,’ to offer young boys a safe place to connect with each other, enjoy nature, and develop a relationship with Waheguru, with support from elder mentors.
FEBRUARY 19: Punjab: Khadoor Sahib: EcoSikh and the Sukrit Trust today released an inspiring ten-minute program booklet for primary and secondary pupils throughout Punjab to celebrate Sikh Environment Day 2012, and pay their homage to Mother Earth. To download this book as a pdf click here. Read more here.
FEBRUARY 18, 2012: Sri Akal Takhat Sahib, Amritsar has today issued a statement to support Sikh Environment Day. Singh Sahib Giani Gurbachan Singh Ji has called the Sikhs to reduce the use of plastics in Gurdwaras, homes and else where. He has also asked that all Sikhs should celebrate this Gurpurab by cleaning their homes, surroundings and parks. Click to read the full message in Punjabi. Click to read the English translation. Link here for registration.
FEBRUARY 17, 2012: Ontario, Canada: Punjabi Community Health Services (PCHS), a long-running institution saving elderly, adults and youth, will host a community cleanup drive, and a seminar on environmental protection based on Gurbani. PCHS is home to the Sahara Garden project, a local garden that enables elderly in the Punjabi/Sikh community to share their farming skills and stay physically active.
FEBRUARY 14, 2012: Pakistan: We have heard that some 25 gurdwaras from Pakistan will participate in Sikh Environment Day for the first time. More news soon.
FEBRUARY 13, 2012: Amritsar: Amritsar International Fateh Academy has registered.
FEBRUARY 13, 2012: Gurmat Gian Missionary College Ludhiana: more than 50 parcharaks, or Sikh missionaries, have said they will bring Sikh Environment Day to the villages throughout the Punjab where they preach and teach. Read more here.
FEBRUARY 12, 2012: Takhat Sri Kesharh Sahib has today issued a statement in full and enthusiastic support of Sikh Environment Day. Read the full message from Sri Kesgarh Sahib in Punjabi and English
FEBRUARY 8, 2012: NSW, Australia: Glenwood Gurdwara in Australia will mark the day with an essay competition for Sikh Youth on ‘the Guru’s message for Nature and Preservation’, along with presentations and an awareness drive on the environment, and a talk by the local Green MP and local council member on how one community can make a difference.
FEBRUARY 3, 2012: British Columbia, Canada: Guru Nanak Sikh Gurdwara, one of the largest Gurdwaras in the greater British Columbia region will organise weeklong celebrations around Sikh Environment Day. They will include a youth kirtan darbar, a tree distribution, and, an environmental cleanup with the City of Surrey. The Gurdwara is also allotting CAD $3,000 to spread the word via diverse media networks about Sikh Vatavaran Diwas in Surrey/Vancouver, engaging one of the largest Sikh diaspora communities outside of South Asia in the celebrations. Follow them on twitter.
FEBRUARY 2, 2012: Delhi: Gursikh Sanjog fortnightly newspaper will give special articles and news on the environment.
Together we made this a bigger and more wonderful Sikh Environment Day than it was even in 2011, its first year, when the number and enthusiasm of participants beat all expectations.