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ARC Home > News and Resources > News archive:

Four years of Sikh environmentalism caught on film

October 22 2013:

It's been just four years since EcoSikh was launched and this new short film celebrates the impressive achievements of this international environmental network.

EcoSikh - 4 years of journeying





'EcoSikh - 4 years of journeying' charts the progress of the organisation since 2009, when the Sikh Council on Religion and Education joined in partnership with ARC and UNDP to respond to the challenge of Ban Ki Moon, UN Secretary General for the religions of the world to become active in promoting the care of the environment. EcoSikh was launched that year and submitted a 5 Year Plan on the environment to Ban Ki Moon and HRH Prince Philip, ARC's founder, at the Many Heavens, One Earth event in Windsor, UK.

The film shows how, from that point on, EcoSikh's small staff and resources have been used to grow a worldwide network within the Sikh community that is committed to following the example of Guru Har Rai ji, the seventh Sikh Guru whose love for creation led him to nurture plants and animals and create special gardens for them. His example led EcoSikh to create Sikh Environment Day, an annual event held on March 14 - the day that celebrates the enthronement of Guru Har Rai ji.

Young Sikhs in Maryland join in the tree planting on Sikh Environment Day 2013
Held for the first time in 2011, Sikh Environment Day has grown into a global event with over 1500 gurdwaras, schools and other holding special celebrations as well as undertaking environmental action including teaching, tree planting and litter clearing. 2011 also marked the year that EcoSikh joined with the SGPC and the Municipal authorities of Amritsar, the Sikh holy city, to join the Green Pilgrimage Network with a view to reducing the environmental impact of the millions of pilgrims who visit the famed Golden Temple every year. In 2013 Amritsar was joined in the Network by Nanded, another Sikh pilgrimage destination, while the annual Amritsar Foundation Day was dedicated as a day to promote Eco Amritsar, the vision of a green city for the future.

Full of inspiring footage and photographs showing Sikhs of all ages undertaking green actions in India, the USA and Malaysia among many other places the film gives a real sense of how the whole Sikh community is embracing the care of nature as a spiritual duty following the teachings of the seventh guru.

The newly restored Naulakha, a 350-year old herb garden at Kiratpur Sahib which was the birthplace of Guru Har Rai.
Perhaps the most impressive aspect of this work has been the restoration of the 350 year old herbal garden called Naulakha, at Kiratpur Sahib, that was the birthplace of Guru Har Rai and was previously famed for its collection of rare and medicinal herbs, but equally arresting are the images of young people enthusiastically joining their elders in the work of restoring the environment.

Read more about EcoSikh here.

Read more about EcoAmritsar here.

Read more about Amritsar and the Green Pilgrimage Network here.



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What does Sikhism teach us about ecology?
A brief summary of Sikh teachings on the environment
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Amritsar and the Green Pilgrimage Network
Information about the sacred site of Amritsar and the ways in which the religious and civil authorities are collaborating to make it a green pilgrimage destination.