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GPN best practice

This page has not been updated since June 2014.


Here are some examples of environmental actions by Green Pilgrimage Network members:

Green Guide for Hajj

Each year up to 3 million Muslim pilgrims go to the Saudi Arabian holy city of Makkah on Hajj. They leave more than 100 million plastic bottles behind them. In 2011 we launched the first guide to an environmentally sustainable Hajj. The Green Guide to Hajj asks pilgrims to avoid using plastic bags and bottles, to clear up their own litter and to chose travel companies with environmentally friendly policies. It asks pilgrims to care for the environment once they return home. The Green Guide has been translated into Arabic, Bahasa-Indonesia and Hausa (for use in Nigeria where it has been adapted not only for pilgrims going on the Hajj but for the 1.5 million pilgrims from West Africa who go on the annual Maukib pilgrimage to Kano). The Green Guide’s message of environmental care is being spread through green "vanguards" who promote, for example, drinking from traditional water gourds instead of plastic bottles.

Louguan: model Daoist city in China

Louguantai Temple is the most important Daoist sacred place in China. At Assisi in 2011, as a founding GPN member, it promised to green its temples and the city of Louguan. By May 2012 it had already set up a green hotel, heated by solar and natural gas with low carbon emissions; and it had also set up a demonstration centre for growing local organic food with an organic restaurant as well as building new environmentally friendly temples. Since then Louguan has created a website called “Spring Came to Louguan” to attract tourists to practice Green Pilgrimage. It has been promoting solar panels, bio fuel and other renewable energy. It hopes other pilgrimage cities in China will follow its example.

Etchmiadzin, Armenia and green local hospitality

The Armenian Orthodox Church in Etchmiadzin has been teaching people about local green hospitality and serving traditional food, expanding their green zones and parks, protecting their forests and greening the areas around their churches. Their aim is turning the city into the greenest city in Armenia.

Luss: a beacon in Scotland

Luss, in Scotland’s first National Park on the banks of Loch Lomond welcomes 750,000 visitors each year and has a series of pilgrimage paths built by young people from around the world. Luss has made an agreement with the local Argyll and Bute Council (which covers much of the west of Scotland) for an initiative to encourage pilgrimage worldwide to come to Luss and the ancient pilgrimage sites in the rest of Scotland. Alongside the new pilgrimage route, called the “Footsteps of the Celtic Saints” are plans for education programmes on pilgrimage and conservation.

7. Trondheim

Trondheim has been making progress towards becoming a green pilgrim city especially in public transportation – over 200 gas-powered buses are now in use improving local air quality. There are plans to create Norway’s first low carbon suburb and to clean the seabed around the city. The Church of Norway has drawn up new guidelines on greening events and festivals.

The Sikh holy city Amritsar

The Golden Temple in Amritsar receives 30 million visitors each years. Amritsar joined the Green Pilgrimage Network as a founding member with ambitious schemes of using solar power to fuel its langar kitchens which feed all its visiting pilgrims (regardless of creed, faith or need) with free vegetarian food, and of organising large-scale clean-ups in a city without adequate municipal rubbish collection. In June 2012, Amritsar and EcoSikh brought together 200 Sikh religious bodies, city administrators and educationalists to form a group called Eco Amritsar, pledging to introduce organic farming, environmental education and bring in rainwater harvesting in all government buildings and institutions among other measures. For Amritsar Foundation Day in July 2013, EcoAmritsar and EcoSikh launched a raft of new initiatives. These included a new awareness campaign, no garbage left over, an aim to have no plastic used or littered as well as a zero chemical usage campaign in gurdwaras and new zero disposal parks in the city, which promotes the use of composting.

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