Sikh Environmental Day is coming up on Monday March 14th. To honor this special day, we invited Sumeet Kaur, Program Manager for EcoSikh North America to share a reflection on the meaning and purpose of the day:
Sikh Environment Day is an annual celebration of the Mother Nature by Sikhs around the world. The day, which occurs every March 14th is inspired by the seventh guru of Sikhism, Guru Har Rai, one of the earliest environmentalists in the Indian subcontinent.
One particular story of Guru Har Rai as a child illustrates his inherent appreciation for the natural world. As a young boy, Har Rai was riding his horse when he noticed Guru Hargobind in the distance. Har Rai quickly dismounted his horse and ran to Guru Hargobind, but as he rushed toward his company, his long robe became caught on a bush and broke some flowers from their stems. Distraught from killing these flowers, Har Rai started crying. He was deeply hurt from this incident and vowed never to pluck a flower or kill a plant for the rest of his life. As a guru, Guru Har Rai grew medicinal plants in his famous gardens and purposely contributed to creating diverse ecosystems where plants and animals would thrive.
Drawing inspiration from the Guru's life, Sikhs today celebrate Sikh Environment Day. Sikhs throughout the world celebrate by planting trees, hosting recycling drives, gardening, and conducting workshops and seminars on green living. Last year, more than 2,000 gurdwaras (Sikh temple), schools and organizations celebrated Sikh Environment Day from six different continents, and more are planned to celebrate in 2016. One of the biggest celebrations will be taking place in the DC area, at Guru Gobind Singh Foundation of Virginia, in Potomac Maryland on Sunday, March 13th. People of all faith backgrounds are welcomed and encouraged to visit the temple, learn about Sikh history, and partake in the festivities beginning at noon following the service. It is not only a day of celebrating Guru Har Rai’s life, but also a tribute to the environmentalist messages embedded in Sikh tradition.
Not many people know a lot about the Sikh faith, but we at EcoSikh hope that through positive actions, we can spread the values we are taught as Sikhs: to remember God, to work hard, and to perform selfless work. On Sikh Environment Day, we aim to do all those things.
Phone Calls are Needed This Week to Support the Bag Ban and Pesticide BillBag Ban
Please click here for an easy-to-read script, and how to find your representative's phone number. It's so important that you call this week! It takes only 30 seconds and has a huge impact. They need to hear from you, otherwise they're just representing themselves! This bill is moving through the process and it helps for your legislator to hear what you think about it.
Many people don't realize that when they buy flowers or plants for their gardens, they might be buying products that have been treated with neonic pesticides. Eco-minded legislators in the House and Senate are working hard to pass a pesticide bill that would ban neonic-treated plants and seedlings in Maryland. If you support this bill, you can raise your voice by calling your legislator. Find your legislator here: http://mdelect.net/. Click here for more information about the bill and talking points for your phone call.
Trees for Sacred Places - Free Trees for Faith Communities
We have opportunities right NOW for congregations in Montgomery County and Maryland-wide to obtain free trees for their grounds. Trees are "Creation's Cure-all" since they filter pollutants from the water, reduce stormwater runoff (#1 source of water pollution from urban and suburban locations), prevent soil erosion, and mitigate climate change by absorbing carbon dioxide.
The Trees for Sacred Places program offers all of these for FREE: (See list of participating congregations and find out more information here.)
Interested in learning more? Contact Bonnie Sorak, firstname.lastname@example.org or 410-609-6852. View and download Flyer here.
Boat Tours on Anacostia River
Experience Trash First-hand: Clean a Stream!
Want to see first-hand the trash that accumulates in our sacred waters? Volunteer with Project Clean Stream or Alice Ferguson Foundation's Potomac Watershed Cleanup and be forever changed! Get your Men's Group, Bible Study Group, Boy Scout group, or Green Team together for a field trip and join the movement. This is free and easy to organize. There are many stream cleanup projects organized throughout the state, but here are two of the bigger ones.
Baltimore Mayoral Candidate Forum Recap
Nearly 400 people registered and attended a mayoral candidate forum at Mt. Lebanon Baptist Church in Baltimore to hear current candidates talk about sustainable living. If you missed it, detailed responses from the candidates and videos are available here. Thank you to all who came out!
Upcoming Events and Volunteer Opportunities
Volunteers Needed - We anticipate that the flood gates will open with Earth Day requests for IPC to suggest speakers for services and events and informational sharing opportunities. We will need your help to meet this wonderfully growing demand to spread our message of faithful renewal! If you have expertise or simply wonderful enthusiasm for our cause that you would like to share as a speaker or by attending an event to staff an information table on IPC’s behalf please contact Bonnie Sorak at email@example.com . We can share slide presentations with you and will arrange to get you all the supplies you will need and train you about all the programs we have available. Here are some specific requests that have already come in:
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