A Faith Plans partner has planted more than 200,000 trees ahead of COP26, helping to demonstrate that real and genuine action is needed in the battle against climate change.
EcoSikh is a worldwide organisation serving as a response from the Sikh community to the threats of climate change and the deterioration of the natural environment. In the time leading up to this week's COP26 climate summit in Glasgow, EcoSikh managed to plant some 365 sacred forests in India and around the world. And as delegates were arriving in Glasgow on Sunday, EcoSikh was completing its 366th such forest – comprising 950 trees – in the heart of India's capital city, New Delhi.
EcoSikh’s global president, Dr. Rajwant Singh, says that the Sacred Forest initiative was born of an intense need to take action in the face of severe ecological issues – in particular the need to limit global warming to no more than 1.5ºC.
'We had two options: either to sit back or to take action,' he said. 'And we are proud as a team that we chose the latter. As of now, EcoSikh has planted over 195,250 trees in India and 20,000 trees worldwide.'
The forests, named after Sikhism founder Guru Nanak, can attract a broad range of biodiversity within just months of planting, and help restore the local ecological balance.
'The strategy to fight climate change should not only be focused on emissions reduction,' explained Charan Singh, EcoSikh's forest convener. 'We need to remove carbon from the atmosphere. These sacred forests are carbon sinks and will help us [meet climate targets] by reducing the temperature in that area.'
'Everyone can plant a forest in their backyard, school, college or at their own religious place," he continued. 'This is a collective and a solid step to fight climate change.'
EcoSikh's work is far from done; the organisation has pledged to ultimately plant 1 million trees worldwide. Dr. Rajwant Singh will be speaking on the work of EcoSikh at a number of events during COP26, including the Faith Plans for People and Planet discussion on Sunday 7 November.
Watch this inspiring two-minute video about EcoSikh's Guru Nanak Sacred Forest Project.
To learn more about EcoSikh and its work, visit EcoSikh.org