EcoSikh – the unique Sikh response to the climate emergency – arose out of the 2009 Windsor Celebration, the event at Windsor Castle hosted by the Duke of Edinburgh at which religious leaders from most of the world's major faiths made joint commitments on the environment.
EcoSikh connects Sikh values, beliefs and institutions to the most important environmental issues facing the world. Its inspiration comes from the words of the Sikh founder, Guru Nanak Dev Ji, which it says lays the foundation for a sacred vision for the environment: 'Air is the Guru, Water the Father and the Earth is the Great Mother'.
‘Air is the Guru, Water the Father and the Earth is the Great Mother' – Guru Nanak Dev Ji
EcoSikh began by establishing Sikh Environment Day, first held in 2010 on March 14 – a sacred day for Sikhs which also marks the start of the Sikh New Year. In that first year, more than 200 gurdwaras celebrated Sikh Environment Day in more than 50 cities around the world. Over a decade later, thousands of gurdwaras, schools and other institutions take part and EcoSikh has launched a range of other initiatives including:
Guru Nanak Sacred Forest – a project to plant 300+ micro forests all over the world in honour of the Sikh founder, Guru Nanak Dev Ji.
Guru Nanak Bagh – the world's first gurbani-based garden that exhibits the entire range of trees and plants referred to in Sikhism's most sacred text, the Sri Guru Granth Sahib. ('Gurbani' is a Sikh term meaning writings or compositions by Sikh gurus.)
Awareness programmes – around reducing, reusing and recycling, and on preserving nature, saving water and using green energy
Organic culture – promoting nature-friendly approaches to agriculture.
EcoSikh environmental demonstration Picture: EcoSikh