World Environment Day
People from Rishikesh and Around the World Come Together for a Cleaner, Greener Tomorrow
On World Environmental Day, under Pujya Swamiji’s leadership, Ganga Action Parivar volunteers came together with the local children and adults from the Kali Ki Dhal Village in Rishikesh to help clean up the local Rambha River.
The day was a huge success, with over 50 community members joining together to volunteer both their time and green thumbs for the day. Everyone was full of enthusiasm and dedication to their “green pledge,” and as a result a total of 14 loads of garbage was removed from the Rambha River. After the clean-up, the students along with the volunteers met together at the local school to talk about current environmental problems affecting India, especially Mother Ganga and the polluted state of her waters.
The children and volunteers were able to talk and chat about the day, stories and laughs were shared and many photos were taken. The result was remarkable and the children were able to see the importance of keeping their local village clean and the positive impact this has on their environment, their health and their families. They were empowered and excited by the difference a few hours of their time and energy could have on their surroundings.
While volunteers were busy out in the field, meetings were continuously on in Pujya Swamiji’s jyopadi (hut) for a variety of environmental initiatives, including eco-crematoriums on the banks of Mother Ganga, especially in Varanasi, plans for improving the Char Dham Yatra and making the pilgrimage a clean, green and serene one. Other topics ranged from plans to provide rehabilitation and livelihoods to the people in the Kedar Valley as well as creating films and infomercials to raise people’s awareness on a wide variety of pressing environmental concerns. As Pujya Swamiji says, “We must provide information AND inspiration. The information is crucial for people to know the problems, but they must also be guided and inspired on how they can make a difference.”
During Ganga Aarti, Pujya Swamiji and Sadhviji gave inspiring messages of Environmental Day, urging us all to: “Treat every day as World Environment Day.” Also they emphasized the parallel between our external environment and internal environment. Sadhviji explained that “When our internal environment is clean, green and serene, then that is what we spread and share in the world. So we must not only pledge to clean the environment around us, but we must also commit to going within and cleaning the internal garbage of ego, anger, jealousy, and grudges.”
Pujya Swamiji concluded the beautiful program with His blessings to all and told the thousands gathered that “Your efforts, your time, your talent, your tenacity, your experience, energy and expertise in every area are greatly appreciated and go towards a cleaner, greener earth which benefits all of us.”