Chandigarh : EcoSikh announced the completion of 303 forests consisting of 1,67,000 flourishing trees, which have been planted across India. The plantation of the Guru Nanak Sacred Forests started in collaboration with Afforestt two years ago as part of EcoSikh’s goal of planting 1 million trees in honour of Guru Nanak’s 550th birth-anniversary according to EcoSikh officials.Dr. Rajwant Singh, Global President of EcoSikh, said, “We are very pleased that 167,000 trees have been planted in these sacred forests so far and 99% of them have survived and are thriving. This way of paying tribute to Guru Nanak will have a long lasting positive impact for future generations. These sacred forests are conserving and restoring the biodiversity of Punjab and other parts of India. This is a collective and a solid step to fight climate change.”He added, “EcoSikh has also established its first nursery of indigenous trees of Punjab and we are grateful to Sajjan Precision Castings in Sahnewal for hosting this initiative. This has helped our forest plantations tremendously.”Sharing the insights of the progress, EcoSikh President, Supreet Kaur stated, “Guru Nanak Sacred Forest project has awakened Punjab towards protecting its biodiversity. Over 55 native and rare forest trees species of Punjab have been conserved under this project.” The Sacred Forest project contributed a lot in generating income in the rural sector, especially amongst women. For every 550 trees we plant, it supports 20-25 rural women. Director Afforestt, and Ted Fellow, Shubhendu Sharma mentioned, “Humans are spiritual beings, we can only move on higher planes of spirituality by being a part of nature. The sacred soil of Punjab has been contaminated and poisoned by the overuse of chemical fertilizers and pesticides in the last few decades. This project provides the people of Punjab a way to bring back the lost nature of Punjab that would have nurtured love and peace in the heart and souls of the spiritual masters from this sacred land.”The panellists also launched a video teaser, ‘How to create a Sacred Forest in Punjab’ a free online tutorial, which will uplift the vision of the youth of the state.
Expressing his immense joy, Convenor, Sacred Forests, Charan Singh stated, “EcoSikh’s Sacred Forest project has caught the imagination of our Punjabi youth. Today many of them feel empowered and believe that they can create many forests. This new green revolution in Punjab with green weddings, anniversaries, birthdays will multiply the 303 Sacred Forests in the coming year.”Host of Punjab’s biggest Sacred Forest, Sandeep Mehta from Angels Valley School, Rajpura mentioned, “God has gifted me a forest of 11,000 trees of our 53 native indigenous species, on this 1.25-acre piece of land. I always envisioned that my school children could experience all the trees, birds and pollinators of Punjab. This will ensure high quality air for the youngsters and boost their health.” Sandeep Mehta also shared his plans for creating similar forests in all his factories, poultry farms and other commercial projects. Details of initiatives like bamboo farming on fly ash dumping ground and creating forests on banks of the polluted Budda Nallah were also shared.Ludhiana based industrialist Gurvinder Pal Singh, who hosts EcoSikh’s nursery, stated, “I am honored to be associated with such noble cause. We are able to arrange 40 kinds of saplings, tools, soil nutrients, bamboo sticks with a single call. This has created an efficient delivery.” He also shared his vision to upgrade the capacity of the nursery to 50,000 seedlings.EcoSikh South Asia Project Manager, Ravneet Singh notified the press, “Our journey started with a 550-tree project and today we are planting 11,000 in a single forest. We urge Punjabis to plant these forests in their schools, colleges homes or Gurdwaras. This is for our own benefit.He further added, “Hon’ble Supreme Court committee recorded that a tree is worth Rs 74,500 a year. Out of this, the cost of oxygen alone is Rs 45,000, followed by the cost of bio-fertilizers, which are worth Rs 20,000 besides adding costs of micronutrients and compost. This puts the annual value of Rs 1,67,000 trees in GNSF at RS. 1,25,000 crores.”EcoSikh is celebrating the 11th annual Sikh environment day on March 14. This was started by the organization to mark the Gurta-gaddi Diwas(enthronement day) of the 7th Sikh Guru, Guru Har Rai.
About EcoSikh (www.ecosikh.org)
EcoSikh is a response from the Sikh community to the threats of climate change and the deterioration of the natural environment. Our organization arose as part of the Long Term Plans for Generational Change programme initiated in 2009 by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Alliance of Religions and Conservation, UK (ARC) to help the world’s major religious traditions create long-term plan to improve their relationship with the environment and to guide their investment towards environmental protection.