Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, October 28. Amritsar will formally join the Green Pilgrim Cities Network, the first global network aimed at greening pilgrimage to be launched in Assisi, Italy, from October 31 to November 2. The event is organised by the Alliance of Religions and Conservation (ARC) in association with WWF and it will be chaired by Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, Queen Elizabeth’s husband.
The network will help the faiths make their holy cities and sacred sites as environmentally sustainable as possible according to their own theologies and understanding.
Ten faith traditions have nominated pilgrim cities or sacred sites to become founding members of the Green Pilgrimage Network, ranging as far as Louguan in the People’s Republic of China for Daoists to St Albans in the UK for Anglicans and Amritsar for the Sikhs. The city authorities of Jerusalem, a major pilgrimage destination for three faiths, Judaism, Christianity and Islam, will join the network to green the city for all pilgrims. In addition, Dwarka is also joining from India.
Washington-based EcoSikh has coordinated the Sikh participation in the upcoming summit and has worked with the SGPC and the Punjab government to make a commitment to make Amritsar an environment-friendly city.
The initiative was started when Bandana Kaur from EcoSikh and Victoria Finlay from ARC, the two organisations working with the Sikh community on environmental issues, met city officials in Amritsar to discuss the plans. With the strong relationship between Sikh teachings and the environment, SGPC president Avtar Singh Makkar and Punjab Pollution Control Board chairman Kahn Singh Pannu readily agreed that Amritsar would be a great addition to the Green Pilgrim Cities Network.
At Assisi, Pannu along with Dalmegh Singh, secretary, SGPC, will announce the Sikh commitment. Pannu said, “This is major step to bring together faith and environment in a concrete manner. I am very excited to be part of this initiative”.
Dalmegh Singh said, “The SGPC has taken major steps to make environment as an important agenda in its operation and is committed to make the city of Guru Ram Dass a place of inspiration for nature preservation”.
Dr Rajwant Singh, president, EcoSikh, said, “This is a great opportunity for Sikhs to show to the world that we are committed to save earth and this will start with our concerted action in Amritsar. The idea is to improve environmental practices through eco-friendly planning, and at the heart is the hope that devotees will be encouraged to be respectful to the nature throughout their pilgrimage by minimising waste”.
The aim: The network will help people of various religions make their holy cities and sacred sites as environmentally sustainable as possible according to their own theologies and understanding.
The initiative: Washington-based EcoSikh has coordinated the Sikh participation in the upcoming summit and has worked with the SGPC and the Punjab Government to make a commitment to make Amritsar an environment-friendly city