Founder Acharya His Divine Grace
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

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Can Religion Fight Climate Change?
By Urmi Chanda-Vaz   |  Mar 02, 2020

Seechewal, also known as Eco Baba, is known for spearheading the anti-pollution campaign to save the Kali Bein river in Punjab and was awarded the Padma Shri in 2017. Baba Sewa Singh of the Khadur Sahib gurdwara received the Padma Shri in 2010 for planting 346,000 trees along 382km of roads and 400 villages in Punjab. Singh began his mission in 1999 to commemorate the 500th birth anniversary of Guru Angad Dev.

Similarly, the Govardhan Ecovillage (a PoWR supporter) is a property of The International Society for Krishna Consciousness (Iskcon) that reflects an aspect of its green ideology. Country director (communications), Iskcon, and Kaiciid international fellow Yudhistir Govinda Das says: “We entered into a partnership with the Indian Green Building Council (IGBC) in November 2019 to conduct energy audits across our 270 centres in India to make them more energy- and resource-efficient so that our carbon footprint is as minimal as possible. Our governing body passed a resolution in early 2019 asking all the Iskcon temples and members to desist from single-use plastic. This has had a major impact. We also partnered with UN Environment Program (Unep) for the World Environment Day wherein 55 temples with 1,000 volunteers helped to plant trees.

“In terms of religious philosophy, our scriptures also advise us exhaustively on this subject and give us a simple solution to fight the real cause of climate change—our greed and propensity to exploit others (including nature). This is the root cause of the issue”.

While religious organizations like EcoSikh and Iskcon have taken action only recently, the intellectual discipline relating environmentalism to religion has been taking shape from the late 1980s. Cross-disciplinary fields like eco theology, spiritual ecology and religious environmentalism have been delving into the academic frameworks of environmentalism and religion, ethics and ecology to locate these ideas in each.

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