for ISKCON News on Feb. 21, 2013
In a Srimad Bhagavatam purport (1.11.12), Srila Prabhupada wrote, “….human energy should be properly utilized in developing the finer senses for spiritual understanding, in which lies the solution of life. Fruits, flowers, beautiful gardens, parks and reservoirs of water with ducks and swans playing in the midst of lotus flowers, and cows giving sufficient milk and butter are essential for developing the finer tissues of the human body”.
With this and other such quotes of Prabhupada in mind, hundreds of children from the local communities and schools were invited to the Sri Sri Radha Radhanath Temple of Understanding in Durban, South Africa to participate in a Kids Eco Awareness Morning.
The event started with a visit to the temple room. The children took darshan of the exquisitely beautiful Sri Sri Radha Radhanatha Deities, Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu and Srila Prabhupada. They relished the beautiful forms of the Deities and danced to a melodious kirtan led by His Grace Akhanda Kirtan Das of Umlazi, a suburb of Durban.
Everyone then walked down to the amphitheatre area and the first presentation was delivered by Yashna Maharaj, an Environmental Consultant on Renewable Energy. She spoke to the children about how to save energy in the home and demonstrated these principles with models such as a wind turbine and solar panel.
By this time, the special guest of honor for the morning, Urmila Devi Dasi had arrived. She is a disciple of Srila Prabhupada and a very senior and well known leader in ISKCON worldwide. She interacted wonderfully with the children, emphasizing that everything in nature belongs to Krishna and must be used with care and reverence.
The children were then addressed by Bret Thompson of the “Meat Free Monday”program. He enthused the kids with interesting facts about vegetarianism and its positive impact on the environment. He highlighted the success of the program which was promoted in schools and corporates. Bret presented the children with bright green silicon wrist bands branded with pro-vegetarian slogans as well as other gifts. The kids excitedly scrambled around for the gifts.
The final speaker was Troy Govender, the Environmental Advisor for Eskom in South Africa. He asked all the children and parents to rise from their seats and engaged them in many fun and game activities that had various themes relating to the environment and nature conservation. The kids were rewarded with various gifts sponsored by Eskom.
Everyone then made their way to the garden for the tree planting session. The children were divided into teams and each team had an opportunity to plant a tree. Troy explained that the trees were indigenous to the KwaZulu-Natal region and that there is currently a campaign to re-introduce indigenous vegetation into this region. Everyone was then treated to a scrumptious lunch, but beforehand they had to walk along the public road and around the Temple precinct as part of the health and wellness component of the morning.
For further information or to participate in such activities in the Durban area, you can e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org