Food for Life Vrindavana, not content with simply making an effort this Earth Day (April 22) is running several full-time environmental projects to beautify Krishna’s birthplace.
First up is Project Varahadeva, launched in April 2003. As well as cleaning the 11 km long Vrindavana parikrama route on a daily basis, its thirteen full-time employees distribute free environmental literature to local residents, and attend to other sacred locations such as Davanala Kunda, Brahma Kunda, Keshi Ghat, and Raman Reti.
Project Varahadeva also distributes free dustbins and jute bags to local residents in an effort to create awareness and keep Vrindavan clean and green. The Uttar Pradesh Pollution Board were so impressed that they recently donated twenty new garbage bins and twenty young trees with protective cages to the project. They also funded an art competition at Food For Life’s Sandipani Muni School, which provides sponsored education for 650 of Vrindavana’s poorest children. As well as showcasing their artistic skills, the children got a chance to express their knowledge of environmental issues.
Sprouting straight out of Project Varahadeva is Trees for Life, which conserves and develops Vrindavana’s natural environment and heritage by planting varieties of fruit- and flower-bearing trees. Supported by the Vrindavan Municipal Corporation, Trees for Life planted over 2,100 trees at lakes, ponds and roadways in 2007. They also gave saplings to 687 family homes, ashrams and schoolyards, and have organized a fortnightly sanitation drive in residential areas in cooperation with the Vrindavan Municipal Corporation.
Finally there’s Project VISHWAS, or “Vrindavan Initiative for Sustainable and Holistic Waste Administration Systems.” The project was inaugurated on World Environment Day in 2006, to establish an effective solid waste management system for Vrindavan Dham.
VISHWAS has adopted areas surrounding Vrindavana’s Radha Raman Temple, the Gopinath Temple to Kesi Ghat, Ranga Nath Temple, Pathar Pura, and Gopinath Bazaar to Tanga Stand. This includes over 600 households, 50 ashrams and temples and 350 shops.
The project’s twelve full-time workers daily clean the roads, alleys and drains, and shift garbage to the dumping ground. There plastics are segregated and later used to weave baskets.
A contribution from Earth Restoration Service UK allowed Sandipani Muni School students to participate in VISHWAS’s environmental efforts as well as those of Project Varahadeva. Students made awareness posters for an exhibition on trees and their value to Life on Earth, learned many environmental facts, and planted trees and flowering shrubs around the newly constructed campus. They will continue to care for the saplings to make sure they survive.