As is seen globally, even holy places are littered with plastic bottles, polybags, wrappers, etc. Cows, one of our seven mothers, get choked up and die due to the same plastic waste.
ISKCON and the Govardhan Ecovillage (GEV) have been combatting the plastic pandemic by supporting United Nations Environment Program’s Plastic Tide Turners Challenge (PTTC) program. They were also recognized as a support organization in 2021.
“We should honor Mother Earth with gratitude otherwise our spirituality may become hypocritical,” said Radhanath Swami, the Founder of the Govardhan Ecovillage project.
The UN's "Tide Turners" Challenge
ISKCON India's strong network of purpose-driven youth is a great asset and will determine the future of ISKCON as instructed by Srila Prabhupad. GEV collaborated with the IIYC team, India supporting outreach to youth (15-30 years old) in India through registration and a PTTC course completion.
PTTC a global, free, youth movement program, systematically designed as a course to advance youth leaders through the Entry, Leader, and Champion Levels, which sensitizes them against hazards of single-use plastic, performing plastic audits at home, and advocating pollution reduction drives for their family, friends, and community.
The GEV team devised a collaborative strategic plan under the leadership of Gauranga Das, Director- GEV, and Raasbhakti Devi Dasi, Chief Sustainability Officer for reaching out to Youth in India. The team consisted of devotees and well-wishers from multiple disciplines as Strategy, Operations, Communications, Design, Youth preaching, etc. ISKCON’s thought leaders as Radheshyam Das, IYS, Pune, Venumadhava Das (Dr. Vivek Bindra, CEO, BadaBusiness.com), Yudhishthira Govinda Das, Director- Communications- ISKCON, India extended their wholehearted support for the program. This plan was implemented successfully with the tireless efforts of a core team of IIYC. The operations were jointly led by Ravindra Chaitanya Das, Communications Incharge, IIYC. Several IIYC leaders pan India were driving the implementation and the State of UP and Rajasthan are in leading positions with over 15K+ youth participant registrations.
“ISKCON is an international institution, which works to clean the consciousness of individuals. We cannot hope to clean the consciousness of individuals in a polluted environment. But if our consciousness is clean, then we will keep everything clean. I was aware of the impact of plastic pollution in our society, but I did not have the facts and figures provided by the United Nation Environment Program (UNEP) for “Tide Turners – Plastic Challenge”. I was shocked to face the reality and took an initiative to serve voluntarily in this mission organized by UNEP and supported by ISKCON" said Madhav Charan Das, from IIYC, UP.
Plastic pandemic is scarier than and is also one of the causes of the COVID-19 pandemic
Humanity faces one of the most challenging situations today- the COVID-19 pandemic. COVID Cases in India reached all-time highs in April-May 2021. Many of us have lost our loved ones to this ghastly pandemic feeling helpless at the hands of the situation. But spiritual perspective offers a paradigm shift when we look at the problem. Every problem brings us a lesson and doesn’t go away till we learn. Is the COVID pandemic a warning sent to us about disastrous consequences of abuse to Mother Nature? Plastic pollution is one of the worst.
Plastic brings convenience and comfort but at a huge cost. Plastic is termed as magic material as it can be flexibly molded and is inert. However, the same boon material has become a curse to Mother Nature because of the mishandling of plastic waste. Plastic pollution is considered one of the primary causes of biodiversity loss and is a lingering man-made disaster. With biodiversity loss, the dilution effect of Nature is hampered thus leading to the spread of pathogens as coronavirus and diseases jumping between species and entering human spaces.
Embarking new era of purpose-driven preaching
ISKCON is dealing with millennial youth. Millennials are more environmentally conscious and consider plastic action as their foremost responsibility as evident from the response to the program. It’s a win-win strategy furthering the purpose of plastic-environmental action and connecting these purpose-driven souls to Krishna with a UNEP’s TTC program. Post TTC, ISKCON represented by Gauranga Das is declared as UNEP’s Faith for Earth Councilors for 2021-2022. GEV has collaborated with the ISKCON Punjabi Bagh team led by Karuna Chandra Das and Dr. Suruchi Mittar for two-pronged actions with value education for climate change action programs targeting school children and inspiring ISKCON, India temples to get audited and certified as IGBC’s "Green Places of Worship".
Learn how to get involved in the challenge in India: https://ecovillage.org.in/wisdom/tide-turner-plastic-challenge.php
Learn more about the initiative worldwide: https://www.tide-turners.org/#[ challenge ] [ plastic ] [ pptc ] [ un ]