April 22—Aligned with the world celebration of Earth Day 2022, ISKCON is launching a global environmental initiative to assist local temples, communities, and families in better ‘walking our talk” by living more environmentally conscious and sustainable lifestyles.
“Many devotees think that because we’re strict vegetarians, we’ve done all we need to do for the environment,” said Shyamananda Krishna das (Dr. Sreenivasulu Chadalavada), an environmental scientist and Co-Director of the ISKCON Environmental Initiative (IEI). “There are many practical steps we need to adopt to practice what we preach about simple living and high thinking, ranging from banning single-use plastics, practicing recycling and conservation, energy conservation, wastewater management, and more,” he advises.
The IEI provides an array of resources for communities, including the “Three Tiers’ set of benchmarks for becoming a ‘green temple’; an online community self-assessment tool; a statement on The Ecotheology of Our Tradition, written by IEI team member Krishna Kishore das (Dr. Chris Fici); references from Srila Prabhupada and sastra about the importance of caring for the Earth;, simple protocols to implement and practice environmental sustainability; service descriptions for local IEI coordinators, and more.
“Our global team is providing resources, but we know that success will depend upon local devotees in every community,” said Kamala Priya devi dasi, the IEI Coordinator for Europe. “We are especially calling on the youth in our Krishna communities to step up and take leadership in local areas to protect the planet, and to guide our communities to be more sustainable.”
ISKCON Leadership around the world has voiced strong support of IEI. The Governing Body Commission (GBC) resolved in 2021, as the project was in development, that “The GBC strongly encourages all ISKCON temples, communities, and projects, and wherever possible individual devotees, to apply the principles and guidelines [provided by IEI] in their daily lives and practices.” The North American Council, the European Regional Governing Body, and the Australian National Council have also formalized their support.
In preparation for this week’s launch, Regional Coordinators have been selected to date for four regions: North America (Prashant Rajurkar), Europe (Kamala Priya dasi), and South Africa (Mukundanghri das), and Australasia (Shyamananda Krishna das). Other team members include GBC Member and IEI Co-Director Anuttama dasa, Ras Vilas das (Dr. Ramesh Goel) Professor of the Environmental Sciences University of Utah, Project Manager Premaprasad Radha Madhava Dasa, Visual Designer Govinda Sundar das, and Advisor Gopal Lila das (Director of Bhumi Global).
“Climate change has awakened the world to the need for serious lifestyle changes in terms of our energy use, waste management, food security, protection of biodiversity, and more,” says Ras Vilas. “ISKCON communities have themselves felt the impact of floods in Africa, fires in California, droughts (and floods) in Australia, extreme heat in India, hurricanes in Florida, etc.”
“We know that our philosophy calls for living a simpler more natural way of life, as Prabhupada stated in ISKCON’s Seven Purposes,” said Anuttama Dasa. “In addition to sharing millions of vegetarian meals and cookbooks, maintaining many exemplary eco-farm communities, and protecting cows, it’s time for ISKCON to become a leader in organizing our communities to respond to the environmental needs of our time and our planet.”
To find out more and to volunteer to help your community be more green, please visit iskconenvironment.org
Dec 03, 2023
Dec 02, 2023
Kulavati Krishnapriya Devi Dasi, ISKCON News Staff Writer
Dec 01, 2023
Atma Tattva Das, ISKCON News Staff Writer
Nov 30, 2023
Sri Krishna Chaitanya Swami
Nov 29, 2023
Radhapriya, ISKCON Toronto Communications Director