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Sikhs Aim to Plant Million Trees as ‘Gift to the Planet’

WASHINGTON – Sikhs around the world are taking part in a scheme to plant a million new trees as a “gift to the entire planet”, Daily Guardian reported Friday.
The project aims to reverse environmental decline and help people reconnect with nature as part of celebrations marking 550 years since the birth of the founder of Sikhism, Guru Nanak.
Rajwant Singh, the president of the Washington DC-based environmental organization EcoSikh, which is coordinating the Million Tree Project, said he wanted to mark the anniversary in a significant way.
“Guru Nanak was a nature lover. [He] had talked about nature as a manifestation of God and many of his writings talk about how we need to learn lessons of life from nature.”
One of Guru Nanak’s hymns, which many Sikhs recite as a daily prayer, includes the lyrical line: “Air is the teacher, water is the father, earth is the mother.”
Singh said he hoped the project would motivate Sikhs – especially the young – to improve their relationship with nature and would be seen more broadly as “a gift to the entire planet”.
The Sikh diaspora has taken on the challenge and tens of thousands of trees have already been planted. These are mostly in India – the majority of the world’s Sikh population lives in the state of Punjab, which is planning to plant 550 saplings in every village – but also in the UK, US, Australia and Kenya.
A Sikh Union Coventry has started planting native trees, shrubs and flowers such as hazel and hawthorn at Longford Park, and is exploring locations in schools, parks and recreation areas.
Palvinder Singh Chana, the chair of Sikh Union Coventry, said: “As Sikhs, our connection to the environment is an integral part of our faith and identity. Future generations will benefit from the fruits of our labor, symbolizing peace, friendships and continuity for generations to come.”
EcoSikh is also working with Afforest, an organization that trains people to design and build small native forests that grow quickly and are a sustainable part of the ecosystem.
Singh said more than 1,800 of these forests were planned across the world, and that the million-tree target would be achieved by the time of Guru Nanak’s birthday in November.
(Sahar News Monitoring Desk)

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