EcoSikh establishes 58 ‘sacred forests’ to mark Guru Nanak’s 550th birth anniversaryhttps://indianexpress.com/article/cities/chandigarh/ecosikh-establishes-58-sacred-forests-to-mark-guru-nanaks-550th-birth-anniversary-6085026/

EcoSikh establishes 58 ‘sacred forests’ to mark Guru Nanak’s 550th birth anniversary

This initiative is being implemented under the ‘Guru Nanak Sacred Forest Project’ which was announced by EcoSikh in March this year. Last year, under the ‘Guru Nanak 550 Campaign’, EcoSikh had given itself the goal to plant 1 million trees all over the world.

EcoSikh establishes 58 ‘sacred forests’ to  mark Guru Nanak’s 550th birth anniversary
Dr Rajwant Singh, global president of EcoSikh with other members reveals 200 day achievement, in Chandigarh on Wednesday. (Express photo by Jasbir Malhi)

International environmental organisation EcoSikh has planted 58 “sacred forests” with 550 trees each with 98% of them surviving to mark the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak.

This initiative is being implemented under the ‘Guru Nanak Sacred Forest Project’ which was announced by EcoSikh in March this year. Last year, under the ‘Guru Nanak 550 Campaign’, EcoSikh had given itself the goal to plant 1 million trees all over the world.

Dr. Rajwant Singh, global president of EcoSikh, said, “EcoSikh had initiated the idea of planting 550 trees at 1820 locations in the name of Guru Nanak to reach the goal of 1 million and we are thrilled with the response of the community from all across the world. Communities in India, Canada, Pakistan, Australia, USA, Myanmar, and the UK have already planted 550 trees in their respective countries as part of the celebrations. EcoSikh Canada is planting 10,000 trees by this November. “

“Sikhs have set a new tradition of celebrating gurpurab meaningfully by caring for the ecology by following the environmental teachings of Guru Nanak who had said ‘Air is a teacher, water the father and earth is the mother’. This act will leave positive footprints for generations to come,” he added.

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“The growth in these forests is phenomenal. We are confident that if we plant forests in every available piece of land in rural or urban areas, we can reverse the degradation of environment in Punjab and India,” Dr. Rajwant Singh said.

EcoSikh Sacred Forest Convener, Charan Singh from Mumbai claimed, “EcoSikh, with the support of Shubhendu Sharma of Afforestt, have trained forest creators to plant over 30,000 surviving trees in 58 Guru Nanak Sacred Forests spread across Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh, Rajasthan, Gujarat, J&K, Maharashtra and also in Kasur, Pakistan. Many more volunteers are being empowered to create these “sacred forests” to fulfill our mission of 1 million surviving trees and to establish their belief system that, Every EcoSikh can create a Guru Nanak Sacred Forest. EcoSikh has firmly embarked on the journey to bring in Punjab’s ever green revolution.”

Supreet Kaur, EcoSikh president, India shared, “A journey that started here seven months back has turned into a revolution in Punjab. The GNSF in Chanarthal has grown so dense in 4 months that one cannot even enter for de-weeding.”

EcoSikh Project Manager, (South Asia) Ravneet Singh said, “Our sacred forests grow 10 times faster and they are 30 times denser than the normal plantation, hence they produce 30 times more oxygen. So far we have planted 51 native species in Punjab including some rare species like karir, peelhu, roheda, jhand, malhe beri, lasoora, falsa.”

In addition, for the very first time, EcoSikh has created a unique garden of the trees mentioned in the Sikh scriptures and it is called Guru Nanak Bagh. This garden is located at Patto Hira Singh, Moga and it will showcase various species of trees and shrubs with the Gurbani quotes.

EcoSikh was formed in 2009 in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

EcoSikh, in collaboration with Afforest, has trained a team of 17 forest makers in Punjab and Jammu Kashmir in the recent months who execute the plantation by specific Miyawaki methodology of planting forests of 550 trees in 200 square yards.