Sikhs to usher in new year with Sikh Environment Day

Groups and organizations within the Christian, Jewish, and Islamic faith communities have made “creation care” a focus of their belief systems, and even worked to associate major holidays and celebrations with environmental action. Member of the Sikh faith, the world’s fifth-largest organized religion, will celebrate their faith’s connection to the natural environment on March 14th (the Sikh new year) with the inaugural Sikh Environment Day.

An initiative of the Sikh Council on Religion and Education (SCORE), the celebration is designed to “provide an opportunity to reflect upon our relationship with nature and mark a day on which we commit to environmental activism as followers of [early Sikh leader] Guru Har Rai Ji,” according to SCORE’s chair, Dr. Rajwant Singh. SCORE invites Sikhs worldwide to participate in activities at home and through their gurdwaras (places of worship), including tree and garden-planting, visiting parks and nature reserves for reflection and meditation, and singing of shabads (hymns) with environmental themes.

Sikhs aren’t just setting aside one day for environmental action, though: in 2009, SCORE, along with the United Nations, developed a five-year “EcoSikh” plan designed to educate followers of the religion on the connection between their faith and environmentalism, and highlight contributions the faith community already makes to the planet. Sikh Environment Day is just one part of this larger effort… the entire plan is available at the Alliance of Religions and Conservation website.

Would love to hear from members of the Sikh community on whether they know of this effort, and whether they plan to participate… as well as more information on the Sikh religion’s environmental roots.



Image credit: akuppa at Flickr under a Creative Commons license

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