Hindu Environment Week, a new global initiative to encourage Hindus to celebrate and care for the environment, was launched on Tuesday in the ancient Hindu holy town of Varanasi, India.
Taking place from February 17th - 23rd, Hindu Environment Week will see events across the world. The Week is being organised by the Bhumi Project, an initiative of the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies (OCHS). The Bhumi Project hopes it will be a time for Hindus to celebrate the natural world, whilst also an opportunity to reflect and commit themselves to increasing their responsibility towards the environment.
Gopal Patel, who heads the Bhumi Project and was present at the launch, commented, "By having an annual week of events dedicated to the environment, we hope that Hindus the world-over will feel inspired to make practical changes in their lives that have a positive effect on the environment."
The Bhumi Project works in partnership with the Alliance of Religions and Conservation and is a member of the Green Pilgrimage Network (GPN). In November 2012 it launched a Hindu chapter of the GPN in India. During Hindu Environment Week, the Bhumi Project aims to raise awareness about the environmental challenges many of India's holy towns, cities and sites face.
"In the last two decades pilgrim sites in India have seen significant increases in numbers of pilgrims which has lead to many environmental problems. If we are to preserve them for future generations, then we need to seriously consider the environmental impact of each yatra, or pilgrimage, we undertake." commented Shaunaka Rishi Das, Director of the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies.
The official launch of Hindu Environment Week took place in the offices of the Mayor of Varanasi, Mr. Ram Gopal Mohale. As a member city of the GPN, Mr. Mohale was keen to lend his support to the initiative, "We are honoured that the Bhumi Project chose Varanasi as the city to launch their new initiative, Hindu Environment Week. As a member of the Green Pilgrimage Network, we are keen to make Varanasi a green city and are looking forward to working with Bhumi to address the environmental concerns facing our city."[ bhumi-project ] [ environment ] [ oxford ] [ oxford-center-for-hindu-studies ]