Sunday, April 29, 2007

APJ Abdul Kalam Points Out How Sikh Sewa Can Save the Environment

If you want an example of what I think works, its in this article. Sewa, for the environment will do way more good for the local environment if people are really concerned about where they live than all the talk around Kyoto. Paying for carbon credits is just a rich man's way of paying a poor man to not pollute. Carbon offsets are like asking someone to go hungry so someone else can 'pig out'...
Kalam hails Sikh priest’s work
Published: Saturday, 28 April, 2007, 10:43 AM Doha Time
ATHENS: In distant Greece, President A P J Abdul Kalam praised the work of a Sikh priest in Punjab who had cleaned up a “polluted and choked” local river to illustrate how the art of “giving” by individuals and nations could promote happiness around the world.
Kalam, who was speaking to the Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy, a leading think-tank, has been interspersing all his lectures here, as well as earlier ones at Strasbourg, with messages from Indian saints and philosophers.
On the “great societal mission of giving”, Kalam spoke about the “marvellous development” taking place in Sultanpur Lodhi in Punjab.
The president said when he went there last year, he was delighted to see the rejuvenated Kali Bein, where Sikhism’s founder Guru Nanak had received enlightenment and which over the years had become a weed-choked drain. It is now clean due to the efforts of Baba Balbir Singh Seechewal, a priest in a local gurdwara.
“Babaji had organised people’s participation in stopping the massive flow of sewage into the Kala Bein and cleaned the 160km-long polluted and choked rivulet within the last five years by deploying, on an average, 3,000 kar sewaks (volunteer pilgrims) per day.
“Today, one can feel the flow of fresh water in this rivulet released from the Tarkina Barrage by the government,” Kalam recounted to his highbrow audience here on Thursday evening.
He said the revival of the rivulet had recharged the water table as hand pumps that had become dry for the past four decades were now pumping out water. And speedboats had begun running on the river, and the 3km stretch had become a beautiful site with bathing ghats, trees and orchards on its banks and well laid out roads running parallel to the
“I also saw the great happiness of giving on the faces of volunteers who had physically participated in this task. This is a great example of giving and the happiness arising out of giving,” the president said, saying the parable also applied to nations who had the responsibility of promoting peace and prosperity by
The subject of the president’s address at the think-tank was the “Dynamics of Peace and Prosperity”. Although the subject was meant to be for strategic thinkers, the president, as usual, spoke in his deep philosophical vein, comparing the “knowledge centres” of the civilisations of Greece and India with wisdom from Indian thinkers and gurus.

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