Bhumi Project: Respect, compassion and service for our environment
By Chirag Patel
Current Affairs Officer
Before the Copenhagen Summit in 2009 which highlighted the issue of Global Warming, National Hindu Students Forum (UK) (NHSF) was part of a number of Hindu organisations chosen to help improve the impact humans have on the earth.
The Bhumi Project, as it is named, is being facilitated by the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies and involves a number of other Hindu organisations such as International Society for Krishna Consciousness, Bochasanwasi Shri Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha and the Balaji Temple, Birmingham. The project is an initiative being backed by the Alliance of Religions and Conservation and the United Nations Development Programme, who have asked 11 of the worlds major religions to look into how they can play a part in improving the quality of the worlds environment.
The Bhumi Project has developed a nine year plan which will be forwarded to a number of Hindu organisations and temples, to help them educate and develop a more environmental approach to their lifestyles. If the plan proves successful within the UK, it will be exported to other parts of the world where it can begin to make an impact on a larger scale.
The Bhumi Project was launched in the presence of Prince Philip and Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations, at Windsor Castle in November 2009. The NHSF was fortunate enough to attend the launch where there were over 200 faith representatives from around the world presenting their seven, eight and nine year plans.
The plan is made up of various projects which fall under the categories of education, action and networking. These categories help to bring focus and direction to the projects for development and implementation. The list below provides an indication of some of the larger projects the Hindu community will be engaged in.
- Hindu Labelling Scheme – the development of a set of Hindu standards which can apply to a range of products and services
- Promotion of a non-violent (ahimsa) lifestyle to reduce ones impact on the Earth Encouragement and resources for Hindu temples to develop gardens on their land and to grow their own produce for use in daily worship
- Development of cruelty-free dairies based on Hindu principles
- Networking with current major international conservation projects – for instance, the cleaning and restoration of the River Ganges in India
- Development of a range of training courses for Hindu priests and devotees on best environmental practice
- Research and share stories from the Hindu tradition which relate to the environment
A full document outlining the 9 year plan can be found on the Bhumi Project website, www.bhumiproject.org.
We would also like to highlight that Hindus have a Dharmic to Mother Nature and Mother Earth.