United Nations Recognizes ISKCON’s initiative to Restore the Ecosystem Through Value Education
The United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) recognized ISKCON as a ‘Faith For Earth Councillor’, in an international ceremony telecast live on 3rd June 2021, for ISKCON’s various initiatives towards creating an awareness of environmental concerns and modelling creative solutions for resource sustainability.
The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) is the leading global environmental authority that sets the global environmental agenda, promotes the coherent implementation of the environmental dimension of sustainable development within the United Nations system, and serves as an authoritative advocate for the global environment.
Since spiritual values have been a major driving force for individual behavior for 80% of people on planet earth, UNEP has collaborated with various faith based organizations to promote sustainable development goals concerning all humanity at present.
Govardhan Ecovillage (GEV) and ISKCON Punjabi Bagh came together to explore focussed work towards environmental causes and created a proposal for UNEP -faith for Earth initiative.
Govardhan Ecovillage (GEV) is a UNWTO Ecotourism award winning model farm community established to showcase how to live in harmony and respect with people, nature and the divine proven as a Symbiotic Sustainable Development Model. GEV has been conferred with 36 international recognitions which includes many prestigious awards as International Green Apple Award, IAA Olive Crown Award, Asian Sustainability Leadership Award, SKOCH Renaissance, GRIHA Exemplary Performance Award and also Limca Record for converting 4 acres of Wasteland into cultivable land.
ISKCON Punjabi Bagh has developed a Program for its upcoming Value Education Oolympiad that aims to integrate values among school students to create awareness about the current environmental issues. ISKCON has been conducting the Value Education Olympiad for the last 10 years in its various centres across India. More than 75 schools and over 7 lakh students have benefitted from this initiative so far. across India.
“The olympiad has been a well appreciated program since the last few years as it has attractive prizes for students like laptops, kindle, bicycle, etc. It is also an exam which helps a child to diversify his portfolio in Ethical studies while applying for foreign university. Last year this program was acknowledged by Oxford Hindu Studies and a certificate of participation was signed by a professor from there. This has led to intrinsic motivation in students to sit for this exam and the response has been overwhelming for us” , says Karuna Chandra Das- Director of this program from ISKCON Punjabi Bagh.
Dr Suruchi Mittar, one of the founding members of this program says, “What are the values that will foster environmental concerns? How can a school model those values among its students through means that are interesting, practical and effective? These have been the focus of our program. We collaborated with academic scholars, environment researchers, principals and teachers to design this program.”
His Grace Gauranga Das, chairman of GEV, who was named as Faith for Earth councilor on behalf of ISKCON spoke during the felicitation ceremony “When temples and communities display deep love and care for the environment then pilgrims and other visitors also share their ethos. As these sacred towns and temples become environment friendly the ripple effect of their example across India and the world could be substantial.”
With primary, secondary as well as senior secondary institutions shut across the world due to COVID-19 Pandemic , the olympiad has gone online with associated online classes and activities. The scope of reach has increased considerably in times that seemed to pose a formidable challenge.
This year marks the 125th anniversary of ISKCON’s founder acharya Srila A.C Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada and this recognition is being considered as one of the offerings to him by the team. In the words of Srikarta Das, one of the team members “ Srila Prabhupada showed through his life, words and teachings – what it means to love Krishna and environment by establishing farms, caring for cows, promoting vegetarianism and uplifting consciousness from exploitation to service.”
The Value Education olympiad will be launched in July -2021 across India for various schools. The announcement will be on www.iskconpunjabibagh.com