Washington: Ahead of the Sep 23 UN Climate Summit in New York, Washington-based environmental organisation, EcoSikh has asked Sikhs to strengthen their connection to the Sikh faith through environmentalism and expand their political voice.
"We want to inspire the Sikh community to take concrete action against climate change,” EcoSikh North America programme manager, Sumeet Kaur said in a statement aimed at connecting environmental preservation with the teachings of the Sikh gurus.
“Sikhs have a long history of standing up for the vulnerable, and as the world faces serious environmental security challenges, Sikhs must be poised to act," she said.
"The Sikh Gurus referred to the earth as a 'Dharamsaal', a place where union with the divine is attained,” said EcoSikh ambassador, Bandana Kaur.
"Due to unchecked demand on resources, coupled with climate change, we are seeing some of the greatest damage to soil, land, water systems and biodiversity in human history," she said.
The EcoSikh statement urged Sikhs to take action to reverse the deleterious effects climate change has had on the earth.
"The first Sikh statement on climate change will be the catalyst for Sikhs to take real actions against climate change," said EcoSikh president, Rajwant Singh.
"As we see our homelands deteriorate in front of us, we must realise what is happening to our earth and do something."
“As Sikhs, we appeal to lawmakers, faith leaders, and citizens of the world to take concrete action toward reducing carbon emissions and protecting the environment,” the statement said.
“And as Sikhs we pledge to take concrete actions ourselves. We have a responsibility to follow our Gurus' teachings and protect the vulnerable,” it added.
Launched in 2009 as the Sikh response to a call by the United Nations to World Religions to save earth's environment, EcoSikh has also led several efforts this year to engage Sikhs in environmental advocacy.
Since March 2011, EcoSikh has been hosting Sikh Environmental Day, which is now celebrated by more than 2,000 Sikh institutions around the world.