London: Sikhs around the world are taking part in a scheme to plant a million new trees as a “gift to the entire planet” as part of celebrations to mark the 550th birth anniversary of Sikhism founder Guru Nanak, the media reported on Friday.
According to the Guardian, the project aims to reverse environmental decline and help people reconnect with nature.
Rajwant Singh, the President of the Washington DC-based environmental organisation EcoSikh, which is coordinating the Million Tree Project, said he wanted to mark the anniversary in a significant way.
EcoSikh collaborates with thousands of Sikh Gurdwaras and institutions all over India, Malaysia, Pakistan, the US, UK, Australia, France, Hong Kong, Norway and many other countries.
The Sikh diaspora has taken on the challenge and tens of thousands of trees have already been planted, the report said, adding that most of the trees were planted in India and also in the UK, US, Australia and Kenya.
“Guru Nanak was a nature lover. (He) had talked about nature as a manifestation of God and many of his writings talk about how we need to learn lessons of life from nature,” said Singh.
He said he hoped the project would motivate Sikhs – especially the young – to improve their relationship with nature and would be seen more broadly as “a gift to the entire planet”.
Sikh Union Coventry, an environmental organization based in Washington, said it plans to plant 550 trees in the Coventry area and has already started planting native trees, shrubs and flowers such as hazel and hawthorn at various sites.
Sikh Union Coventry chair Palvinder Singh Chana said: “As Sikhs, our connection to the environment is an integral part of our faith and identity. Future generations will benefit from the fruits of our labour, symbolising peace, friendships and continuity for generations to come.”
People involved in the drive said that the million tree target would be achieved by the time of Guru Nanak’s birthday in November.