with French President

Never ignore eco degradation, Amma tells Climate Summit in Paris

21 July 2015, Paris, France

Amma stressed today the importance of employing a spiritual approach in checking global warming, cautioning countries across the world about the ill-effects of humanity’s continuing deeds against nature.

“Ignoring the current environmental situation is like a man on the top floor of flats being indifferent to the fire on the ground floor,” she said in the video message sent to the Summit of Conscience for the Climate in Paris. Read complete speech >

  • Swami Amritaswarupananda with French President François Hollande

  • Swamiji addressing the summit

  • Swamiji addressing the summit

Amma, who was invited for the daylong function by the Special Envoy for the Protection of the Planet of French President François Hollande, could not physically make it to the venue because she was concluding her seven-week American tour. However, an audio-visual address of hers was delivered by her disciple Swami Amritaswarupananda.

Swami Amritaswarupananda noted that the expertise of 62-year-old Amma’s global organisation, Embracing the World, in sustainable development and its longstanding history of interfaith cooperation has made it an important partner and voice in the conversation on how faith organisations may assist in modelling a pivot towards sustainable decision-making for the faithful, as well as for corporations, governments and society as a whole.

Overall, the Paris summit of the world’s major spiritual, religious and moral leaders emphasized the urgent need for a strong universal appeal and support for effective policies prior to the COP21 conference taking place in the French capital later this year.

Martin Palmer, facilitator of the Summit, said after Swami’s speech : “Yesterday, we had a preparatory meeting with all the participants in the Summit. I think Swamiji summed up this event for us : we cannot change the environment unless we change ourselves.”

Among other leaders who attended the summit were Bartholomew I, Archbishop of Constantinople and Ecumenical Patriarch; United Nations former secretary-general M. Kofi Annan; Nobel peace laureate Dr. Muhammad Yunus; Buddhist leader Thich Nhat Hahn (represented by Sr. Chân Không); Sheikh Khaled Bentounes, who is the spiritual guide of the Alawiyya Sufi brotherhood (Algeria); Philippines Senator Loren B. Legarda; UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova; Pontifical Council for Justice & Peace President Cardinal Peter Turkson; American Jewish Committee Director (Interreligious Affairs) Rabbi David Rosen; Brazilian politician Marina Silva; former Ireland president Mary Robinson, who is Special Envoy of the Secretary-General of the United Nations for Climate Change; and M. Janos Pasztor, who is Assistant Secretary-General of the UN on Climate Change.

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Green Friends Mauritius launched

21 June 2015, Mata Amritanandamayi Centre, Quatre Bornes, Mauritius

GreenFriends Mauritius planted 150 saplings, both indigenous and exotic plants to commemorate its launching and mark the first International Yoga Day.

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Trees are the lungs of Mother Earth, filtering pollution and providing oxygen in return. Over the course of its life a single tree can absorb one ton of carbon dioxide. GreenFriends believe that the tree planting will help our next generation. Although our efforts may seem small or insignificant but it will certainly bring a real change.

Honourable Minister Raj Dayal – Minister of Environment accompanied by his wife planted the first tree to mark the official launching of Green Friends Mauritius.

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All the devotes stood in a line by the Rose Hill/Trianon road and planted the balance 149 trees simultaneously while all were singing the chant of Lokah Samasta Sukhino Bhavantu. They received the blessings of the Almighty in the form of a drizzle too.

GreenFriends is an international environmental initiative started by Amma in 2001.

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Saplings distributed for Vishuthaineettam

This year, Amma asked all those who celebrate the Kerala festival of ‪Vishu‬ to incorporate love and reverence for nature into their celebration {news}. It was Amma’s dream that this new tradition could help to imprint a deep bond with nature in the coming generations. Today, that dream is beginning to come true. Students of Amrita University planted 100,000 saplings for the occasion. Renowned artists, writers and activists helped to distribute the saplings at our ashrams and centers throughout Kerala, including celebrated actor Mohanlal and actress Seema G Nair, writer KL Mohana Varma, poet/activist Sugata Kumari, poet and environmentalist Injakkad Balachandran, Deputy Director of Kerala’s Agriculture Dept. Smt. Nandini, Kozhikode District Collector Prashant Nair, IAS, and Kerala Excise Minister Shri. K. Babu.

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Film actor Mohan Lal distributing sapling to a little girl

 

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100,000 saplings at Amrita University

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100,000 saplings at Amrita University

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Vrukshakkani and Vishuthaineettam instead of Vishukkani and Vishukkaineettam

Vishu is a festival specific to Kerala and to Malayalees, and it symbolizes the age-old bond with Nature. The highlights of Vishu are known as Vishukkani and Vishukkaineettam.

As part of this year’s upcoming festival of Vishu, Amma has launched two initiatives to help foster love for nature in the hearts of the younger generations, and to teach them to protect and preserve nature. These initiatives are known as Vrukshakkani and Vishuthaineettam, as they augment the existing highlights of Vishu.

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Vishukkani is the first darshan (sight) the members of each household will have after waking up on the day of Vishu. A picture of Lord Sri Krishna and an abundant display of fruits and vegetables form the main part of the Vishukkani. Traditionally, the parents blindfold the children or cover their eyes and lead them in front of the Vishukkani altar, to guarantee that this is the first thing they see on Vishu. This year, Amma is asking everyone to add one more item to the Vishukkani altar: a few seedlings of any tree or vegetable—hence the name Vrukshakkani.

The tradition of Vishukkaineettam is a gift, usually money, which the elders give to the young members of the family on that day. But this year, Amma is asking the elders to gift the seedlings kept in the Vishukkani to the younger ones so that they will plant it and nurture them. This will be known as Vishuthaineettam.

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This is a special moment in the history of Vishu. If enough people would incorporate these new traditions, it will allow the festival of Vishu to help imprint a deep bond with and love and concern for nature in the coming generations. This kind of fundamental shift in humanity’s attitude toward nature (from exploitation to loving protection) is essential in order to preserve nature’s harmony and a safe place for human beings to call home.

 

This years Vishu falls on 15th April.

 

 

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600 trees planted in Buccinasco, Milan

Inspired by Amma’s message to save the planet, Italian devotee volunteers took to planting 600 trees in a town near Milan in Northern Italy.

In one of her talks, Amma said “There is an inseparable bond between man and nature. For man, there cannot be an existence removed from nature. However, because of his thoughtless actions, the equilibrium in nature is getting disturbed; the pulse of human life is becoming erratic, too. ..We cannot delay anymore. We must make the right decisions and embark on the right course of actions.”

Taking Amma’s message to the heart, the volunteers took to action. Caring not for rain or snow on a rainy day, volunteers put into action an InDeed initiative of planting more than 600 trees in Buccinasco, a town near Milan.

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Organic vegetable garden at Amrita University

Encouraged by Amma’s message that everyone should be able to eat vegetables grown organically at least once in a week, the college students at Amrita University’s Amritapuri campus have started an organic vegetable garden using natural methods of cultivation. The garden is flourishing with the growth of colorful, delicious produce, including spinach, okra, tomatoes, tapioca, green chilies, cauliflower, pumpkins, and bananas. The students take turns coming every day to water and tend to the plants, with Wednesdays set aside for all the students to work together. When a plant begins to produce fruits or vegetables, the students are always keen to offer these first gifts of nature to Amma.

Let the Birds Also Benefit
Amma herself has played a prominent role throughout the evolution of the garden – from the time she blessed the first seeds to be sown, up until now – as she continues to answer the students’ questions. Recently, a few students asked Amma how to address a consistent problem they have been facing – the birds in the nearby area had taken to eating the tomatoes even before they were plucked. Amma beautifully replied, “It’s alright; let the birds also benefit from the garden. In fact, we should be giving them the tomatoes first. Aren’t they also a part of the same nature that we are trying to reconnect with?”

With their continued determination and enthusiasm, the students plan to expand the garden to accommodate a larger variety of fresh produce, with a long-term goal of making the Amritapuri campus 100% organic.

– Narada

Amritapuri Ashram has gone organic

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When organic vegetables are being presented to Amma

From roof-top terraces to the alleyways around buildings, organic vegetable gardens can be found in every spare space around Amritapuri after Amma stressed the importance of avoiding chemically treated food where possible.

Vegetables include okra, tomatoes, pumpkin, beans, chillis, red spinach, eggplant, cabbage and onions are being lovingly grown without the use of pesticides for Amma’s Tuesday prasad lunch.
“Amma said to bring back the ancient culture of agriculture which is organic,” said Br. Gurudas who is in charge of overseeing the project. “At Amritapuri, Amma’s devotees started growing organic food for Amma’s Tuesday prasad lunch.”

Amma’s Grace Gardens, located 10 minutes from Amritapuri, started in April but was producing organic vegetables by May for the Tuesday prasad lunch.

“The garden is just under one acre in size but will be expanded to grow more vegetables,” said Akhilesh who assists Br. Gurudas with the project.

Land has also been acquired with the goal of growing enough vegetables to supply all the needs of the ashram in the near future. “We have started a big farm in Kalady, Kerala where we have planted 10,000 plantains as well as hundreds of tapioca and other vegetables. We also have established a farm in Komban in Tamil Nadu where we have 6,000 coconut trees, 20,000 banana trees, plantains and other vegetables. In the near future, we plan to provide all of the vegetables needed for serving food at Amritapuri – pure, organic food within one to two years’ time,” said Br. Gurudas.

And the result?
“When Amma sees the organic vegetables that have been grown, she gets a big smile on her face.”

Car-free day for a greener tomorrow

Amrita University observed ‘Car-Free Day’ on 22nd September 2014 at its Amritapuri Campus with a bicycle rally and a 10KM road run. Over 800 students and 200 faculties volunteered, took leadership for the campaign which started at 8:30 a.m from Karunagappally to Amritapuri.

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The highlight of the day is that no one would come to the campus by private car or bike on that day. Day scholars shall avail of public transport facilities or use bicycles to reach the campus.

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The objective of the Campaign is to promote the use of public transportation, car sharing and emission–free vehicles as an effort to address the crisis of environmental pollution. Contributing towards a ‘Greener Tomorrow’ is drawn inspiration from Amma’s words on our duties and responsibilities towards the protection and preservation of our Mother Nature.

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Amrita University observes ‘World Car Free Day’

World Car Free Day was observed by Amrita Sanjeevani, the seva organization at Amrita University, Amritapuri Campus. The objective was to promote the use of public transportation and emission–free vehicles in an effort to address the crisis of environmental pollution.

The entire Amritapuri Campus (over 800 students and 200 faculty members) showed their support by participating in a Cycle Rally and a 10km Fun Run from Karunagapally to Amritapuri. R. Kannan of the National Football Team and Sri. Akhin GS of the National Volleyball team inaugurated the campaign.

The event had the full support and co-operation of the public and showed that our society cares for its future. Participants left knowing that their efforts had inspired others.