After governments, NGOs, civil societies and youngsters, religious leaders have now taken the lead to promote conservation of environment. World’s first ever ‘Green Kumbh Yatra’, aimed at creating awareness on biodiversity, was launched here on Sunday at the ongoing Conference of Parties-11 at the Hyderabad International Convention Centre (HICC).
Tridandi Srimannarayana Chinna Jeeyar Swamy handed over the decorative kumbh or kalash consisting of samples of fabric from across the world, to Braulio Ferreira de Souza Dias, United Nations Executive Secretary of the Secretariat of the Convention.
The Yatra will initially proceed to Gujarat, where followers of Swamy Narayan will conduct several activities for the same cause, create sensitivity about nature among the masses, and then the the kumbh will be brought back to Hyderabad. The Yatra will be an environmental pilgrimage on foot and non-motorized vehicles that will traverse 1,125 kilometre through rural routes and culminate in Allahabad, the site of the Maha Kumbh in January 2013.
Over seven crore people are expected to attend the Maha Kumbh Mela, for which the organisers have asked the government to declare the Kumbh Mela a ‘green event’. After Allahabad, the Green Kumbh Yatra will continue to other parts of India before travelling across continents and countries and will ultimately arrive in South Korea for CoP-12 in 2014.
GYAN and Living Planet Foundation, in collaboration with Hyderabad-based Vikasa Tarangani, CBD Secretariat, Sacred Natural Sites Initiative, IUCN and WCPA Specialist Group on Cultural and Spiritual Values of Protected Areas will conduct the yatra in which international delegates and spiritual leaders will take part.
Chinna Jeeyar Swamy said that Indians have been traditionally symbolizing plants or animals as objects of worship to protect nature. “We have to stop dumping waste into rivers to keep them pure, divine and keep recycling waste for our own survival. We need to take care of our nature as she protects us.” Dr Kusum Vyas, founder of Living Planet Foundation and GYAN of the US emphasised that the aim is to establish the ‘Green Kumbh Yatra’ as a powerful focal point around which people can demonstrate their commitment to save the environment and building a clean, healthy, diverse world for generations to come.