On Earth Day, the Global Interfaith WASH Alliance came together with Swarovski WaterSchool, Parmarth Niketan Ashram, other local schools and organizations to organize a beautification campaign that began with the Rishikesh train station. Hundreds of school students from across the region converged at the Rishikesh Train Station to paint and beautify it in honour of International Mother Earth Day. They were joined and guided by artists from across India and around the world to send a unified message of love for the natural wonders of the Ganga and the Himalayas through the power of art and community.
Blessing the occasion were HH Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji, President of Parmarth Niketan, Co-Founder of the Global Interfaith WASH Alliance, Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswatiji, President of the Divine Shakti Foundation, Secretary General of GIWA and joining to show their support for this inspiring initiative were Mayor of Rishikesh Smt. Anita Mamgain, Chief Reservation Officer Shri AK Sharmaji and other dignitaries.
Mobilising countless volunteers, international artists and children from across Rishikesh throughout the day, the Director of GIWA’s Programmes, Projects and Partnerships Swamini Adityananda Saraswatiji and GIWA’s dedicated volunteers were seen with great energy and enthusiasm, working together in loving harmony, bringing walls, pillars and benches to life with stunning murals depicting the nature and wildlife of the Ganga and Himalayan biodiversity, for which Rishikesh is a renowned portal. Within a short amount of time, what had been a plain white main hall blossomed with the creativity of Rishikesh’s young artists, who were equally inspired by the theme of International Earth Day- “Protect Our Species.”
Said HH Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji, “Today, children from across the region have been empowered to share their own dreams and their own themes for a happier, healthier world through their own paint and inspiration. There can be a Plan A and Plan B but we have only one Planet. Let us make this Earth Day a Worth Day by pledging to protect, preserve and serve our home – Mother Earth- for the well-being of all beings and all species.”
Sadhvi Bhagawatiji added, “On Mother Earth Day, Let us remember that Mother Earth is our sacred, living, breathing, grace-filled home, and all those with whom we share this glorious planet are our family. Let us pledge to care for them as our own! As Art is something we do from the Heart it is a wonderful example of how we can do our Part to make our communities cleaner, greener and more beautiful.”
In between painting, the children also participated in a mass clean-up of the green areas surrounding the station, as well as took part in a tree plantation programme putting both heart and muscle into making the entryway to Rishikesh clean and green. Later, the lead artists, including Julija Kiseliova and Rajesh Chandra, were lauded by Ganga Nandini, Director of Implementation, GIWA, for their volunteerism at a stage programme held in the park adopted by Parmarth Niketan at the front of the station. The Respected DRM and DCM Moradabad as well as senior members of the Northern Railway, Moradabad were also thanked for their pivotal support. All schools participating as well as their teachers and staff were applauded for their spirit and enthusiasm.
Children collected with great enthusiasm atop of the beautiful mountain at the centre of the Rishikesh Railway Station pledging to be Earth Champions. There was also a special water blessing ceremony in which the sacred waters of Mother Ganga were offered to the globe as a symbol that clean water is crucial for a sustainable Mother Earth and all the species she is home to.
In a special Ganga Aarti programme later in the evening it was shared that Earth Day was first started in 1970 and is now celebrated by over 193 countries. Last year the theme was on Ending Plastic Pollution and this year it is to Protect our Species. Pilgrims, devotees and tourists were inspired to work together to protect endangered and threatened species such as bees, coral reefs, elephants, giraffes, insects, whales and more. They were also inspired to reduce their carbon and water footprint treading this Earth with a clean and green impact.
#EarthDay #gogreen #SDGs #ProtectOurSpecies #ClimateAction