Global Peace Film Festival 2010

by Maninder Singh

mother-earth (41K)The Interfaith Council of Central Florida - A Screening of "Climate Refugees" - A documentary film about “the human face of climate change” followed by an Interfaith Panel and Discussion was held.

Panel members reflected on how different faith traditions view our relationship with the earth.

The Interfaith Council of Central Florida and the Global Peace Film Festival collaborated for the fourth year in a film screening and inter-faith dialogue. The film Climate Refugees was shown at 5:30 pm. on Sunday, September 26 at the Bush Auditorium at Rollins College, Winter Park, Florida. After the 90 minute film, there was a 30 minute reflection time from a diverse representation of faith groups in Central Florida with questions and dialogues from the audience on how differently our faith views our relationship with Earth.

This event was attended by over 200 people of different faiths including students.

In addition to Interfaith panel member Gunveen Kaur (Maninder Singh’s wife), other members present at this event representing the Sikh community were Mr. & Mrs. Kamaljeet Singh Dogra, Mr & Mrs. Jasbir Singh Bhatia and Maninder Singh. Interfaith Council had requested to have a woman from each of the faiths' communities represent on the panel.

This is the presentation by Gunveen Kaur on behalf of the Sikh community of Central Florida.

Respected Ladies & Gentlemen,

Pavan Guroo, Paanee Pitaa, Maataa Dharat Mahat
Air is the Guru, Water is the Father, and Earth is the Great Mother of all

Divas Raat du-ay daa-ee daa-i-aa khaylai sagal jagat
Day and night are the two nurses, in whose lap all the world is at play

This is the quote from Siri Guru Granth Sahib, Holy book of Sikhs written by the Sikh Gurus, that Sikhs treat with highest respects, like Holy Bible, Quran, Torah.

Another quote from Guru Granth Sahib is:

The Lord infused His Light into the dust, and created the world, the universe.
The sky, the earth, the trees, and the water - all are the Creation of the Lord.

The Sikh holy book, Siri Guru Granth Sahib, declares that the purpose of human beings is to achieve a blissful state and to be in harmony with the earth and all of God's creation. It seems, however, that humans have drifted away from that ideal. The earth is today saturated with problems. It is agonizing over the fate of its inhabitants and their future! It is in peril as never before. Its lakes and rivers are being choked, killing its marine life. Its forests continue to diminish. A smoky haze envelops the cities of the world.

The Sikh Gurus showed the world the way to live in harmony with the environment and all their teachings adhered to this principle.

Guru Har Rai, the seventh Sikh Guru developed Kiratpur Sahib in India as a town of parks and gardens in the 1600s. He planted flowers and fruit bearing trees all over the area. This created a salubrious environment, attracting beautiful birds to the town and turning it into an idyllic place to live in. The importance of Air, Water and Earth to life are emphasized over and over again in the Siri Guru Granth Sahib. The earth is referred to as the mother and as such requires our respect. Great care needs to be taken to ensure that no damage occurs to it while the Sikh is going about his or her daily life. The pollution of these 3 elements is against the principles laid down by the Gurus.

Air, water earth and sky are God's home and temple - sacred places which need to be protected and looked after. The Sikh Gurus built many Gurdwaras (house of worship), surrounded by large pools which supported marine life, especially fish. This was clearly a sign to live in harmony with nature rather than in conflict with it.

GunveenKaur (40K) Audience (38K)
Left: Gunveen Kaur (left), representing Sikh community of Central Florida, Debbie Peek (center), co-producer of the movie, and Mrs. Jasbir Singh Bhatia (right) Sikh community. Right: The Audience
Siri Guru Granth Sahib, the supreme Sikh scripture states that air, water, earth and life all originated from the True Lord and the True Lord resides in each, in the form of Light energy. When we harm any of these, we in turn harm the True Lord. Therefore, earth, air, water and life are all sacred for the Sikhs.

The Golden Temple (the holiest sikh shrine) in Amritsar, India is moving to solar energy. The project is expected to be completed within six months.

Focusing on the environment, Sikh historical Gurudwara in Anandpur Sahib, India worked with Philips Electronics India to illuminate entire Gurudwara with environment friendly fluorescent lamps to improve energy efficiency. Likewise, other Gurudwaras in India and around the world are taking steps towards saving energy and going GREEN.

Therefore, for the environment to nourish us, and keep us & every creature healthy, it needs to be clean and pure itself. It is our moral responsibility to keep it that way for us and all our future generations.

Once again, Ladies & Gentlemen,

Pavan Guroo, Paanee Pitaa, Maataa Dharat Mahat
Air is the Guru, Water is the Father, and Earth is the Great Mother of all

Divas Raat du-ay daa-ee daa-i-aa khaylai sagal jagat
Day and night are the two nurses, in whose lap all the world is at play

So please, my respected audience, let’s join hands to save our Mother Earth for our future generations. Let us all go home today and start the awareness by telling at least one person and more around us to use energy efficient bulbs, less water or anything they can do to save our precious Mother Earth for us and our future generations.


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