On the occasion of International Earth Day on Friday, 22 April 2022, Sri Swami Madhavananda World Peace Council (SSMWPC), in collaboration with Yoga in Daily Life USA, hosted a virtual Earth Day Summit on the topic, 'Sacredness of Nature and the Web of Life'.
In his keynote speech, Vishwaguruji Paramhans Swami Maheshwarananda, founder of Yoga in Daily Life and SSMWPC underlined how essential the water element is in sustaining life on Earth. Vishwaguruji said that where there is water, there is God, and that water is not only in the water, but also in the air we breathe, in fire, and in our bodies – and that without water, there is no life.
The topic of water was also central in the address of Michael 'Pom' Preston, from the Winnemem Wintu (Native American) tribe. He spoke about the importance of returning the Chinook salmon to the McCloud River in California for ecosystem restoration. He shared that it is our human duty to restore the balance of the elements by performing sacred ceremonies and practising indigenous medicine.
Swami Yogesh Puriji, head architect of the Om Ashram construction, talked about the Rainwater Harvesting Initiative in Jadan, Rajasthan, India, and how the project benefits local villages by raising the underground water table. He shared images of the 'greening' transformation of the Jadan grounds that has occurred in a span of just a few decades, as a result of the reforestation effort.
Damian Denac (Jaidev), the chief executive of the DOPPS-Birds Life Slovenia, reported the results of a study from 2016 that detected 74 different bird species inhabiting the newly green lands of Jadan. The reforestation and rainwater harvesting projects transformed the Jadan grounds to a major site for migrating birds in India. He also warned that the rate of biodiversity loss, which is unprecedented in human history, is recognized as the most exceeded of the boundaries that enable our human existence on Earth.
Ramu Damodaran, first director of the United Nations Academic Impact, spoke about the need for education that affirms the sacredness of nature and life-affirming technologies.
Filmmaker and nature practice teacher, Natasha Deganello Giraudie revealed a shocking fact: that children in the USA spend an average of less than one hour daily outdoors. Many people living in large cities are experiencing biological homelessness due to losing contact with nature.
Bawa Jain, from The Center for Responsible Leadership, underlined the importance of spiritual masters in transmitting true knowledge and culture, guiding and protecting people. He also said that many religious leaders are not aware of the urgency of environmental protection and that our role is to educate them to support the environmental movement.
Claudia Matejovsky (Muktamani), director of the Ayurveda Academy of Yoga in Daily Life, shared the Ayurvedic perspective of the interconnectedness of human well-being and nature, based on the principle of the three doshas (body energies).
In the middle of the program, a harmonious musical meditation dedicated to Mother Earth, a Raga Durga performed by Swami Madhuram Puri from Yoga in Daily Life New Zealand, refreshed and relaxed the participants.
The program was successfully moderated by Khyati Rathore, a climate change analyst at the World Bank.
The Earth Day Summit conveyed an inspiring call for action to each of us, to do our share in protecting nature and the future of life on Earth. The Summit message reached hundreds of people participating in the zoom event and watching the video recording on Swamiji.TV and the SSMWPC Facebook page.