The Radha Krishna Temple of Dallas (Allen) and Nanban partnered to celebrate Earth Day & Sustainability Fair on April 22, 2023. The two organizations believe very strongly in philanthropic activities to give back to the community by organizing and/or participating in events for the benefit of its members. As an integral part of its mission to serve the community, the two collaborated with “Keep Allen Beautiful” and “Great American Clean-Up” programs.
The Radha Krishna Temple volunteers spearheaded the clean-up efforts with full support from Nanban as the event sponsor. They organized a community clean-up in Allen Station Park and a sustainability fair on the premises of the Radha Krishna Temple.
Since this was the Temple’s first community clean-up, it took several weeks to plan, scope out Allen Station Park, and create a game plan. There were multiple teams and each team was designated a clean-up zone. Team captains were selected and multiple training and preparation meetings took place with the primary focus on the safety of the volunteers.
There was a special mission to be accomplished; it was to remove a large 200 lb. couch which was situated along the bank of Cottonwood Creek. Due to the challenging terrain, a special operation forces team was created to plan and execute the removal of the couch. Those team members had to climb down a steep ravine with the couch, move up a narrow creek inlet climbing upwards from rock to rock, pass over a 2-foot-deep pool of water, and finally up an extremely steep concrete slope just to reach level ground. They then needed to transport that couch along the Cottonwood Creek trail for about a quarter mile.
Swami Mukundananda, the founder of JKYog and the Radha Krishna Temple of Dallas, joined a clean-up team like all other participants. Geared with gloves, trash bags, and a vest, Swamiji was a role model for everyone else. He picked up trash and inspired all the participants to do their seva. His team members including adults and children were particularly enthusiastic as they completed their seva, collecting 32 bags of trash to restore the environment.
Specific to the Earth Day clean-up at the Allen Station Park, a total of 85 volunteers collected over 143 bags of trash. Teams and individuals competed for a variety of awards. The highest trash bag collectors were Team Krishna (with a total of 50 bags) and Team Radhey (with a total of 32 bags).
Following the clean-up, the Sustainability Fair at the Radha Krishna Temple of Dallas provided visitors with a hands-on experience on the value of sustainability and caring for our environment.
The fair showcased up-cycling projects, eco-friendly vendors, educational exhibits for hands-on learning about a variety of topics from gardening to water conservation and beyond. It also included a local girl scout troop, healthy food options, and much more.
The fair served as a collection point for clothing donations for homeless people, recycling of used eyeglasses and batteries, as well as hosting a “Second Chance Boutique” of Indian clothing, and an organization that recycled saris.
Visitors also received an eco-friendly swag bag filled with interesting educational giveaways to guide their journey toward sustainable living. Visitors also enjoyed the Youth Band’s lively music!
All visitors, especially the youth, received an Earth Day and Sustainability Fair passport where they were required to visit each booth to participate in activities and learn more about specific efforts to conserve the environment. Upon completion of an activity, each person received a stamp on their passport. Once the youth completed all activities they turned over their stamped passports. They had to have a minimum of 15 stamps to be eligible to win a prize in the lucky draw. All the youngsters thoroughly enjoyed the sustainability activities and several went through the entire fair twice!
Swamiji was a source of inspiration for the entire day’s activities – from clean-up in the morning to full and enthusiastic participation in the Sustainability Fair at the Temple.
Swamiji delivered a very inspirational speech. He said that those with a narrow mind, think in terms of “mine and yours” whereas those with a broader vision think in terms of “Vasudhaiv Kutumbakam” (i.e., the earth is my family including everything living creature in the ecosystem). Swamiji went on to describe the important role that creatures like earthworms, bees, etc. play in sustaining the ecosystem. Swamiji also spoke about the need for human beings to value the environment like other creatures naturally do in nature.
There was a lot of hope in Swamiji’s talk that gave credit to the younger generation that was more aware of the need to protect the climate and the environment. He then presented the Vedic perspective toward the ecosystem. The Hindu philosophy considers the earth as a mother (i.e., Bhumi Devi) who has nurtured us forever and how we ourselves are products of the earth. Quoting from different religious scriptures, Swamiji described the cycle of nature and the importance of connecting with the world. Finally, Swamiji described the projects on organic farming in India where JKYog and Nanban Foundation have become partners to save Mother Earth.
Nanban Gopal Krishnan (GK), the Chairman & CEO, Nanban Group of Companies, and a partner in sponsoring the Earth Day and Sustainability Fair at the Radha Krishna Temple, also delivered a very inspiring address. He highlighted three highly relevant initiatives of the Nanban Group of Companies with respect to conservation and sustainability.
He first described the Mothers for Mother Earth program where farmers in India are supported by Nanban to convert their lands from chemicals to natural sources of sustainability in 4-5 states in India including Odisha. Nanban pays the farmers Rs. 20,000 per month to the farmers to enable the transition. However, the most exciting part is that the women of the house were empowered with financial aid (not the farmers themselves who might squander away the resources in less useful activities).
The second initiative is about bringing technology in the lives of the farmers by enabling them to generate revenue though “carbon credits” for sowing green plants that provide oxygen for life on earth. Nanban pays an additional amount of Rs. 8,000.00 a month to support this initiative. The third initiative is about creating a lake to conserve water by digging deep into the earth to construct a reservoir. Nanban GK jis’ talk was cheered with enthusiasm by the audience.
City of Allen Mayor, Mr. Kenneth Fulk and Ms. Sharon Mayer, CEO of Allen Fairview Chamber of Commerce also participated in the Earth Day and Sustainability Fair at the Radha Krishna Temple. The Mayor expressed his appreciation to the volunteers for the clean-up activities at Allen Station Park. He also presented an Earth Day Proclamation to the Radha Krishna Temple.
Additionally, the Mayor penned a very inspirational message on the pledge board. His beautiful sentiments stated: “Be a Good Steward of our Natural Resources, conserve, protect, recycle!” Ms. Mayer also wrote a pledge on the board. She said, “I pledge to be more aware of our environment and do yoga.” Swamiji also made a pledge: “I pledge not to waste water and electricity.”
A wonderful conclusion to this event was when Swamiji personally handed out the awards for Earth Day clean-up activities and expressed his appreciation for all the volunteers.
This Earth Day celebration marked the beginning of the Radha Krishna Temple’s commitment to conduct regular ongoing clean-up efforts with the goal of eventually adopting an area in the city of Allen in conjunction with the “Keep Allen Beautiful” program as an integral part of community service.
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