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The Sikh community across the globe has taken on a challenge to plant a million trees to commemorate 550 years since the birth of the founder of Sikhism, Guru Nanak.
Through the 'Million Tree Project', Sikhs around the world aim to plant new saplings as their 'gift to the entire planet' in a bid to reverse the effects of environmental degradation and to help young people to reconnect and strengthen their relationship with nature.
Ravneet Pal Singh, South Asia Project Manager of the US-based environmental organisation, EcoSikh, which is spearheading the project, told SBS Punjabi the idea is to create awareness among Sikh youth about environmental issues, in line with Guru Nanak's teachings.
"The aim is to raise awareness, create more forests and sensitise the Sikh youth towards environmental concerns and to promote the message that protecting the environment is an integral part of our sewa and Sikh faith," Mr Singh told SBS Punjabi.
"The volunteers have already planted over 50,000 trees in the north Indian state of Punjab and in other parts of the world," he added.
As part of the project, EcoSikh is also working in parity with Afforestt, an organisation that trains people in creating sustainable forests using the 'Miyawaki' method of tree plantation which involves random and dense plantation of native species.
Advocates of this method of plantation claim that forests created using this technique can grow up to 10 times faster and that they are 30 times denser.
"Using this technique, we have already built three model 'Sacred Guru Nanak forests' in Punjab comprising over 1500 trees," said Mr Singh
"We have got an overwhelming response from people across Punjab. We have already received 80 queries from people who want us to build forests on their landholdings using the Miyawaki method."
Their goal is to create 1,800 such forests and plant a million trees across the world, by the time of Guru Nanak’s birthday in November.
The community of Innisfail, youth organisations, United Sikhs as well as Khalsa Aid have come together to provide much needed assistance to the people of flood-ravaged Townsville.