SGGW 2014

 

April 20 – 26, 2014 – The Week of Sri Sathya Sai Aradhana

Nature is very close to God, closer than man is. For in man there is a veil of ignorance clouding his vision and marring his sight. But, Nature is the purest handiwork of God. If you are able to love Nature and feel in tune with it, you are that much closer to God. It is very easy to know God through Nature, for in Nature there is goodness, simplicity, purity and selflessness. ~ Sathya Sai Baba (in Nature – a Mirror of the Divine, Mother Sathya Sai magazine, May 6, 2007, p. 35)

The Sai Go-Green Initiative thanks everyone for participating in Sai Go-Green Week (SGGW) 2012 and 2013. The SGGW is observed during the Week of Sri Sathya Sai Aradhana. The Initiative requests your support this year also. In this page, we offer a few ideas on collectively serving Mother Nature/Earth and performing envirocare sadhana (spiritual discipline) in a group and at individual level as loving dedications to Mother Sai.

Some Key SGGW Objectives are as follows (also highlighted in the SGGW Flyer-2014):

  • Embarking on simple green practices, collectively at the center and at individual level, with spiritual awareness
  • Extending the week-long initiative to all year-long
  • Remembering that we are One with Mother Nature

SGGW IMPORTANT DATES

April 22:  Earth Day

April 24:  Sri Sathya Sai Aradhana Day

April 25: National Arbor Day

April 26: National Take-Back Initiative Day

ENVIRO-CARE SPIRITUAL PROGRAM FOR CENTER/GROUP

Devotion

Study Circle on Baba’s messages on Enviro-care & Revering Nature. Please click below title links for presentation guides. We encourage using these guides to facilitate study circle at two (2) consecutive meetings.  Contact us for additional topics, presentation or workshop materials:

Pray or conduct bhajan session in a place where you feel connected to Mother Nature

Education

Green Lesson Plans for SSE classes. Sample plans available here.

Services

The main idea is to keep it simple, embark on 1 green practice/service project at a time, and understand the significance of the Nature and connect with Sai. Kindly note that the proposed ideas may not be universal to all Sai centers in the country because the nature of service may depend on the geographical location, local community needs, and dynamics of each Sai center (Center). We recommend everyone to review the appropriate approaches to serve Nature and the needs of the local community with humility and devotion.

  • Tree planting – Planting and beautifying public places, such as parks, township curbs, school yards.
  • Community Gardening – The arrival of Spring and beginning of the harvest season is a perfect time to explore community gardening opportunities in the neighborhood. Some townships or philanthropic groups (neighborhood estate) provide community gardening plots at no or minimum cost per plot for the season. The American Community Garden Association [http://www.communitygarden.org/] lists locations of community gardens by city or state. This is a wonderful way to foster the spirit of unity by involving all age groups, connect with Nature regularly, and teach our future generation the importance of green and healthy living. Offer the vegetables and fruits grown in this Sai Garden to Swami by dedicating them to the Center’s service projects such as Narayana seva (soup kitchen service) or a community food bank.
  • Beach/Marsh/Stream/Neighborhood Cleanup – Joining local civic group, environmental organization or township/city/state environmental commission that organizes and conducts cleanup activities throughout the year.
    • Adopt-a-highway cleanup programs[http://www.adoptahighway.net/] is run by State Departments of Transportation and your local government may have a program for other roads or neighborhoods
    • River cleanups are organized by Sierra Club local chapter [http://www.sierraclub.org/chapters/] or local river or watershed River Coalition or American Waters [http://www .americanrivers.org/site/PageServer?pagename=AR7_NationalRiverCleanup]
  • Hosting electronic waste collection event for recycling
  • National Take-Back Initiative (NTBI) – Informing Center members about the NTBI Program organized by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) which provides an opportunity to the public to safely dispose of unused prescription/over-the-counter medications, thereby mitigating the risk of inappropriate use of pharmaceutical substances, contamination of our water supply and potentially harming aquatic life. Kindly note, DEA only accepts pharmaceutical substances on an individual basis not as a group. To inform the members about the collection site in your area, please visit http://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/drug_disposal/takeback/
  • Composting – Starting a compost pile at your Center (if this is feasible) or the home of devotees. Compost can be used for Sai community garden or home flower/vegetable garden. Document all the steps and share the movie clip with the Sai center(s).

Note: For implementation of a sustaining Enviro-Care Spiritual Discipline Program at the Center and maintaining its continuity, please consider forming a team of Green Champions {combination of young adult(s) & adult(s)/SSE-4 student(s)}, working closely with the Service Coordinator.

INDIVIDUAL INITIATIVES: 7 – DAY GO-GREEN ITINERARY

“We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop.” – Mother Teresa 

Every small steps, taken by each individual, adds up and make big difference to Mother Earth. Below is a sample 7-day itinerary for an individual to take up one green practice each day, while still following previous day(s) initiative(s) as moving along.  Please feel free to custom-create your own 7-day or month itinerary using some of the green living tips provided here.  We suggest forming a buddy system (Go-Green Buddy) to track each other’s progress.

DAY 1:

Say no to plastic bags. Use reusable bags made of cloth/fabric or other sustainable materials for your next trip to grocery store/shopping center. Tip – always leave a couple of bags in your car before/after shopping for easy remembering

  • Globally, we use 1 million new plastic bags/minute. This uses 2.2 billion gallons of oil each year. Every year, more than 500 billion to 1 trillion plastic bags are used worldwide. Less than 3% of those bags are recycled.
  • The plastic bags can be eaten by animals, which confuse them with food. Each year at least 100,000 birds, whales, seals and turtles die as a result of choking on plastic!
  • They are typically made of polyethylene and can take up to 1,000 years to biodegrade in landfills that emit harmful greenhouse gases.

DAY 2:

Carry your own water bottle made of steel or BPA free plastic

  • Americans buy 28 billion single-serving water bottles each year. Supplying this plastic requires more than 47 million gallons of oil, equivalent to 1 billion pounds of CO2 released into the atmosphere.
  • For a lessened environmental impact, spring water can be purchased in bulk and then poured into smaller containers.

DAY 3:

Turn down the heat and air conditioning

  • Turning down thermostat 1 degree in winter saves 1000 lbs CO2/yr and approximately $15 per year
  • Setting thermostat up 3 degrees in the summer saves 3000 lbs CO2/yr and approximately $32 per year
  • Rule of thumb: every degree change saves 3% on your energy bill
  • A programmable thermostat allows you to automatically turn down the heat or A/C at night and during day and can yield annual savings of approximately $40-80

DAY 4:

Turn off the power/Unplug

  • Turn off lights, fans, computer, TV, etc. promptly when finished with them. If you reduce your usage by one hour a day, you can save 1000 lbs of CO 2/yr.
  • Avoid using electric and gas appliances when you can, e.g. leaf blower, lawn mower, electric can openers, hair dryers

DAY 5:

Use less water

  • Turning off the tap saves water, energy, and money. The average household spends as much as $500 per year on its water and sewer bill. If all U.S. households installed water-efficient appliances, the country would save more than 3 trillion gallons of water and more than $17 billion dollars per year!
  • Turn off the tap while brushing your teeth in the morning and at bedtime. The average bathroom faucet flows at a rate of 2 gallons per minute. Letting your faucet run for 5 minutes uses about as much energy as letting a 60-watt light bulb run for 14 hours.
  • When washing dishes by hand, don’t leave the water running for rinsing.
  • Don’t let the faucet run while you clean vegetables. Just rinse them in a stoppered sink or a pan of clean water.
  • Don’t use the toilet as a wastebasket. Every time you flush a facial tissue or other small bit of trash, 5 to 7 gallons of water is wasted.
  • Minimize use of kitchen sink garbage disposal units. In sink ‘garburators’ require lots of water to operate properly
  • If you can’t replace your toilet with an efficient model, put plastic bottles in your toilet tank. Just put 1 or 2 inch of sand or pebbles inside each of 2 plastic bottles to weigh them down. Fill the bottles with water, screw the lids on, and put them in your toilet tank, safely away from the operating mechanisms. This may save 10+ gallons of water/day. Be sure at least 3 gallons of water remain in the tank, so it will flush properly.

DAY 6:

Recycle aluminum cans, glass bottles, plastic containers and paper.

  • Most local municipalities provide separate containers to drop aluminum, glass, and plastic products
  • One recycled aluminum can saves enough energy to power a television or computer for 3 hours or a 100-watt light bulb for 20 hours
  • Recycling 1 glass bottle saves enough energy to light a 100-watt light bulb for 4 hours
  • Recycling a one-gallon plastic milk jug will save enough energy to keep a 100-watt bulb burning for 11 hours
  • Recycling a one-foot high stack of newspapers saves enough electricity to heat a home for 17 hours

DAY 7:

Spend time in nature

  • Observe the often overlooked acts in Nature – a bird’s chirp, a falling drop of water, the gentle breeze, stream flowing, a tree that provides food and shelter for wildlife, the sun that rises and sets, etc.
  • Appreciate Mother Nature’s Selfless Service. Express gratitude to Nature by for example chanting the Gayatri mantra facing the sun everyday

For more Green Living Tips click here

FEEDBACK

Please send pictures/videos/stories of the events observed during the SGGW or post-SGGW or anytime during the year to Sai Go-Green Initiative. Email:  saiggh@gmail.com.

JAI SAIRAM!

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