World Environment Day Event

New Delhi, India
5th of Jun 2018

At a symposium that brought together voices from the United Nations, the Indian Government, and civil society - Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Founder of The Art of Living, made a worldwide call for reducing usage of plastic by half, while India hosted this year’s World Environment Day. People from 80 countries from all over the world joined the spiritual leader in the pledge, at a symposium titled ‘Voices Against Pollution, Moving towards Green Energy’, organized by The Art of Living in association with United Nations Environment Program.

“This World Environment Day, let’s take a pledge to do everything in our capacity to reduce the use of plastic by less than half,” Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar said, “Pollution is not just man-made but also made in the mind. If you become aware at the level of the mind, you will start reducing your plastic waste on your own. So you all must take the pledge to reduce your plastic waste by more than half.”

Gurudev recommended this can be done by beginning to choose recyclable plastic over disposable whenever and wherever possible, by carrying one’s own recyclable bags and water bottles, and by avoiding use-and-throw items. He also suggested farmers should avoid burning the leftovers after harvesting and instead mulch and reused it organically. “Nature needs your support,” Gurudev said.   

The Art of Living signed an MoU with Mr. JK Sharma, DG Home Guards to create 1000 honorary Environment Marshals. These Marshals will create awareness in slums and other areas of New Delhi on the dangers of plastic and the importance of waste segregation. 

Guest speakers at the symposium included Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Founder, the Art of Living, Mr. Erik Solheim, Executive Director, United Nations Environment Program, Mohammed Adil, Nazim of Ajmer Sharif Dargah Dr. Harsh Vardhan, Honorable Union Minister for Science & Technology, Earth sciences, Environment, Forests & Climate Change, Mr. Mahesh Sharma, Honorable Minister of State For Environment, Forest & Climate Change and among other dignitaries.

In addition to insightful discussions and thought sharing, the symposium also saw the launch of three projects-

  1. Art of Living’s Solid Waste Management Plant at Ajmer Sharif Dargah. The Art of Living has already processed 1.15 million kg of temple waste through 7 waste management plants at temples like Kashi Vishwanath, Kamakhya Devi, Dakshineshwar and Udupi. 
  2. Over the last 5 years a machine at the Art of Living International Center at Bangalore has converted 730 tonnes of plastic waste into fuel. This  machine was launched by the Art of Living today on World Environment Day in New Delhi.

These machines were on display at the symposium and will now be installed in municipalities across New Delhi, including one in Chanakya Puri. NDMC has approved to set up a waste management composting plant at Chanakya Puri. This will be the second in NCR, first which is already functional in Ghaziabad. 

The symposium offered an opportunity to explore how meaningful partnerships can be fostered for global climate action, along with practical ways to achieve Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s call to action of cutting plastic use by half through collective action.

Separately, an MoU was signed between Sri Sri Institute of Advanced Research and  RV College of Engineering to scientifically document the diverse biodiversity present in The Art of Living International Center at Bangalore and its impact on the city of Bengaluru.

The Art of Living with its multi-pronged approach to tackle today's global challenge, be it the rejuvenation of 37 rivers and tributaries, or plantation of 71 million trees across 36 countries, stand out as unique examples of what an inspired civil society movement can achieve. Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar believes that by attending to the human psyche, which is the cause of both physical and emotional pollution, and kindling care and compassion within, one experiences a deeper sense of connection and correction with and for the environment.