Go Green Conference 2018 – Highlights of Day 1
The Sathya Sai International Organisation (SSIO) commenced the first-ever Go Green Conference on 25th July 2018 to highlight the importance of realising the connection between God, Nature and Man. Discussions were also held on our responsibility towards Mother Earth, in light of Sathya Sai Baba’s teaching.
After a resounding theme song, ‘Together we sing in peace and harmony’ by the Sathya Sai Young Adults, Dr. Narendranath Reddy, Chairman of Prasanthi Council, welcomed about 1,200 delegates from around 70 countries. He spoke on the environmental crisis we face today. He gave examples from Sathya Sai Baba’s life to show how He never wasted resources and used only what was needed. Then, Dr Reddy presented many initiatives of the SSIO to serve and protect the planet, based on Swami’s teachings.
The Chief Guest, Mr. M. C. Mehta, spoke on four key actions: ‘Go Green, Think Green, Act Green, Live Green’. An internationally acclaimed environmental lawyer and advocate, he said action is necessary at individual, societal and governmental levels to reduce the impact of man’s actions on all living beings. He emphasised the need to work together and not in isolation.
In a recorded discourse, Sathya Sai Baba said, “Man is not making the effort to understand the relationship between man, society, nature and God. There is an intimate relationship between these. Whatever we experience and consume should be within tolerable limits.”
The morning programme continued in the Poornachandra Auditorium. Ms. Katinka van Lamsweerde, member of the SSIO Environmental Committee, beautifully reminded participants that we are all fruits from the same seed of divine love. But sadly, man’s uncontrolled desires have resulted in disastrous consequences for Mother Earth. She highlighted the urgent need for greater awareness, reverence and gratitude towards Nature.
A dynamic panel discussion considered ‘Spiritual Solutions to Environmental Problems’. The panel was moderated by Dr. Anupom Ganguli, Director of Sri Sathya Sai World Foundation, and included Ms. Hrund Hafsteinsdottir, Foreign Minister Counsellor of the Icelandic Government, Ms. Achenyo Idachaba-Obaro, founder of MitiMeth in Nigeria, Ms. Katarzyna Andersson, a child psychologist from Poland, Sri M. C. Mehta, an award-winning environmental lawyer, and Dr. Somenath Mitra, Professor of Environmental Science at New Jersey Institute of Technology, USA.
The panel addressed important environmental concerns, particularly climate change, solutions at policy and personal level, the importance of spirituality to realise the oneness of environment and society and creating greater awareness and knowledge of environmental issues.
The last talk by Ms. Achenyo Idachaba-Obaro was about practical environmental solutions. She articulated how invention and innovation had been at the expense of the environment and she reminded the audience on the importance of looking inwards and making incremental changes in our daily lives. She invited each delegate to consider ways to reduce man’s carbon footprint with renewal sources of energy.
In the afternoon, informative study circles were held around the theme “Tread softly, move reverentially and utilise gratefully”. Delegates discussed ways to build awareness of the unity of God, Nature and man and the practical action points to take back to their countries.
In the evening session in Sai Kulwant Hall, Ms. Hrund Hafsteinsdottir discussed international environmental issues and the environmental initiatives in Iceland. Ms. Achenyo Idachaba-Obaro then discussed her project in Nigeria to creative crafts with Water Hyacinth. The programme ended with Bhajans and Mangala Arathi.
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