This shabad “Pawan Guru Paani Pita Mata Dharat Mahatt” that means air is the guru, water the father and earth the great mother. Guru Granth Sahib explored the environmental importance in our lives centuries ago. I never paid attention to this religious context although I heard it every time I went to the Gurdwara. Gurbani has guided us through its priceless teachings since the ages: messages about the environment. I grew up with these teachings and followed through with them as well. In other words, the loyal love to our great mother nature was actual motivation, but now I realize that love to this mother was founded and blended into my personality through this quote, of which I am so grateful. Why don’t we make a pledge this year and help the environment? It is the perfect Diwali gift to our loved ones. Let’s celebrate this year’s festival of lights in a green way by planting more trees, avoiding fireworks and fulfilling the dreams of our upcoming generations to have this world as a green heaven!
The Festival of Lights has always been celebrated with pollutant-filled fireworks ever since they were introduced. We do not need the use of fireworks while celebrating Diwali because there are many better and non-polluting ways to celebrate Diwali.
For most people the act of setting off of firecrackers is the highlight of Diwali. The brighter the sparkles, the louder the noise - the greater the thrill!! In fact to many of us, these forms of entertainment seem so appropriate and most essential when celebrating the 'Festival of Lights'.
But little do people realize that in our increasingly populated and polluted cities, the temporary joy of watching the firecrackers is soon replaced by the intense air pollution caused by them. The toxic substances used in the firecrackers release toxic gases that are harmful to the health of all living beings.
Sadly, very few of us realize that the firecrackers used on Diwali are also made by very young children. Since the substances being handled are extremely toxic many of these child laborers get sick and die at a young age, usually in their early teenage years.
It is actually safer to watch a fireworks display than it is to burn the crackers. Try and mobilize your neighborhood to not organize a fireworks display, as is the practice in most parts of the world but instead light diyas in your home to maintain the spirit of Diwali.
With this practice you will be eco-friendly and you could be helping to save someone’s life.
Because remember folks, safety first!
As my last word, SHOP LOCAL so we can avoid over heavy packaging… and use reusable containers for food, sweets and gifts etc. Make sure we sort our trash into garbage, recycling and compost. The environment will thank us back!!! We should all step forward to protect the environment and our world in which we live in for the future generations!
I wish you and your family a very happy eco-friendly Diwali and a prosperous new year!!
—The writer is a Grade 8 student, Stewarttown Middle School, Georgetown, Ontario.