Living Planet Foundation celebrates International Day for Biodiversity

June 10, 2010

The ancient Indic heritage established the principles of ecological harmony several centuries ago. The Vedas speak of interconnectedness and co-dependence on the environment and lay moral guidelines towards environmental preservation and conservation. The concept of respect to the earth has been propounded around 2nd millennium BC by Atharva Veda, a foremost ancient scripture which urges all human beings to protect and preserve the environment and behave appropriately towards nature and all its forms of life. The Vedic Hymn to the Earth, the Prithvi Sukta in Atharva Veda explains the relevance of environmental sustenance and biodiversity. Mother Earth is celebrated for all her natural bounties and exploitative tendencies like transgressing ecological principles may only lead to disasters. Environmental ethics and valuing animal life acquire prominent place also in Buddhism and Jainism.

Celebrating the UN International Biodiversity Day to increase understanding and awareness of biodiversity issues, Living Planet Foundation (USA) in cooperation with Rainforest Concern (UK) conducted "Sacred Dimensions of Biodiversity" on 22 May 2010 at Harrow Leisure Centre, Middlesex, with panel discussions and presentations. The evening opened with a dance presentation by dancer Ragasudha Vinjamuri representing Jeeyar Educational Trust, UK. After invocation to Lord Ganesha with Aum and Beejaksharas reverberating in the hall, she presented Dasavataras in the Annamacharya keertana "Indariki Abhayammulichhu Cheyi." The theory of Evolution of Life and Origin of Species is thus symbolised (and described centuries ago by sages and saints) by different incarnations of Lord Vishnu: beginning with aquatic form fish (Matsya), evolving to amphibian form tortoise (Kurma), to land-based mammal (Varaha), to half animal half human (Narasimha) to civilised and intellect human (Rama) etc. and supra-human intellect (Krishna).

Honourable speakers included ecology and environment campaigner Kathy Goldsmith, author in Hinduism and ecology- Ranchor Prime, Ian Stephen from Zoological Society of London and Kusum Vyas from Living Planet Foundation. While Ian spoke on different endangered species of India, Kusum Vyas elaborated on biodiversity in Sacred Gulf of Mannar and its religious connections with the epic Ramayana. A brief round-up on Ram Sethu (the famous bridge between India and Sri Lanka built by Rama) was also given with few satellite images of the site.

Compering and vote of thanks was given by Anuja and the event was supported by Siddhashram Shakti Centre (UK).