Conclave of Bishops Discuss WASH and Climate Change in Kerala
During the International Conference on Climate Change and the Developing World at the CMS College in Kerala, sponsored by UGC and organized in association with the Church of South India Synod and Nilackal Ecological Commission, Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswati and Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswati led the renowned archbishops and bishops in a pledge to take care of our water bodies, to keep them clean and protect them, and also to work for sanitation and hygiene.
Pujya Swamiji emphasized that we have built enough churches and enough temples for now, and that now we need to build toilets (and of course educate and inspire people to use them). He said that we should pledge that until there is a toilet facility on the grounds of every church and temple we should not build any more churches or temples. He deeply inspired the Christian leaders to take the mission of WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) to their congregations and communities. He said, “We need congregations for sanitation!”
Pujya Swamiji also emphasized the importance of not only the outer climate but also the inner climate, within our own minds and hearts – is the heat on inside also?
As the theme of the whole conference was Climate Change, Sadhvi Bhagawatiji emphasized the role that each of our choices, every day, can make in mitigating the crises of climate change and lack of clean, safe water. Through organic agriculture, through buying local, and most importantly by being a vegetarian we can personally make huge impacts in both sectors. Sadhviji emphasized that Jesus told us to “Love thy neighbor as thyself,” and Hinduism teaches “Vasudhaiv Kutumbakam” (the world is one family). Thus, the children suffering and dying due to lack of clean water, lack of sanitation, lack of hygiene and from hunger due to the gross proportion of food grains fed to livestock rather than to people ARE our neighbors whom we are supposed to love as ourselves, and they ARE part of our family. Hence our choices of what to eat, what to wear and what to purchase should support not only our own desires but also their health and their lives.