Making ISKCON Temples Eco-Friendly By Nirguna dasi
His Holiness Bhakti Rasamrita Swami (previously H. G.Devamrita Das) spoke this past month at the ICC meetings (a Conference of ISKCON leaders) about the need for ISKCON temples and projects, in India, to consider implementing environment friendly standards.
Maharaj feels that Nature, as much as everything else, belongs to Krishna. As devotees, we should try in every way to counter or at least not add to the present environmental degradation.
Maharaj has surmised his ideas for ISKCON temples to adopt in the paper posted below.
Making ISKCON Temples Eco-Friendly
As a well-known and world-wide spiritual institution with a large member of followers, ISKCON is aware of its responsibility to the environment. In pursuance of this responsibility, we wish to formulate strategies for a step-by-step progression in the level of eco-friendliness of our Temples and other projects in India, leading to the setting up of practical standards of compliance. The culmination of course, will be “Green Temples”. Participation or suggestions from temples and projects outside India are most welcome.
In considering eco-friendliness, the following would need to be considered:
(For construction, interiors, kitchen and other equipment, packing and storage, stationery, clothing and other personal effects etc.)
(For lighting, heating, cooking, transportation, domestic and other appliances, etc.)
(Conservation, Recycling, Harvesting rain-water)
(For conserving water or for cooking, or for saving energy or for building structures and so on.)
(For solid and liquid waste)
(e.g. Organic foods, cooking mediums, utensils, fuels, packed foods, preferred and avoidable types of food, etc.)
(For different purposes. Encouraging the use of plants indigenous to the local or geographical region.)
(Being aware of health hazards of eco-unfriendly practices)
(Current levels of usage vs ideal standards)
(Educating devotees about the need for being more eco-friendly)
These proposals are not intended to be compulsory requirements. Nevertheless, we urge all our temples and projects to follow certain minimum standards of compliance. We highly encourage and if possible will reward movement up the scale to higher standards of eco-friendliness. It will be left to the inspiration and motivation of individual Temples to adopt the standard.
Therefore, we wish to set up practically do-able, relatively simple, cost-effective and reviewable standards. This will be a basic list of do’s and don’ts of sorts.
We propose that this be done in FIVE LEVELS.
Level One will be the bare minimum standard that we expect every Temple to follow. This should be very easy to implement. (For e.g. Not using plastic bags, cups and glasses, conserving water etc.)
Level Five will be the highest standard. This would qualify for a genuinely “Green Temple” status in an urban setting.
There could be Level Six and Seven, it possible, for projects in rural areas, where higher standards are feasible.
We do not, as a rule, intend to obtain Eco-Friendly Certification from well known external institutions. (Of course, individual Temples may do so, if they wish). The certification that we intend for our Temples is our internal certification
Anyone interested in contributing their time and efforts, providing information or expertise are encouraged to please assist in this project. If anyone is, or knows of environment experts who may be able to help with a blueprint for an eco friendly or Green Temple, please do contact me:
( Research Coordinator)