His Teachings

Respecting the Earth

Stewards of the Earth

The Sikh holy book, the Guru Granth Sahib, states: 

You shall find peace, and your mind shall be soothed and cooled; the fire of desire shall not burn within you.

The Guru has revealed God to Nanak, in the three worlds, in the water, the earth and the woods. 

Being good stewards of the Earth is a crucial component of Sikhism. Guru Nanak taught that all beings, all life, all elements, and all of creation are part of a greater whole, and part of God. When we mistreat our surroundings, we are only reflecting our inner pain and distance from God; when we care for them, we are moving closer to God and will be able to know peace. 

Sikhs understand that the Qadir, or Creator, is One with the Qudrat, or Creation. 

Sikhism does not ascribe to the notion that man can “harness” or overcome nature; instead, man must learn to live harmoniously with all the elements of nature to honor creation and live peacefully. 

Advocates of Environmental Change

Today, Sikhs continue to be great stewards of the earth—supporting  and participating in environmental movements that seek to heal our damaged planet. EcoSikh is a group founded by Sikh environmental leaders in 2009 to address the climate crisis. This year, the organization planted 33 sacred forests in Punjab, India in just six months. Using a Japanese methodology called Miyawaki, EcoSikh planted forests that will be dense, full of natural vegetation, bio-diverse, organic, and maintenance-free, with a high rate of survival. 

In honor of Guru Nanak’s 550th birthday on November 12th, several Sikh communities donated 550 trees to their neighborhoods and local parks. In Arizona, Sikhs helped beautify Phoenix neighborhoods and stave off heat by planting draught-resistant species. In the UK, Sikhs from Ipswitch planted 550 trees in nearby Landseer Park. And in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Sikhs partnered with the Department of Parks and Recreation to plant trees across the state. 

Every year, Sikhs celebrate Environment Day, or Sikh Vatavaran Diwas. This year, Sikhs across six continents are preparing 1,500 grassroots projects, including water conservation and solar energy projects, tree plants, organic farming workshops, and marches.