Respecting the Earth is a central tenet of Sikhism
Guru Nanak emphasized the importance of living in harmony with the Earth, teaching that all life is in unity with one another and that the Earth and universe are sacred. He taught that the reality we create around us is a reflection of our inner state; and in order to live in resonance and oneness with the planet, we must ascend to a higher spiritual state through a respect for all of God’s creation.
Sikhism and Environmentalism
Respecting the environment is a major principle of the Sikh faith. Sikhs seek to live in harmony with each other and the Earth, understanding the truth of the oneness of all of God’s creation.
Guru Nanak stated that air, earth and water are necessary components of life, that we come from them and must respect Earth as our mother.
The holy scripture says:
ਪਉਣ ਪਾਣੀ ਧਰਤੀ ਆਕਾਸ ਘਰ ਮੰਦਰ ਹਰਿ ਬਨੀ ॥
Pauṇ pĝṇī ḝẖarṯī ĝkĝs gẖar manḝar har banī.
Air, water, earth and sky – the Lord has made these His home and temple.
Sikhs strive to live by this, acknowledging the natural abundance all around them to be truly sacred. In fact, Gurdwaras, or places of worship, are often surrounded by beautiful pools of fish and marine life to represent a balance between man and nature.
Sikhs believe that humanity cannot find peace or truth while they mistreat the planet, which, given the oneness of all things, is akin to mistreating themselves. To continue to destroy nature in pursuit of material wealth is to succumb to greed and distance one’s self from creation and the peace of knowing God.
ਸਾਂਤਿ ਪਾਵਹਿ ਹੋਵਹਿ ਮਨ ਸੀਤਲ ਅਗਨਿ ਨ ਅੰਤਰਿ ਧਖੀ ॥ ਗਰ ਨਾਨਕ ਕਉ ਪਰਭੂ ਦਿਖਾਇਆ ਜਲਿ ਥਲਿ ਤਰਿਭਵਣਿ ਰਖੀ ॥੨॥੨॥੩੦॥
Sĝŉṯ pĝvahi hoveh man sīṯal agan na anṯar ḝẖukẖī. Gur Nĝnak kao parabẖū ḝikẖĝiĝ jal thal ṯaribẖavaṇ rukẖī.
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.