Around the world members of AYUDH, our youth movement, are taking further action to help humanity return to balance with nature. In terms of personal development, it is their wish to connect on a deeper level with the environment. On this year’s Earth Day, the focus was one of the essential elements – to plant trees and gardens.
In Kerala for example, AYUDH continued a tree-planting initiative that takes place across the state. Vishuthaineettam (the Fruit Garden Project) is celebrated with Vishu, an age-old tradition in the state which celebrates the coming of spring.
Vishuthaineettam started five years ago, when the Mata Amritanandamayi Math and AYUDH added a new element – the distribution of saplings for youth to plant in their communities. As of today, AYUDH volunteers in Kerala have distributed more than 350,000 saplings.
“Let our children plant and nurture these saplings. We must protect plants, trees and every other living being, understanding them to be a part of us.”Amma
This year, Amma distributed thousands of saplings to AYUDH volunteers at a gathering in Amritapuri. She then instructed about the urgency surrounding the lack of harmony between humankind and nature. She emphasized that it is only through united efforts that harmony can be restored.
“Every natural disaster is a warning to humanity to correct our mistakes if we want to avoid bigger calamities,” she explained. “Let our children plant and nurture these saplings. We must protect plants, trees and every other living being, understanding them to be a part of us.”
The saplings and seeds—which included pomegranate, mango, rose apple, guava, and other species—will be distributed across all 14 of Kerala’s districts by members of Amrita Yuva Dharmadhara (AYUDH)—the youth wing of the Mata Amritanandamayi Math.
During the last five years, AYUDH volunteers have distributed more than 3.5 lakh (350,000) saplings in Kerala through 230 Vishuthaineettam events, conducted in all 14 districts. And since 2000, the Mata Amritanandamayi Math has planted more than 10 lakh (1 million) trees as part of the United Nation’s Billion Tree Campaign.
This year, a new facet of the campaign was inaugurated: giving bird feeders to AYUDH members to include in their deliveries to local households.
Speaking about the importance of setting up birdhouses and feeders, Amma said, “A mere plank of wood is enough. On the plank, leave some water for the birds to drink and a handful of grain. In the heat of the summer, let the birds come and drink the water and eat the grain. Whether you are university student or schoolchild, it is Amma’s dream and desire that all of you take part in this new initiative.”
This Vishu, AYUDH volunteers will also plant fruit orchards at the homes of Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham faculty and other employees, free of cost.
“The Vishuthaineettam initiative has seen unprecedented acceptance among the people of Kerala,” said Swami Amritaswarupananda Puri, Vice-Chairman of the Mata Amritanandamayi Math. “Several other organisations and individuals have started taking it up and are now conducting tree-planting drives in connection with the Vishu celebrations.”
Amma concluded her talk, saying, “How beautiful Kerala would be if it were full of birds, butterflies and flower groves again! If the land becomes bountiful, that bounty will reflect in our individual lives as well. We will be full of joy and beauty, within and without.”
Meanwhile for Earth Day 2019, AYUDH members in Pune, Maharashtra planted trees native to their area along a major riverside. Some of the saplings had been shown to Amma when she was in Pune on her North India Tour at the end of February.
The group said their goal was to celebrate the fact that trees are the best monuments humanity can erect in their own legacy because they are a blessing to our children yet unborn. Trees hold critical keys to supporting the world’s future environment.
According to UNESCO’s Global Action Programme on Education for Sustainable Development, they boost carbon capture, which brings associated benefits for biodiversity, food security, livelihoods and rural economies. AYUDH Pune also said that for them, every day is Earth Day and they look forward to a time when all human beings care about the Earth as much as they care about their own personal needs.
In Mangaluru, AYUDH organised a seed ball making event this past Sunday, naming it “Play in the Mud Like a Kid”. They collected varieties of wild fruit seeds that attract birds and animals in their geographical location. Due to deforestation, the health of many of these trees and the quality of their fruits have declined.
To reverse this trend, the youth decided to start by making this small effort. They rolled mud balls in their hands while working in the seeds. The seed balls will be dispersed in public areas where the trees and plants can grow well. At the end of the day, AYUDH Mangaluru created a total of 700 seed balls.
These are only a few of the events that AYUDH youth held for Earth Day 2019. As another example, 40 AYUDH from across the US were in Atlanta, Georgia to discuss their goals for the coming year. As part of the event, they planted trees and garden plants. For AYUDH, efforts such as these continue around the world every day of the year. Since 2000, the Mata Amritanandamayi Math and AYUDH have planted more than one million trees as part of the United Nation’s Billion Tree Campaign.