November 23, 2010
After the 2005 tsunami, Chancellor Amma explained that such disasters result from the disharmony between man and nature.
“Nowadays, humans are trying to exploit nature,” she stated. “This is why there are floods, droughts and earthquakes, and everything is being destroyed …”
Amma further emphasized, “People do not feel any love and compassion, and the spirit of working together, hand in hand for the good of all, has been lost.”
Now, five years later, Chancellor Amma has taken an unprecedented step toward re-establishing harmony between man and nature by initiating a mass effort to clean up Mother India. She announced the program, now named Amala Bharatam during her 57th birthday celebrations in September.
The program began in Kerala, through which Amma has united Amrita students, faculty and staff members, ashramites, the community and local government. Working together hand in hand, they have begun the process of restoring nature’s harmony destroyed by man’s ignorance.
The Amala Bharatam campaign has not only heightened the sense of social responsibility among Amrita students and their peers, it has also increased their interest in learning more about sustainable environmental practices.
Several batches of students at Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham, Amritapuri campus, have participated in an educational workshop called The Green Experience, taught by Ms. Yamuna.
The workshop helped broaden student awareness about how their choices and actions impact Mother Nature, for better or for worse.
Students watched The Story of Stuff, a 20-minute animated documentary about how man’s obsession with consuming and buying new stuff is trashing the planet, causing degraded environments and mountains of waste.
Students also visited the recycling centre at the ashram to learn how to effectively dispose of waste. There, they were taught how to turn plastic waste into usable items like coin purses and cell phone bags.
At the composting unit, the benefits of this practice were explained. “Composting is a good way to dispose of food waste. The waste is mixed with cow dung and water. After two months, the waste is gone and in its place, you have a nutritious fertilizer.”
“To produce vermicompost, the regular compost is fed to worms, which have a big appetite. After they eat, they produce poop, which is extremely rich in nutrients.”
Students learned that vermicompost is used to grow baby tulasi plants at the ashram; the plants grow unusually fast as a result of this nutrient-rich soil, almost one millimeter a day.
While the demonstration of the vermicompost was definitely a novel experience for the students, the true value of its benefit has a much broader application.
In 2007, while discussing the farmer suicides, Chancellor Amma shared, “The bigger problem is that the soil is losing fertility due to pollution, global warming and the additional demands placed upon the earth due to the exploding population.”
Using vermicompost makes the soil fertile again.
Who knows, maybe Amala Bharatam will pave the way to finding new methods to not only manage waste, but that also transform waste into wealth. A wealth that makes our soil fertile once again, and that sows the seeds to restoring harmony between Mother Nature and man.