Sustainability Initiative

“Earth provides enough to satisfy everyone’s need, but not everyone’s greed.”

― Mahatma Gandhi

Dharmic perspectives—embedded in doctrines and principles that posit living in symbiosis with the natural world as a spiritual and existential imperative—are indispensable to the quest for a viable planetary future.

The devastation of the ecosphere is inextricably linked to unsustainable economic, societal, racial, geopolitical, and cultural relationships. To enable the restoration and flourishing of the ecosystems of the biosphere, human societies need to be reimagined and reordered in terms of economic, cultural, religious, racial, and social equitability. The epistemic paradigms that have led to climate change and the ravaging of the earth, are not likely to lead the healing of the same. As such, ways of knowing that are embedded in religion, culture, and tradition are essential resources for the human transformation necessary for environmental regeneration and renewal.

Dharmic theologies, philosophies, texts, traditions, and ethics have much to offer the global endeavor to create a Sustainable Future for the biosphere. The Mira and Ajay Shingal Center initiative for Dharma & Sustainability sponsors Conferences, Specialized Symposia, Lectures, and Publications towards the fostering and development of the emerging area of Sustainability Studies in engagement with the ancient spiritual traditions of India.

CDS hosted a two-day conference on 28th & 29th April, 2017 exploring interreligious and interdiscplinary approaches to building sustainable societies. The event featured panel conversations and presentations from a host of renowned educators, including more than twenty scholars from across the GTU and its member schools and centers. Plenary speakers included internationally known scholar of ecology and religion Dr. Mary-Evelyn Tucker of Yale University, and Dr. Anantantand Rambachan of St. Olaf College.

Events included panel discussions featuring experts from the GTU and beyond addressing the following themes:

  • Virtue Ethics for a Sustainable World
  • Ecovillages & Environmentally Conscious Living
  • Art, Literature, Ritual & Ecology
  • Religious & Ethnic Diversity: Empowerment and Emancipation
  • Conversations on Saturday with panels addressed: 
  • Theology, Sustainability, and the Natural Sciences
  • Dharma and Right Relationships

The closing portion of the conference focused on Hindu Ecophilosophy and Ecotheology, and featured a keynote by Dr. Anantanand Rambachan (who offered the GTU's 2015 Surjit Singh lecture), and panel conversations on Advaita Vedanta and Vaishnava Vedanta.

 

FROM GREED TO GREEN: THE ART & SCIENCE OF SUSTAINABLE LIVING IN INDIA

By His Grace Gauranga Dasa Prabhu

 

The GTU's Mira and Ajay Shingal Center for Dharma Studies hosted His Grace Gauranga Dasa Prabhu who spoke on sustainable living as showcased by the Govardhan Ecovillage in India. Response by Devin Zuber of the Center for Swedenborgian Studies.

On September 23rd 2016, His Grace Gauranga Dasa Prabhu offered a presentation on the internationally acclaimed Govardhan Ecovillage, of which he is the co-founder along with HH Shri Radhanath Swami. The presentation took place in the Doug Adams Gallery of Center for the Arts and Religion (CARe) of the GTU. The CARe Gallery is currently exhibiting a nature-oriented series of canvases: The Hermitage of Landscape: Works by Nicholas Coley, which made a perfect background for Gauranga Prabhu’s presentation on the preservation and protection of the natural world.

HG Gauranga Prabhu graduated from the Indian Institutes of Technology, Mumbai, in 1993. He is Vice-President of the Sri Sri Radha-Gopinath temple, Chowpatty, in Mumbai, India. HG Gauranga Prabhu is a senior disciple of H.H. Radhanath Swami Maharaj and a major contemporary exponent of the application of the teachings of Krishna Bhakti to the most demanding challenges of our time.  As a personal compelling interest in dedicated spiritual service became an undeniable calling, he moved in as a full time pastor at the ISKCON Center in Chowpatty in Mumbai. Today, he is a sought-after speaker on the many projects that he leads and manages--including the acclaimed Govardhan Ecovillage initiative.

In addition to conducting seminars widely across a large number of prominent Engineering colleges, medical colleges, and management institutes, he also counsels on stress management in several co-operative organizations for senior level managers. Featuring on the popular “Atma,” a daily spiritual discourse on the Star TV network, he ministers to millions in India and U.K. He lectures internationally on integrative approaches to a productive life lived in service to a more just and sustainable society.