THE CROAK is a weekly environmental newsletter put out by the eCoexist team. It is the voice of the environment on its last legs, the final croak that can either be a plea for attention or a call of triumph as the frogs jump out of the well of ignorance and denial.

Elevating beliefs to conservation

Several cultures and philosophies around the world have integrated the mountain as a symbol of the sacred in their cosmology. Mount Meru (Sanskrit: मेरु), also recognized as Sumeru, Sineru or Mahāmeru, is the sacred five-peaked mountain of Hindu, Jain, and Buddhist cosmology and is considered to be the center of all the physical, metaphysical and spiritual universes.

This belief system also gets translated into built form in temple architecture. Many famous Buddhist and similar Jain as well as Hindu temples have been built as symbolic representations of this mountain. The "Sumeru Throne" 須彌座 xūmízuò style base is a common feature of Chinese pagodas. The highest point (the finial bud) on the pyatthat, a Burmese-style multi-tiered roof, represents Mount Meru. The word ' shikhara' which is used to describe the roof of a temple literally translates into 'Mountain Peak'. 

Yet, how does this belief in sanctity of mountain landscapes influence the relationship humans have with them? In some cultures, mountains become pilgrimage spots attracting thousands of people at certain times of the year. In other indigenous cultures, they are meant to be protected, venerated for the energy they exude, circumambulated but never climbed. The beliefs vary and so do the relationships. 

Sacred Mountains

In India, we find that there are several individual mountains , as well as ranges that have been considered sacred by different religious groups. Sometimes they are associated with a holy figure or a saint, such as Mt Govardhana or Arunachalam. Sometimes they are the site of sacred groves or temples. and most often , they are energy centers , with the ability to invoke spiritual experience. 

Our reverence for them does not always bode well for the mountain ecosystem itself, and mountains that have become pilgrimage spots also suffer the consequences of having lakhs of visitors every year. However this reverence also has a crucial role to play in programs to preserve cultural and biological diversity. 

Read more about the sacred mountains of India
Dr. Edwin Bernbaum
Register Here

This REVIVE session, tells the story of two such sacred mountains. In a presentation illustrated with striking images, Edwin Bernbaum describes two projects that have taken this approach: one, to restore a sacred forest at Badrinath, the major pilgrimage shrine in the Indian Himalaya; the other to nominate Mount Kailas in Tibet and the pilgrimage routes leading to it from India and Nepal as an UNESCO trans-boundary World Heritage Site.

Edwin Bernbaum, Ph.D., is Co-Chair of the IUCN specialist group on Cultural and Spiritual Values of Protected Areas (CSVPA) and Senior Fellow at The Mountain Institute. A scholar of comparative religion and mythology, his work focuses on the relationship between culture and the environment. His book Sacred Mountains of the World won the Commonwealth Club of California's gold medal for best work of nonfiction and was the basis for an exhibit of his photographs at the Smithsonian Institution.

To help host Dr Bernbaum , we also have with us

Abhimanyu Pandey,  author of the book Kailash Yatra

Prof Aditya Purohit, who is an Indian scientist and professor who has mainly worked on ecophysiology of tree species and physiology of high altitude medicinal plants, and 

Arch. Kai Weise , UNESCO Consultant and an architect and urban planner who lives and works in Kathmandu Nepal and has done research on Mt Kailas.

Watch a talk by Ed on the link below...

Join the REVIVE series every Sunday

During the recent COVID 19 lockdown, eCoexist began a series of web talks called REVIVE - as a way to reconnect with self, with community and with Nature. These talks started as chats between friends to see how we were going to work towards a new normal and to find a way to envision a different future. Slowly, our audience grew to include more people and the discussions to cover various aspects of Sustainability and Self. 

Every Sunday, we welcome you to connect with us through the REVIVE talks, that is bringing together a fantastic community of sensitive and brilliant people, with whom we can co create a new future. 

The talks are free for registration and have ample time and space for a deep and authentic conversation with the speaker. Some of our guests are otherwise difficult to reach as they live and work in remote locations and so these are precious opportunities to hear from them in person. 

Visit the REVIVE webpage
Register for REVIVE : 13 Sept

You are invited to a Zoom webinar.
When: Sunday, 13 Sept, 2020 7.30 pm India
Topic: Revive w Ecoexist - CONSERVING SACRED MOUNTAINS : Badrinath and Mt Kailas

Register in advance for this webinar:

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

Register Here
The REVIVE Support network : Contributing to a new paradigm

On 19 July, we launched a new initiative, the REVIVE support network to collect funds for authentic work done by various NGOS on issues of sustainability. We invite our esteemed speakers to recommend a deserving group that needs financial support. Participants of the talk are invited to send small ( or large!) amounts to the eCoexist foundation over the next few days. This contribution is gathered and then sent as a collective sum to the organisation identified by the speaker. 

On 19 July we raised RS 27,000 which was sent to the Grama Vikas group in Mulbagal, Karnataka on the guidance of our speaker S Vishwanath who knows their work closely. During the Ganesh campaign we raised Rs 80,000 to support the Assam Haathi Project led by Nandita Hazarika who spoke to us on REVIVE. Our network has also sent funds to farmers in Andhra Pradesh to give them working capital to overcome COVID losses. 

We will continue this effort for all the upcoming speakers. Participants can pay as little as Rs 100 to contribute. 

The registration for the REVIVE talks is FREE and the organisers and speakers both offer their time and energy in creating these talks voluntarily. You are also welcome to send in a voluntary contribution to REVIVE to enable us to expand the reach of  this series. 

The REVIVE support network allows for all of us to enable authentic work on the ground to help our country and its people through this crisis and to protect our natural resources. We welcome you to join our efforts. 

( Pl mention the cause for which you would like to contribute on your transfer)

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The Croak is a weekly environmental newsletter put out by the eCoexist team. It is the voice of the environment on its last legs, the final croak that can either be a plea for attention or a call of triumph as the frogs jump out of the well of ignorance and denial. Satirical, urgent and wise the newsletter brings to your attention, topics of global environmental relevance as well as emerging encouraging alternatives. Put together by a team of passionate Nature lovers, The Croak hopes to look at the environmental crisis in its face. It is a tool to reconnect readers to Nature, through questioning and self reflection. To understand the outer environment as a reflection of our own inner state, individually and as a species. And to take responsibility for enabling change.
If you would like to contribute articles on ecology consciousness and sustainability please get in touch with us.

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