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.
The joy and wisdom of collective festivals.
Ganesh Chaturthi was not always a collective festival until Lokmanya Tilak made it so in an effort to assert Indias cultural independence from the British. 

As per Wikipedia, 

'According to others such as Kaur, the festival became a public event later, in 1892 when Bhausaheb Laxman Javale, installed the first sarvajanik (public) Ganesha idol in Pune.In 1893, the Indian freedom fighter Lokmanya Tilak praised the celebration of Sarvajanik Ganesha Utsav in his newspaper, Kesari, and dedicated his efforts to launch the annual domestic festival into a large, well-organised public event.Tilak recognized Ganesha's appeal as "the god for everybody",and according to Robert Brown, he chose Ganesha as the god that bridged "the gap between Brahmins and non-Brahmins", thereby building a grassroots unity across them to oppose British colonial rule.'
This video explains the significance of the move to a collective festival to assert our independence from the British rule. 
Shared resources
Today, there is another important reason to return to a collective  celebration - the Sarvajanik Ganesh celebration.

This reason is Ecology.

Rather than each family and each home celebrating its own festival, with its own idol and decorations, the concept of the Sarvajanik Ganesh Utsav, suggests that there be a collective gathering with one large idol for a group of people to worship together. This idea is much better ecologically, as it ensures that the resources of idols and decorations are collectively owned and used together by several people. If a fewer number of individual idols are bought, fewer are made and fewer will be immersed into natural water bodies.

Does this mean that the festival will be diluted?

Not at all.
Collective worship and social consciousness
In Pune, which may be considered the home of the Ganesh festival, a massive procession is conducted on the last day of the festival. Men women adults children and elders all join this procession and the creativity and devotion of the citizens of Pune is displayed in all its fervour. 

In the larger Ganesh temples that come up temporarily on the streets, people are invited to join and offer their respects. These temples also have begun to highlight various social and environmental causes, bringing awareness to raise social consciousness. More and more of the Ganesh temples are choosing to immerse their idols in artificial tanks, to avoid the pollution of water bodies.
Ganesh procession in Pune 2018: Indian Express
At the society level
Festivals become an occasion to bring people together - to join hands in creating something and to reassert their love and respect for each other even if they come from diverse faiths. In residential societies, the Ganesh festival is an occassion to look forward to, and different members take on different responsibilities in the organisation of the festival. 

At the end of the worship, a large tank of water is created and the single idol immersed altogether.

This practise of collective worship ensures that only a limited amount of water is required for the immersion ritual, while respecting the age old tradition. If the idol is ecofriendly, this water can then be poured into gardens and can merge back into the earth. In this way the entire symbolic ritual of giving birth to something, worshipping its existence and then submerging it back into Nature is complete.
'The God for everybody'
One of the names of Ganesha is Ganapati. Another is Ganaraya - both of these allude to him being the Lords of the Ganas ...

The word gaṇa (/ˈɡʌnə/Sanskrit: गण) in Sanskrit and Pali means "flock, troop, multitude, number, tribe, series or class". It can also be used to refer to a "body of attendants" and can refer to "a company, any assemblage or association of men formed for the attainment of the same aims". The word "gana" can also refer to councils or assemblies convened to discuss matters of religion or other topics.

In Hinduism, the Gaṇas are attendants of Shiva and live on Mount KailashGanesha was chosen as their leader by Shiva, hence Ganesha's title gaṇeśa or gaṇapati, "lord or leader of the ganas".[1]

( Wikipedia)

While the festival of Ganesh Chaturthi originated in Hindu belief systems, it is now fast becoming a vehicle to bring people together across religious boundaries as well. Tilak's choice of Ganesha as a deity to bind society together is now revealed in the freedom with which new interpretations of his form appear every year. Ganesha is represented as taking so many forms. He could be depicted as a rider on a motorcycle or a woman carrying her baby. Ganesha is finally, you and me. 
Hindus and Muslims celebrate together
Convince your society to make the shift this year
To enable the switch to a sarvajanik Ganesh utsav, eCoexist has been promoting larger idols made of paper mache - these are lighter to handle yet totally biodegradable. Painted with natural pigments they can be immersed in an artificial tank in your own premises and ensure that they do not cause any form of water pollution.
Order our large paper mache idols today!
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.
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