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- Founder of Sikhism
I am a Sikh, and the keystone of the Sikh holy scriptures, and in turn of the faith itself, is Japji Sahib, authored by the founder of the religion, Guru Nanak Dev. Its closing lines are the following divine words said poetically in the original text:
“Air is the Guru, Water is the Father, and Earth is the Great Mother of all. Day and night are the two nurses, in whose lap all the world is at play.”
A living mother nurtures her children from when she conceives them to their birth and until they no longer need her care. Mother Earth goes beyond all breathing mothers in this duty. She continues to embrace all her children even after they stop breathing.
What have we, her children, done in return for her or, rather, to her? We have tortured and exploited her with little care or consideration, even when we learned that our existence and the life and comfort of our next generations, depend on her staying healthy, green and cool.
How could we have been so reckless? As a couple of protest signs in the young hands of attendees at the climate action rally in Newark’s Kells Park’s pavilion on Sunday, Nov. 7, screamed, “There is no PLANet B.”
If the 26th Conference of Parties — COP26 — in Glasgow was a platform for synergizing thinking about what to do to avert the looming existential threat by arresting and reversing climate change globally, this rally was a clarion call for acting locally.
“#Act Now” on climate was its theme.
When New Castle County Executive Matt Meyer, the first of several speakers, asked the crowd of more than a hundred participants how many were under age 30, most of the hands went up.
University of Delaware student Michael Poosikian, who, besides being the emcee of the event, is the president of the Climate Reality Project chapter at UD, answered it for me:
“The reason why so many of my peers are involved in the climate activism movement is just because we want to grow old and lead normal lives like the generations before us ... In essence, my generation really is just asking for a chance to live.”
Fortunately, Poosikian and his peers are not on their own in this struggle. They have organizations and environmental leaders here in Delaware to reinforce and amplify their just demand and deserved right.
Sherri Evans-Stanton, director of Sierra Club’s Delaware Chapter, one of the organizers of the event, said, "Listen to the passionate youth who demand that we prioritize climate action now and for future generations. We must take bold action to create a more just, healthy and equitable future for all."
It would be wrong, however, to assume that older Delawareans are not worried as well. state Rep. Larry Lambert, chair of the Justice Forty Oversight Committee, declared, “Climate change is a deadly serious issue.”
He recounted some of the painful stories told to his committee during three listening sessions across the three counties.
“One mother shared with us that her daughter was left infertile from the pollution in their community in the Sussex County,” he said.
For those in Delaware who are in global-warming denial, they should listen to Sen. Stephanie Hansen, chair of the Senate Environment and Energy Committee: “Delaware is the lowest-lying state in the country. .. and we have already seen a one-foot increase in the sea level in Delaware since 1900 ... they are projecting additional nine inches to 23 inches rise by 2050 and five feet by the end of the century.”
With these immediate and future threats, it was heartening to see a coalition of Delaware organizations joining hands at this rally while the COP26 is continuing to urge all levels of government, various faiths, community groups, businesses and individuals to do whatever they can to give our children and grandchildren a chance to live.
Charanjeet Singh Minhas is a Delaware resident and founder and CEO of Tekstrom Inc. in Wilmington. He is also chairman of Delaware Sikh Awareness Coalition.
This article originally appeared on Delaware News Journal: Delaware climate change: 'Just asking for a chance to live'