By Dayananda das
It pains me to see that some iskcon centers use foam plates to serve prasadam and plastic cups for water and juices. foam is not easily bio-degradable and stays in the environment for 500 years. Plastic cups usually go in regular garbage and are not recycled. whenever possible I donate paper plates to nearby iskcon center.
I used to visit a small temple in Portland, Oregon. They used to serve prasadam in statinless steel plates and glasses. After eating, everybody used to wash their plate and glass. I know this is possible only in a small center.
Devotees can donate paper products which are bio-degradable and/or made from recycled materials to their respective temples.
Iskcon preachers can consider preaching living green. At least 100 or more pairs are hearing their class. IMHO, all resources belong to Krishna and we should not plunder them like spendthrift children.
Preachers need to go further than just preaching about living green; they need to demonstrate it. Krishna tells us in Bhagavad-gita that others follow the examples leaders set, not what they preach. When I was a brahmachari in Honolulu, from 1969-’73, the temple devotees ate from steel plates, and when we served large feasts, we used banana or other large leaves, which we composted afterward.
Nowadays, we can buy plastic utensils made from corn, etc., and most paper plates and such can be easily degraded, but not when put into landfills. It’s really only helpful to use such things if the devotees compost them, either with compost bins or vermiculture. Urban temples may need to use a little creative thinking to do so, but ISKCON has always featured the brightest and most creative folks.
There are hundreds of iskcon centers in the world. There might be hundreds of home preaching programs. So every Sunday, we might be serving 50,000 plates of prasadam. If we use eco-friendly plates and glasses and recycle/compost them, we will do something positive for environment. Wherever possible, we can keep recycling bins in iskcon center and devotees taking care of garbage disposal can use them. Visitors can be requested to use recycling bins. Most cities in the US and West have recycling facilities.
Western Europe is big on recycling and US is catching up. If we do this, it will be good PR for iskcon. Younger visitors will be positively impressed.
I suggest, GBC takes environmental issues on their agenda in their next annual meeting. Evangelists have already taken up these issues in the US. We should not fall behind, in fact we should outdo Evangelists in this matter.
I appreciate your perspectives on the environment, Vaishnav and Babhru Prabhus. However, your action items for preachers are analogous to cleaning the spots from the moon.
I favor a bold, activist approach based on the teachings of Prabhupada and the Vedas. In that context, when people suck the oil from the earth and kill billions of Krishna’s living beings, they rape and destroy, far beyond their ability to atone. Yo bhunkte stena eva sah “They steal from Krishna.” Similarly, when devotee householders do not give at least 50% of their incomes, especially those based on the meat-eating economy, they are implicated in the reactions. That is Prabhupada’s teaching.
Under different cirtumstances I could have been more polite, but your comments about prechers were not on point or in context.