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India: National Summer Camp held to create awareness of the environment

Tarumitra camp in Allahabad (Photo supplied)

A National Summer Camp for students was held to create awareness of the environment at a Jesuit-run eco center at Prayagraj [Allahabad], India’s northern state of Uttar Pradesh.
The June 1 -5 programme was one of the ways that Tarumitra, India's largest youth environment movement celebrated World Environment Day on June 5.
The World Environment Week Celebrations, attended by student representatives of various high school units, concluded Sunday, June 5, at Shanti Sadan Prayagra.
The student movement grew out of a Student Leadership Training activity in 1988, initiated by EcoJesuit Father Robert Athickal. 
Tarumitra (friends of trees in Hindi and Sanskrit) is now in 23 states of India and with around 2,000 schools and colleges in the country. 
Over 250,000 youngsters across the country are connected to the organization. The primary focus is on the conservation of biodiversity and the promotion of ecological sensitivity.
The headquarters is in Patna, Bihar, India which is a bio-reserve that students planted and now regularly manage. The current director of 'Tarumitra Ashram' is Jesuit Father Anthony Pendanath.
The core of the movement is Jesuit eco-spirituality. 
“Mysticism consists in transcending the temporary into the eternal, from the prosaic rituals to an intimacy of 'one-ing' with the Divine,” says Father Robert. 
He often says that Jesuit tradition is intimately based on the mystical experience of Saint Ignatius by the river Cardoner when the saint experienced the oneness of things in God.
Tarumitra received the UN Special Consultative Status (ECOSOC) in 2005, enabling it to participate in events like the UN High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development where progress on the Sustainable Development Goals is reviewed with the UN member-states.
Students representing Tarumitra participate in UN Summits and these 'young green leaders' from time to time address General Assemblies on ecological concerns.
“We are called to be mystics, in intimate communion with a sense of cousinship with the entire universe,” says the Biblical theologian, Father George Mlakuzhy from Delhi. 

Shwera Marandi attend UN conference in 2008 (Photo supplied)

"Tarumitra’s green journey is animated by committed youth who actively respond to and engage with urgent environmental global issues, and in caring for our common home. Tarumitra works on the principle of Universal Cousinship and strongly advocates that “the whole world is my family,” says Tarumitra executive Devopriya Dutta who has been working with the organization since 2015.
Tarumitra welcomes interns from many universities in India and abroad to work with the school children who participate in their ecological programs. 
Interns have come from 23 of the 29 states of India, as well as from the United States, Belgium, Zambia, Germany, Switzerland, Honduras, Mexico, Ecuador, Panama, El Salvador, Columbia, Guatemala, and Bolivia. 
The University of Zamorano in Honduras, for example, sends interns for up to six months. 

They can take short or long assignments in environmental education, organic farming, advocacy, environmental campaigns, and social media networking. - Frank Krishner 


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