NEWYORK/Toronto, August 28 (Raj Gogna )-yesterday Over 25 EcoSikh members, political leaders of various parties, and representatives of various Gurdwaras joined to plant the first ceremonial tree in celebration of Guru Nanak’s 550th birth-anniversary at a historically important site of Black Creek Pioneer Village. A silver pine tree was planted symbolizing the connection with Canada and the historic site where first immigrants were welcomed. Toronto Region and Conservation Authority worked with EcoSikh Canada team to finalize the strategic site where this tree has been planted.A Sikh prayer was recited by the local gurdwara president before the plantation and this marked the first tree in Canadian history being planted in Guru Nanak’s honor.“Sikhs believe in peace, unity and dedicated servitude to all humanity. Canada is our beautiful home with rich cultural and bio diversity. With such beauty, comes great responsibility for our environment. It was truly and honour to see the overwhelming community support this weekend and we are planning to make a big difference with our strong partnerships and community engagement 55,000 tree planting goal by 2021,” said, Roop Singh Sidhu, President of EcoSikh Canada.

Rob Keen, CEO, Forests Ontario, welcomed the members of the Sikh community and members of the EcoSikh at the occasion with the backdrop of the EcoSikh banner and three Canadian flags. A partnership between two organizations were announced and EcoSikh Canada Chair Roop Singh Sidhu announced that the Sikh community will plant 55,000 trees in Canada in celebrating Guru Nanak’s 550th birthday. EcoSikh Canada has already commitment from a number of Gurdwaras in the Toronto area to plant 550 trees in various locations.

Dr. Rajwant Singh, EcoSikh Global President especially flew from Washington to join this important occasion and said, “As followers of Guru Nanak, who was the first environmentalist, we need to honor his legacy and his birthday celebration by planting 1 million trees. It has become critical that we increase green cover all over the world especially the havoc caused by the burning of the Amazon rain forest in Brazil.” He further added, “EcoSikh is committed to plant 1 million trees in honor of 550th anniversary and we appeal to all those who love Guru Nanak to join in this noble drive.”EcoSikh Canada’s next tree plantation event is in partnership with Credit Valley Conservation at Courtney Park Athletic Fields in Mississauga. It is planning to plant 200 trees in this drive.

Others who spoke at this occasion and supported EcoSikh’s initiative were Conservation Authority Mike Schmitz, Dr. Rajwant Singh, Founder and President, EcoSikh Global, Maria Augimeri, NDP MP Candidate for Humber River-Black Creek and former Chair of Toronto and Region Conservation Authority, Andrea Velasquez Jimenez , NDP MP Candidate for York Centre, Nancy Ghuman, Green Party MP Candidate for Etobicoke North, and Mike Schmitz, Green Party MP Candidate for Humber River-Black Creek. Ruby Sahota, MP of Liberal Party could not join at the last minute to schedule issue but sent her regrets and Harjit Sajjan, National Defence Minister sent greetings.EcoSikh’s global organization was established in 2009 and it has engaged the worldwide Sikh community on climate change issues. EcoSikh has planted 32 mini forests in Punjab in the recent months to combat climate change. The organization was derived from meetings with Prince Philip’s Alliance of Region and Conservation (ARC) and the United Nations’ Development Programme (UDNP).EcoSikh Canada is appealing the community to support its tree plantation drive in the country and asking people to donate at EcoSikh Canada is a not-for-profit, charitable organization created to support awareness through partnership and active participation in the reversal of climate change.

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