Today is Earth Day, an occasion that marks the anniversary of the birth of the modern environmental movement in 1970. Over the decades, millions of people have come together to call for greater protections for our precious planet. Yet, the urgency of humanity’s responsibility to Mother Nature remains.
With this purpose, it was twenty years ago that Embracing the World started Greenfriends, a global collective of volunteers who take action, step-by-step, to heal our world at both the individual and community levels. Today there are thousands of members throughout the Americas, Europe, Australia and Asia.
Swami Jnanamritananda is one of Amma’s senior monks and under her guidance, he founded Greenfriends in India in 2001.
In this downloadable eBook (PDF), he shares how taking responsibility for the damage done to Mother Nature also results in healing our inner hearts. We can live in a world where serving and protecting nature means all beings, both animate and inanimate, live in harmony.
Greenfriends’ initiatives are all about action and putting Amma’s practical suggestions into practice in our own lives. The way we use the Earth’s remaining resources and the way we interact with our natural world are at critical points. Even simple daily choices, like conserving water or keeping reusable shopping bags, can collectively make a big difference.
People of all ages take part in tree-planting drives, vegetable and flower gardening, soil restoration, beekeeping, environmental education, upcycling plastics, fundraising for farmer relief projects in India and more. As of 2021, initiatives include:
· Becoming a member of the United Nations Billion Tree Campaign, having planted more than one million trees around the world
· Donating $15 million US to a Government of India project to clean the Ganges River
· Construction of 12,000 toilets in Kerala’s poor villages
· Creation of Saukhyam Pads, a cotton-and-banana-fiber reusable and biodegradable feminine hygiene product
· Public trash cleanup campaigns around the world
· Innovative waste management and comprehensive recycling and composting for institutions
· Supporting 10,000 impoverished people in rural India to grow organic vegetables on their own land
· Solar- and hydro-power solutions for villages in rural India
· Global environmental awareness campaigns
· The practice of permaculture at our centers worldwide
It is in the context of this care from Amma for Mother Nature that Greenfriends started in 2001 by planting saplings throughout Kerala. Today, it operates on a global level with people participating in this full spectrum of environmental actions.