In ancient times, humans lived in the lap of nature and attributed divine qualities to it. Awed by storms, earthquakes, floods, famines and other such natural disasters, they worshipped nature and her power believing it to be superhuman. From this belief were born the ideas of religion and God. Holy places were built to worship God.
We seem to have come a long way from those times. Now, as we advance scientifically and technologically, we are trying to gain total control over nature, flouting the basic rules of this divine creation.
To instills fear, devotion and discipline in the individual. Society had developed traditions around the holy places of all communities. However, with change in values and thinking and despite our avowed devotion, today we hardly think about the body offerings turning into waste around the same holy places. Pollution in the form of waste and noise has increased a lot around these places. People living in the neighborhood of these places find it difficult to live here. The sanctity of holy places is being lost.
Earlier, temples used to have ideal environments. Surrounded by trees such as the Neem or Peepal, and lakes that gathered up the train to raise water levels in the ground, temples occupied vast areas. Area around them looked serene. However, now, we find waste, dirt and pollutants around places of worship that can only cause physical harm and psychological disquiet.
Let us work on a project to save our holy places. Visit the place and observe the surroundings. Work out a plan to meet the authorities managing the holy place. If you choose a temple, convince the authorities to do away with plastic and to make use natural leaves to hand out the Prasad. Example how the coconut shells could be used as fuel and the flowers and leaves could be turned into manure. All offering should be recycled in an environmentally friendly manner.
Significance of festivals
Traditional beliefs surround such festivals as Holi, Deepavali, Bhogi, Sankranthi, Ugadi, Vinayakachavithi, Bakrid, and Ramzan and Christmas, for instance, on Sankranthi, the kite-flying festival day, we are required to eat sesame seeds with jaggery, prepare a report on this custom from an environmental perspective and say why, according to you, the tradition may have been introduced. Find out why Christian fast during Lent and Good Friday, why Muslims fast during Ramzan and Hindus during Vaikunta Ekadashi, Maha Sivarthi and Mahalaya Amavasya. Find out about the foods people of different communities eat to break fast. Organize a seminar in your collage and your discoveries.