Article by Manaswini Nedunuri
Manaswini Nedunuri, a Sophomore in Beavercreek High School, was so impressed with our efforts to go green with the Third Sunday Food Sale that she has written the following article to inform the community about the need to use earth-friendly products to serve food!
The Upanishad says “Isavasyam Idam Sarvam” – This entire earth is filled with the divine spirit. From this quote, I understand that we should regard earth as a temple of the lord. Rivers, mountains, and the entire landscape are different organs of the divine manifestation.
The concept of preservation of nature is well woven into the culture of Hindus, who worship nature and its five elements: Earth, Water, Fire, Air, and Ether (space). Human exploitation of these elements over the years has impacted nature who the Hindus regard as Mother since it nourishes all living beings by providing air, water, and food through the five elements.
Daily use of plastics and its disposal is causing great destruction to Mother Earth, contaminating the land and polluting waters and the air. As a Hindu, this is tantamount to hurting our own mother. We must avoid such practices that put great stress on the environment and instead adopt those methods that do not harm the environment.
Wherever possible, plastics must be replaced with safer paper products and those which can be recycled. Recycling prevents dumping of toxic and harmful materials into the very environment we all live in and which we treat as our Mother or as a divine temple. For this very reason, we traditionally ate in banana leaves.
Our temple started its efforts in going green on the 19th of July 2015, with the first Third Sunday Food Sales. Since then we have been distributing the prepared food in Ecoproducts’ sugarcane-based hinged boxes and plates. Even the spoons we have been providing are made of 70% renewable resources and only 30% of virgin polypropylene (used to attain high heat tolerance); and the World Art™ Soup Container used for liquid foods like sambhar is manufactured using 100% renewable resources and BPI certified. Our efforts have gone to the kitchen as well. The Eco Craft® Deli Tissue is 100% virgin petroleum-free and is being used to wrap ingredients. This is only one step towards our eco-friendly future for the Hindu Temple of Dayton, Ohio. I hope that we can switch to earth-friendly products for all of our disposable food service supply needs for the various temple events!