It will travel to various countries and reach South Korea for the next CoP meeting in 2014

“Green Kumbh Yatra”, a unique pilgrimage that will travel across various countries to highlight the importance of conserving biodiversity, was launched here on Sunday with Tridandi Chinna Jeeyar Swami handing over a brass pitcher containing pearls to Dr. Braulio Ferrriera de Souza Dias, Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).

Held on the margins of the ongoing CoP 11, it was described as a pilgrimage dedicated to environment and biodiversity by Kusum Vyas, founder of the Living Planet Foundation, which is organising the yatra. Symbolising ‘web of life’, It would traverse on foot and non-motorised vehicles for a distance 1,125 km in various States and reach Allahabad, the site of Maha Kumbh in January next.

From there, it would travel to various countries and reach South Korea for the next CoP meeting in 2014. Ms. Kusum Vyas said the yatra had already been invited by Nepal and Deputy Mayor of Jerusalem.

Speaking on the occasion, Chinna Jeeyar Swami said the people of India from times immemorial worship birds, trees, animals and even pieces of stones. “People are used to respecting fauna and flora,” he added. Urging people not to pollute air and water, he said it was sad that waste was being dumped in rivers. The religious leaders in India encourage people to protect biodiversity. He said during each Kumbh Mela, one of the 12 rivers would be sanctified. Although it was planned to fill the pitcher with dust from various places since there was objection to it, pearls could be added wherever it was taken.

Dr. Braulio said “nothing can be better than have a meeting like this with an important spiritual leader”.

With India taking over the presidency of COP, he said, “We expect more to benefit from India”.

He said that there was around two million sq.km of degraded land across the world and it would be required for every individual to plant a sapling every year to restore that. He lauded the tradition of sanctifying rivers during Kumbh Mela.

Chairman of the National Biodiversity Authority, P.Balakrishna said Green Kumbh yatra was beginning of a journey and said that a new science of spiritual ecology was growing.