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“Building friendships among different faiths”
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“Building friendships among different faiths”

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Harnoor Gill Ap 16Complaining is easier than finding a solution, writes Harnoor Gill, 18, a Commonwealth Correspondent from Georgetown in Canada, but this event involved youth in solving two problems at the same time.

The funny thing about our world is that people love to complain about what’s wrong with it, while the people in this world who try to make it better are left to deal with these negatives.

Our climate currently suffers from global warming, an ongoing threat to all of humanity, and if that doesn’t scare you, I don’t know what will.

The deforestation of the Amazon rain forest has slowed down since 2004, but the forest cover continues to dwindle nonetheless. It’s important to realise how complaining about the loss of the rain forest does not help bring back the rain forest! Taking action against deforestation with a positive outlook of planting trees does, though. It’s easier to complain about a problem and it’s tougher to bring yourself to take action against it with a well-considered and effective solution.

I had the opportunity of being a part of a Youth Tree planting session to fulfil not only the goal of planting trees but to also bring together interfaith groups for cultural and religious harmony. The main purpose of the event was to promote a deeper understanding of religions and faith traditions, and to promote our harmony with nature at the same time. The session was held locally, and was supported by the local municipality through its initiative of the One Million Trees project. Also joining the venture were the Solel Congregation Synagogues representing the Jewish faith and Fo Guang Shan Temple representing the Buddhist faith.

I had a great time representing my faith of Sikhism along with other faith denominations attending, including Islamic and Hinduism.

The Action Project that was at hand was being able to promote a deeper understanding from participants that attended last year’s Interfaith Youth Forum. In fact, this Action Project was first proposed by a wonderful youth, Emily Pattenick from the Solel Congregation Synagogue, during last year’s forum.

The people and religious leaders attended this awesome event included those representing Judaism, Mahayana Buddhism, Theravada tradition Buddhism, a non-profit organisation promoting environmentalism, Sikhism, Hinduism, Catholicism, NGOs, and those with no identified faith backgrounds.

The event was a blast, and it was great day at Mullet Creek Park. I got to meet different youth and foster friendships between people that I had never met before. There were youth present from different religions and faith traditions, at the same time contributing towards the community as well as the environment.

It was quite the task, but we all got together for this amazing initiative to buckle up and plant over 100 trees. There were many people enthusiastic to dig for the trees, apply the mulch and continue the process for those two hours. As the day went on, it got quite humid but the refreshments on site helped to keep everyone’s energy levels up with a positive outlook.

This event really looked at how different faith groups can come together to support a common cause for the greater good of humanity. In this case, Mullet Creek Park is now home to over 100 newly planted trees, all helping to keep our ecosystems thriving and clean for the rest of the world to witness.

Although some may find it hard to understand, while it may seem easier to complain about a problem in fact taking action to fix it with an outgoing solution does more for the world. In any case, I felt accomplished in assisting with this event and I cannot thank the organisers enough for inviting me to help restore our planet Earth with one tree at a time.

Photo courtesy of Harnoor Gill

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About me: I am a student in Georgetown, Canada, and founder of the Peace Welcome Club. I love to volunteer, read, write, and play basketball. I volunteer with local environmental and youth organizations and am dedicated to raising awareness about youth volunteering. My writing has been published in Indo-Canadian Voice, Asian Journal, Times of India, The Independent & Free Press, and in Amazing Kids! Magazine.
https://www.facebook.com/PeaceWelcomeClub
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Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the Commonwealth Youth Programme. Articles are published in a spirit of dialogue, respect and understanding. If you disagree, why not submit a response?
To learn more about becoming a Commonwealth Correspondent please visit: http://www.yourcommonwealth.org/submit-articles/

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