Environmental stewardship is the social responsibility of every individual and in this article we reflect on our duty to leave the planet in a better condition than we found it.

“....For our faith constantly reminds us to observe and be thankful for the beauty of the world and the universe around us, and our responsibility and obligation, as good stewards of God’s creation, to leave the world in a better condition than we found it.” Mawlana Hazar Imam.

It is said that man is Allah’s best creation and for man, He created an Earth. Paradise on Earth has always been analogous to gardens. Gardens that give peace of mind and a sense of spirituality. The alarming threat posed by global warming has called for sustainable actions. Actions that are deeply rooted in solving the problem of human habitat. The Aga Khan Agency for Habitat India (AKAHI), one of the many institutions under Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN), works to provide a better quality of life for people and enhance various aspects of human habitat.  Dr. Rafique Ajani, Regional chairman of AKAH shares, “We believe that adults have a responsibility to lead the young ones towards lifelong stewardship of mother Earth. It is a social responsibility of every individual to nurture the environment for a sustainable and a greener future.” The combination of leadership and stewardship has a capacity for bringing phenomenal positive changes in the world. Changes that are best not just for today’s generation but for the generations to come.

With this in mind, a “Tree Plantation Drive” was initiated across Central, Northern, and Eastern India (CNEI) on Imamat Day as well as the Independence Day when 300 saplings were planted. The core objective of the plantation drive was to create young stewards in the jamat that would bring alive the concept of Paradise on Earth. To guide these young stewards towards a greener future, senior members of the jamat were paired with the young ones. Each pair planted a sea-sonal seed which would then be taken care of by the pair. During the process, the young stewards from across the region were introduced to scientific concepts of seed germination, trees as natural purifiers, benefits of afforestation and its role in curbing ill effects of global warming. The drive also touched upon the concept of rain water harvesting and saving water for the future. The drive was carried out as a collaborative effort of local Scouts and Guides and CARE committee members near the jamatkhana building or the resident societies.

One senior participant of the initiative shared, “One message which was conveyed to us was that the citizens of any motherland do not inherit the planet from their ancestors, rather they borrow it from the future generation and we have the responsibility in bringing this thought alive.”

The beauty of the world and the universe can be preserved by being mindful of our daily actions and by choosing ways that are eco-friendly. Let’s pledge towards a greener tomorrow by making these simple choices because it is the outcome of these choices that would qualify as the basic definition of environmental stewardship.