Sunday, June 21, 2015

"We are not God. The Earth was here before us and was given to us."

"We are not God. The Earth was here before us and was given to us."

Says Pope Francis in his Encyclical on Climate Change released by the Vatican today June 19th 2015.

By Elsie Gabriel.


[About the writer-Founder of the Young Environmentalists Programme trust Mumbai India and Climate Reality Mentor trained by former VP USA Al Gore. Elsie is also a writer for the last 18 years on environment education and has authored a book called Get Out Get Going Outdoors which promotes bonding with nature outdoors. She is also a certified Green teacher and post graduate in environment law. She lectures on climate change and EVS in academic institutions. ]


"We are not God. The Earth was here before us and was given to us!" Says Pope Francis in his Encyclical on Climate Change released by the Vatican today June 19th 2015. Yes,the news has spread far and wide. As head of the Church, the papal call out to unite for the environment is a clarion call.

Pope Francis, further very bravely talks about industrial waste overtaking the planet, calls for renewable fuel subsidies and energy efficiency, global environmental deterioration and says that we have mistreated “our common home’ the planet, in his Encyclical on Climate Change released by the Vatican today June 19th 2015.

The Green Pontiff is being hailed as the green proactive catholic chief with great pride. But do you actually know what an Encyclical actually is? The Encyclical, actualdefinition in the Roman Catholic Church says it is a letter addressed by the pope to all the bishops of the church.

So in this 192 pages document released from the Vatican, Pope Francis lays out the argument for a new link between science and religion, to advocate the fight against climate change.Pope Francis very well comes to the point straight away saying in this document to his people, “Now, faced as we are with global environmental deterioration, I wish to address every person living on this planet. In my Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium I wrote to all the members of the Church with the aim of encouraging ongoing missionary renewal. In this Encyclical, I would like to enter into dialogue with all people about our common home.”

In another quote the Pope goes on to state, "The Earth, our home, is beginning to look more and more like an immense pile of filth. In many parts of the planet, the elderly lament that once beautiful landscapes are now covered with rubbish."

The Pope's Encyclical on 'Climate Change' is a big deal for those of us in the ecology, environment and sustainability fields. It's a massive boost and may help move societies all over the world to real action from empty words.

The 'environment education for the youth and community' is what I dedicate my time to working for every day, a beautiful vision for a sustainable and thriving future is what I see, more powerful green young citizens is what I can fuel.

Pope Francis is a Green Pope and his message of ecology is what we all can embrace. This is fantastic on behalf of the Pope because it’s not about religion or politics any more, it is now all about proactive awareness on a war footing to help save our planet from climate change.

I think it is the renewal of the green faith, a call to embrace the moral imperatives of everything from car pooling to temperature control, check consumption, planting trees, animal rights to solar panels.

I am all set to embrace this ecological conversion, Christian or not, the earth needs you to be her faithful! The Pontiff goes on to call the earth his sister, “This sister now cries out to us because of the harm we have inflicted on her by our irresponsible use and abuse of the goods with which God has endowed her. We have come to see ourselves as her lords and masters, entitled to plunder her at will. The violence present in our hearts, wounded by sin, is also reflected in the symptoms of sickness evident in the soil, in the water, in the air and in all forms of life. This is why the earth herself, burdened and laid waste, is among the most abandoned and maltreated of our poor; she “groans in travail” (Rom 8:22). We have forgotten that we ourselves are dust of the earth (cf. Gen 2:7); our very bodies are made up of her elements, we breathe her air and we receive life and refreshment from her waters.”

Pope Francis could not have chosen a better time with countries gathering this year end to chalk out a plan of cooperation on climate change this December in Paris, rightly saying- "Never have we so hurt and mistreated our common home as we have in the last 200 years."

What wrong have the ‘poor’ done to suffer from climate change? Food shortage, hunger, disease, sickness and inequality, all because the careless contribute towards climate change.  We are all children of the same God, aren’t we??

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Revival of Ecology and Spirituality copyrights@elsiegabrielgetoutgetgoingoutdoors!

Revival of Ecology and Spirituality


The original spiritual ecologists are our ancient ancestors,the indigenous societies of the earth who worshiped nature and depended on it’s elements to survive.The Vedas and many other religious testaments have documented how various forms of nature like the wind, earth,water, rain and fie were worshiped. And that we humans are an extrinsic part of nature and not alienated from nature;we can only co-exist if we live in harmony with the elements of nature. Therefore by being spiritually in one with nature we must not empty nature of it’s resources and use its offerings carelessly. Spiritual ecology is a subject which awakens us to to be alert and stand still, feel for the earth in mind and body, and then act accordingly in order to stop milking the earth of all it’s wealth. The Earth is like a ‘Bank’, think of it, if we keep making withdrawals and give back no deposits, what do we have left, nothing.Our natures bank balance will be soon zero. We need to make ‘natural investments’ into the planet to replenish it and revive it.Not for our own self fish reasons but for our children and their grandchildren.

The Bible also clearly requests us to take care of our planet before we perish.Isaiah 24:4-6 - “The earth dries up and withers, the world languishes and withers, the exalted of the earth languish. The earth is defiled by its people; they have disobeyed the laws, violated the statutes and broken the everlasting covenant. Therefore a curse consumes the earth; its people must bear their guilt. Therefore earth's inhabitants are burned up, and very few are left.”

 It focuses on promoting the sustainable use of  renewable energy through efficiency and conservation to reduce the ecological footprint environmental impact of individuals and communities. Right now we are all aware that society in environmental disharmony,lets pickup the pieces and respond to it’s urgency.


There are so many theories which have thrown light on how the earth actually began.

However today as we know it, the Earth is home to billions of creatures,plants and man simply belongs to this home as a member.We must believe that we are an intrinsic part of nature and its web of life and we are not the supreme outsiders looking into Nature.We are fused with nature.So by saving nature we are saving ourselves as we belong to the same evolutionary track.How did we arrive? How did we get here in the first place? And what will happen to earth in the future? Maybe we may never come to the actual reality of how exactly we all came into being.After 5 billions years on earth, after hundreds of theories,it is still hard to fathom which one to believe. But respect to each his own religion and theory.


The basic fact that life on earth is a network stands out.So how are ecology and spirituality connected? Spiritual ecology does not preach but simply states the fact that we must each find our way home to a more sustained planet through our own mannerisms and essence of life.


Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Outdoor cooking copyrights@elsiegabrielsbook-getoutgetgoingoutdoors


                                                Outdoor cooking

Outdoor cooking is not only fun but encourages team spirit. Every one participates and lends a helping hand. I am sure you have gone on an outdoor cook out picnic at some point of your life. If not, there is hope, you can have exciting times ahead learning, if you have not yet tried cooking outdoors.Building a small fire place with bricks and stones all around, and grinning at the first signs of your food sizzling with flavour as you cook out,are all part of the thrills of  a campers culinary delight.

Cooking out in the  wilderness, jungle or riverside provides you a kitchen which is endless and open. Everything tastes better grilled,boiled and roasted over an open fire, maybe that is why kids love campfire dishes. Camping can be a great family activity and the cooking activity makes good outdoor memories.

Open environment is expansive and large,cooking outdoors puts safety as the number one priority. Therefore you need to be all the more careful.You have the gentle breeze, sometimes strong winds, sand and falling leaves surrounding your open pit fire source.Here are some tips and techniques on how you can ensure that your cooking experience outdoors in the natural surrounds makes it all the worth the while.

 Backpacking is awesome when you want to really get away from civilization and cook up something  more rustic,other than just open tin cans with baked beans and ready food items. Both Boy Scouts and girl scouts are taught to cook. Scouts are always prepared. No matter what the activity, whatever the situation, and whatever the weather, scouts are ever ready to cook. ‘Survival’ stands as the basic criteria of all scouts,which was also the case with ancient nomads.Cooking food was one of the main aspects of surviving. Thus cooking outdoors is by no means just a new recreational experience, it has evolved down the ages. Therefore, preparing food in outdoors environments needs some technique, for sure. Cooking outdoors requires utmost respect and care for the environment.

Everyday offers the potential for the unexpected to happen. It's a fact of life that we all have to deal with but there is no reason to panic or be overly concerned about cooking outdoors, especially when you have taken the time to prepare and have emergency plans in place.So enjoy, with caution.

-Choose a good cook out picnic site. Ensure that you are allowed to cook in that particular wilderness zone.Permissions are vital.



-Prepare and marinade whatever you would like to cook, way in advance to get more flavour and save on cooking time.

-Allocate different jobs to different people so that all are involved in the cook out and the work gets done easily.

-If you plan to have a date with cooking outdoors, collect all the ingredients of the favourite dishes, according to the picnic age group.Cater to the group as much as you can.

-Try your best to carry your own dry firewood or ready coal rather than breaking branches outdoors for cooking.

-These days modern ‘Solar’ cooking utensils and stoves are available. Charcoal BBQ grills and folding picnic sets also make cooking outdoors easy. These must only be used outdoors and by no means under a tent or inside a parked car. Similarly check all your cooking equipment in advance before you set out to cook outdoors.

-Once you have set up a fire, do not allow children and pets to play around the fire unsupervised.

-Look for long-handled grilling tools to give the person cooking, plenty of clearance from heat and flames when handling dishes on the flames or roasting items on the grills.

-If you are simply cooking outdoors in your garden or community cooking spot, try and choose a cooking spot already used earlier.The soil beneath will be well worn. You can easily recognise a good cooking spot which is not wet or soiled.

-Then place firewood in a low heap which is surrounded closely by bricks or stones to create an enclosure,to keep the fire intact and burning within the range.Light the fire with dry paper or leaves.

-Keep your vessels and ingredients ready for cooking your first dish.Keep all items covered and well supervised.

-Keep holding cloth napkins ready to handle dishes.

-Ensure you have a bucket of soil, sand, or water ready to douse the fire in case of an emergency. You could carry a portable fire extinguisher while cooking outdoors.

-Inform your picnic members and cook out guests about the fire spot to ensure safety.

-Keep grills and stoves away from clothes line or fences if cooking near domestic outdoor areas and keep fires away from over head branches if cooking out in the wilderness.

-Ensure you clean up and gather all garbage after your cook out event.




















Collecting Seeds outdoors to set up a seed bank.

Collecting Seeds outdoors to set up a seed bank.

Next time you plan to take a walk outside try and focus on collecting seeds. Yes, seeds from various plants and fruits. This activity teaches participants of all ages where to find seeds in plants and introduces them to the seed location in some familiar foods.

Gather some fruits and vegetables with different types of seeds, such as mangoes, cherries, mash melons, guava’s, water melons, papayas, apples, oranges, corn and peaches. Start a discussion where they think the seeds are stored in each item. Cut open each food and point out the seeds to them. Exploring seeds is exciting as various types of seeds look different and are multi colored.


During nature trails participants get to know how seeds carry the beginnings of plants inside them. All seeds have a seed coat covering it for protection.  If you happen to find a germinating seed under a particular tree, you can see the roots, leaves, embryo and food storage area. Show the participants the inside of a seed and help them identify the parts.

Seeds come in two basic varieties, monocot and dicot, meaning they contain either one or two leaves. The seed coat, endosperm and embryo are the three main parts.The endosperm lies right beneath the seed coat and provides food to the embryo area of the seed. The embryo is the most essential part of a seed from which the new plant develops from inside. It consists of three main parts, the main root of the plant to be, the cotyledon and the embryonic leaves.The main root is from where water is absorbed into the embryo to initiate germination and growth. The embryonic leaves are the primary leaves of the new seedling and absorb the nutrients inside the seed. These leaves are contained within the epicotyl, which also contains the initial shoots of the seedling.


Once participants bring their collection indoors, add some seeds from fruits, vegetables or flowers, if you need to supplement the collections. You can collect many different types of lentils and pulses like peas, kidney beans and coriander.You could also add seeds from herbs to help increase the collection. Wheat grains grow quickly and children find them blooming in a day or two.

 Your walk to collect seeds also is a great time to talk to people about how seeds need water, soil, light and warmth to germinate and grow. Experiment by having them plant the same type of seeds in places with or without sunlight, and recording observations every three to five days. Similarly seeds can be planted in various location where water may and may not be provided. Writing down observations with illustrations can help document a seed journal showing the different phases of growth. Seeds without sunlight and water or good soil will obviously fade away and die, thus the basic essentials of  what is necessary for plants to grow will be established. Hence, planting trees with proper ingredients and essentials will prepare enthusiasts about looking after young plants right to the stage where they become independent strong trees.

Discuss how seeds travel in many ways.Wind carry most seeds from one place to another, while birds also eat some and help spread them.Water is also an vital carrier of seeds. Thus seeds need to be safely deposited into rich soil which will help it to bloom.

Once participants understand the complete life cycle of a seed from its first stages in the ground through its  development into a sapling plant to becoming a ‘Tree’, the importance of a ‘seed bank; will become clear. The art of seed collection can be exciting. Today most seed banks are set up professionally by commercial industries and multinational food produce cultivators. Most farmers try and keep a collection of the best seed collection they can of their prime crops, fruits and vegetables.We can also learn to save and preserve our own collection of seeds from our own favorite fruits,vegetables and flower varieties that can grow in our own backyards.

So, what is a professional‘Seed bank’?
A seed bank is a resourceful center which stores and reserves seeds for planting in case of destruction. The seeds stored may be food crops, or those of rare species to protect biodiversity. Storing seeds also guards against calamities like natural disasters, outbreaks of disease, or war. They also provide source material for plant breeders and researchers in search of genetic traits for new crop varieties.Unlike seed libraries or seed swaps that encourage frequent reuse and sharing of seeds, seed banks are not typically open to the public as they are professionally set up by multinationals.


Similarly encourage people, both children and young adults to set up seed banks at a smaller scale in their institutions and communities. Have participants count similar same variety seeds to place in airtight pouches. You could also use a magnifying glass and tweezers to inspect the seeds closely. After classification and labeling, seeds can be stored in a seed library.Seeds from this reserve can be used for Botany,biology and life science classes.Or simply distributed to the community for increasing the area of plant life in a particular place or garden. The best part is that collecting seeds for a seed bank is applicable for all age groups. Seed banks simply perpetuate plant life and contribute towards Earths green cover.


Celebrate World Environment day every day.

Celebrate World Environment day every day.


The month of June heralds rains. And the monsoons refresh, re-grow and rejuvenate the environment around us. All over the world, nature and environment enthusiasts celebrate the World Environment day throughout the month of June. This day is celebrated every year on 5th June to raise global awareness to take positive environmental action to protect nature and the planet  Earth.

The 2015 theme for World Environment Day is Sustainable consumption and production.  The slogan for the theme is "Seven Billion Dreams. One Planet. Consume with Care." So what is Sustainable consumption? Sustainable production and consumption is basically the use of food, goods and services that respond to basic needs  of requirement only and create a better quality of life for all of us without wastage, while minimizing the use of natural resources, toxic materials and emissions of waste and pollutants over the life cycle, so as not to jeopardize the needs of future generations. So this message basically translates into spreading awareness about celebrating environment day everyday.

We can adopt a green living habit everyday in our lives if we want. For example, by not using paper or materials which use paper directly. This relates to not using paper based materials or cardboards or packaging which directly or indirectly come from Trees which are cut down to make them in the first place. We can restrict ourselves by not requesting for printed bills or letters. Use both sides of the paper if you can. Buy goods which do not use paper packaging. Check for goods like containers, tiffin boxes, plates or even bags which are biodegradable. I know of people who till today use steel plates and steel tiffin boxes which last a lifetime. Yes I know, some of your parents remember using steel and brass utensils because not only were they scientifically right for the food products but also they hardly ever needed to be replaced. It was a world where less was more.

We can not leave our left overs of what we have consumed, on this planet during our time for the children of tomorrow. We have to leave the earth intact. Every small act counts, Every day counts. Why must we create a path where we may have to repay so much back to planet Earth. We should stay out of this green debt, they say. Environmental debt is the cost of restoring previous environmental damage as well as the cost of recurring restoration measures. Unless measures are taken to alleviate environmental degradation, environmental debt continues to rise and the burden is transferred to future generations. So why be in debt?

Email us regarding the ten green living habits, your family adopts on a monthly basis to help sustain Planet Earth, maybe acts which bring your bills down or stop you from buying something new all the time. We will feature the family and its members as the Greenest Family in Powai!



Keeping a close eye on the food we eat and our daily health, shelter, clothing, leisure and mobility, and how they can all be delivered in ways that reduce the burden on the Earth's carrying capacity.

 We can not leave our left overs of what we have consumed, on this planet during our time for the children of tomorrow. We have to leave the earth intact. Every small act counts, Every day counts. Why must we create a path where we may have to repay so much back to planet Earth. We should stay out of this green debt, they say. Environmental debt is the cost of restoring previous environmental damage as well as the cost of recurring restoration measures. Unless measures are taken to alleviate environmental degradation, environmental debt continues to rise and the burden is transferred to future generations. So why be in debt?

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Fight Climate Change by eating local fresh food. The Mumbai Organic Fest .

              Fight Climate Change by eating local fresh food.  Respect your local farmer.                      

Have you ever realized that agriculture and farming reduce the carbon dioxide from the air we breathe. Simple! This makes our farmers the best environmentalists on earth, yet we do not uplift or bother to revive their status, yes its true they are a dying breed, they commit suicide out of frustration and low tolerance for all the ills that climate change brings along with it. For instance, mango farmers in India are weeping and many ending lives as the early unexpected rains washed down all the mango flowers and tender mango fruits. Crops destroyed due to early showers.

Hundreds of years ago organic agriculture started in India with the idea of providing good pure farm products to the nation but somewhere down the ages, the farmers were forgotten as produces became more and more commercialized. To help resurrect the farmers status we have come together to celebrate produce from organic farms and salute the farmers. The Mumbai Organic Fest 2015,April 19th  from 9am to 7pm; is a date set to salute the farmers. Being held at the Norita Grounds, Hiranandani Gardens, Powai Mumbai, the fest promises to throw light on organic living, plight of farmers, sustainability and green living, where more than thirty exhibitors, chefs and experts will provide a wide range of products, services and resources in all things earth-friendly – from organic, gluten-free, local, vegan and vegetarian food to health, solar energy and many other green products. The Mumbai Organic Fest is being organized by very enthusiastic partners,   passionate about the environment and working towards a more sustainable planet that we live in.

Invites Dharmishtha Goenka one of the organizers of the event, “Come support organic farmers at the Mumbai Organic fest at Norita Grounds on April 19th.Let us get together to promote health, be welcomed by the freshness of the vegetables, folk music and fun. Enjoy the organic fine fruits and vegetable growers committed to practicing sustainable agriculture.

The festival will have farmers featuring their products and offerings to show attendees, expecting to bridge the gap between the farmer and the plate. it’s an event like no other, that brings together so many people from so many walks of life, all in the spirit of celebrating the rural and agricultural traditions.
Says Elsie Gabriel, one of the organizers of the Mumbai Organic Fest, “When you eat local, you buy local and you save so many carbon footprints in doing so. The aim to keep resurrecting the ancient organic culture is to help mankind in developing a more sustainable kind of agriculture, quality food and a respect for nature. Our farmers have been exploited and taken for granted. They are powerful environmentalists who actually feed the millions in our country and abroad if you come to think of it.”

This is an event, to focus on our farmers who are the hard working community who help our country thrive agriculturally, it is they who work behind the scene in India, and  are slowly being marginalized. The event is being held in honour of them and their organic produce.

It is our farmers who have years of experience in organic agriculture and agro ecology, from growing to pest control, weed management, marketing, post-harvest treatment, transport, grower organizations and developing new crops. Our Indian farmers can not be left behind. They have extensive first-hand knowledge of farming and environmental.

Farming is more than an occupation and a way of life. It’s an essential contributor to world nutrition, health and profits.. Although our farmers are producing more food than ever before, they face a daunting challenge as more and more people are born everyday! We specially in India I believe have a growing middle class hungry for high-quality food.Only our large population of farmers can cater to that!

Is there any reason to believe that India will be able to feed the exploding population? Both here at home ground India and world, the answer is yes the Farmers will be the only ones who take up this challenge responsibly.
Actually, by conserving resources, investing in modern farming techniques, our farmers have made incredible gains already. It would be right to say that farmers feed the country.
 Iam looking forward to highlighting this movement to bring all natural forces in regard to agriculture into balance, also with the whole cosmos.


Sunday, April 12, 2015

EARTH HOUR MUMBAI FESTIVAL by Young Environmentalists NGO Mumbai

                      EARTH HOUR MUMBAI FESTIVAL
           by Young Environmentalists NGO Mumbai
Actor Umesh Pherwani,Actress Hrishitta Bhatt and Kingfisher Supermodel Sonali Raut came to Powai to promote the EARTH HOUR FESTIVAL by Young Environmentalists NGO and Green team at Meluha ecotel Powai Mumbai on March 28th .Earlier in the month, Elsie Gabriel founder of YEPT who has been certified by former VP of USA Mr.Al Gore in Climate Change, had kickstarted the Earth Hour Mumbai by presenting actor Arjun Kapoor a solar lantern to launch the EARTH HOUR campaign.The YEPT which has been taking the lead in Mumbai to spread the Earth Hour campaign invites citizens to join their solar projects.
Many complexes in Mumbai switched off their lights to promote conservation during the EARTH HOUR MUMBAI .But this is not about one hour ,it is about conserving more than the sixty minutes thus master Chef Parimal Sawant of Meluha ecotel also created a massive EARTH HOUR CAKE -Plus 60-to create awareness about ongoing conservation and recycling .
"The campaign was a great success on the 28thof March for the Earth Hour festival which was held at Meluha the Fern ecotel Hiranandani Gardens Powai Mumbai.I am proud that hundreds of people came to donate some time towards promoting the Young Environmentalists NGO and their solar project. We must celebrate EARTH HOUR daily in all areas of life," said Actress Hrishitta Bhatt at the event.
Surely,renewable energy is the need of the hour we must use the Gods gift of sunlight which is a free source of energy,Government must relax taxes and promote renewable energy in India, althoguh we are not the world biggest polluters at all.
Earth Hour is a global initiative and the largest environmental campaign in history where citizens around the world show their support for action on climate change by turning off non-essential lights for one hour, between 8:30pm-9:30pm.
The Rashtrapati Bhavan, the Prime Minister’s residence, residences of Chief Ministers,MCGM, India Gate and government buildings in every participating city have turned off lights at the same time.The TATA Power, Reliance Energy and the BSES all together have yet to file a total report on the MW saved as all three sources provide energy to different parts of the city.