Hindu American Seva Communities Promotes Eco-Dharma through Bhumi Seva

A public, private, education partnership
Hindu American Seva Communities Press Release
January 10, 2013

In an effort to practice what our dharmic texts have preached, HASC in collaboration with Oxford University's Bhumi Project and the University of North Texas, is working to advance greening of our temples and places of worship in the America. The Bhumi Seva initiative was launched in July 2011 at the White House. 

HASC is pleased to announce a dedicated and highly talented volunteer team leading the initiative. Their brief bios are attached.

As part of the BhumiSeva initiative, , HASC has undertaken a pilot project with select temples to develop, track, and share the “green” progress together.  We hope that more places of worship will take advantage of our humble offerings and together we can make our dharmic places truly a living testimony to dharmic teachings and traditions. The progress of the effort with temples in the pilot program is part of an international greening effort and will be highlighted globally.

HASC has compiled various guides and booklets to help make our Puja rituals and temples more eco-friendly.  We will provide these to the select temples and help them assess their temples greening level so that they can increase energy efficiency.

HASC is inspired by the great Dharma teachings that are highlighted in this profound verse: The Almighty is Omnipresent everywhere in the universe, including planet earth (in the oceans, rivers, forests, mountains, air, water, atmosphere, and space).  Take only what you need from the bounties of planet earth; sacrifice greed so every one's needs are also met; do not plunder, do not hoard. Whose property is it after all? It all belongs to God. (Ishopanishad 1.1)

For additional information on the project, please contact Pankaj Jain, Eco-Dharma and Bhumi-Seva Project Director (.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) ) and Arjun Bhargava, Associate Project Director (.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)).

Eco-Dharma and Bhumi-Seva Team

Dr. Pankaj Jain is an Assistant Professor in the department of Anthropology and the department of Philosophy and Religion Studies at the University of North Texas. He is also the author of award-winning Dharma and Ecology of Hindu Communities: Sustenance and Sustainability. Dr. Jain serves on HASC's Executive Advisory Council Board.

Arjun Bhargava is studying Environmental Policy in the Master of Environmental Studies Program at the University of Pennsylvania. He is currently interning at the United Nations Environment Programme in New York. He serves on the Editorial Board of wH2O: The Journal of Gender and Water, an academic journal focused on women and water issues around the world. Previously, he volunteered with the Philadelphia Global Water Initiative and blogged as a Student Reporter from the World Water Forum held in France in March, 2012. He graduated from Drexel University with a B.S. in Biological Sciences.

Joseph Otterbine completed his undergraduate in Sociology/Anthropology at Winthrop University in South Carolina. He is currently studying Environmental Anthropology at the University of North Texas where he is researching development habits and environmental awareness in India.

Ashley Sauer is an aspiring anthropologist practitioner passionate about the energy/utilities industry and sustainability, pursuing her Master’s degree in Applied Anthropology at the University of North Texas. Ashley is a project manager in marketing and outreach at Southern California Edison where she plans to apply her anthropological education and training to the marketing and development of smart grid enabled programs in residential settings.

Mariel Romero is a graduate student at the department of Anthropology at the University of North Texas; studying medical anthropology and public health. She is interested in studying health in India. During her undergraduate studies, she spent six months studying at the University of Hyderabad where she visited Hindu temples in Andhra Pradesh and other cities throughout the subcontinent. She is eager to learn more about spirituality, religions, and cultures as well as means of collaborating culture, health, and sustainability.

Dr. Susheer D. Gandotra is in the management committee at the Hindu Temple Society, Allentown, PA. He also teaches Hindi at the temple. He is a physician by profession and married with two children and likes to do gardening and working out.

Hemant Sharma has a degree in Engineering from Manipal Institute of Technology, India. He has a passion for music and has dedicated his talent in the service of the Lord. Hemant believes in having a positive influence in the community and the world and is looking to dedicate his experience, time, and effort in selfless service for the betterment of society.

Niki Shah received his B.A. in Journalism and Mass Media and Economics and M.S. in Global Affairs and minor in International Business from Rutgers University. He served as an AmeriCorps VISTA for HASC from 2010 - 2011 and worked with HASC to develop programs and training resources.


Media Contact: Ved Chaudhary .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) (732-500-8545)/973-992-5210