Posted on December 26th, 2009, by


On the afternoon of Christmas Day, over 150 members of Khoryug met at the front of the gates of Tergar Monastery to clean up the surrounding area, including the roads, ditches, wetlands and lake nearby. Participating in the clean up were monks and nuns of all the Khoryug monasteries as well as visitors from far away who are in Bodh Gaya for the 27th Kagyu Monlam.

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The activity was used as an opportunity by Khoryug coordinators to explain the important of minimizing one’s own footprint due to the immense long term impact of non-organic waste such as plastics.

Another topic that was discussed in great detail was the problem of  “algae bloom”, which was evident in the nearby wetlands. Caused by large amounts of fertilizers and chemicals, mainly phosphorus and nitrogen, algae bloom refers to the green layer of algae that lies over still water. Typically, the bloom is caused by an increase in nutrients which allows the algae to grow and out-compete other species in the water. Some bloom produce toxins that can kill aquatic life but for the most part, algae bloom kill other living things in the water by using up all the oxygen. The only sustainable solution for this problem is to minimize the use of artificial fertilizers and chemicals in agricultural practices. However, as explained during this session, other solutions can also include encouraging growth of shoreline plants (reeds and such) which can filter the phosphorus and nitrogen pollution in the water. Curious farmers who wandered from their fields to see what the monks were doing quickly became part of a discussion regarding the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides.

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Gyaltsen Sonam, the India coordinator for Khoryug, gave an impromptu presentation to villagers regarding the need for keeping the nearby lake clean. He linked the issue of waste management to health and sanitation issues and said that it was very important that local people realize that the health of the environment results in the health of the community.


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