April 22nd witnessed an unprecedented celebration of Earth Day in Auroville with a spontaneous outpouring of programmes and activities. There was an Eco-Film Festival, a two-day workshop ‘Understanding Soil and Plant Physiology', and a Green Toddler programme. At Savitri Bhavan one could listen to a recording from The Mother “For Earth and Men”, Savitri's prayer to the Divine and the response of the Supreme, and get a booklet specially prepared for Earth Day of relevant passages from Savitri.
Pollution-free or less polluting modes of transport were on show, such as the Auroville Bio-Bullet motorbike, running on a mixture of diesel and Straight Vegetable Oil (SVO); a Bio-Trike running on Auroville ‘biodiesel'; the latest version of the Mahindra Bijlee electric three-wheeler; the REVA compact electric car; and a range of bicycles from the Honesty Cycle House, Pondicherry, which offered an attractive Earth Day discount of Rs 999.00 on the purchase of Firefox mountain-bikes.
During the day, almost all Auroville restaurants and a few non-Auroville restaurants in the vicinity agreed to serve only vegetarian food as the production of vegetarian food puts much less pressure on the environment than meat production. Another person who was doing something in a small way for the environment was Mr G.Yuvaraj of New Pizzeria, who used ecological plates made of plant materials instead of cardboard for packing and for home delivery of his pizzas.
Those who wanted their old T-shirts dyed blue were invited to give them a free dip at The Colours of Nature natural indigo-dying unit. The Auroville Earth Institute conducted an awareness programme on earth architecture. The farmers and food producers pitched in with an organic farmers and food products market. In the Town Hall a series of speakers presented 10 minute lectures on carbon-neutralising Auroville; sustainable grasses at Matrimandir; The WELL Project for village women learning handicrafts with recyclable materials; the ‘No More Pesticides!' campaign; the end of the plastic plague, introducing 100% degradable plastics; and how to save water in Auroville. Representatives from Greenpeace India talked about their work in places like Bhopal , Alang, and Cuddalore.
The grand finale was held at Kalabhumi where a range of activities and games for children was organised. The ‘Unicorns' from Transition School performed their play ‘Toad of Toad Hall', and in the evening some ‘Songs for the Earth' were sung by children from Udavi School, followed by hip-hop dancing by our Auroville teenagers. An organic selection of musicians played till midnight. Compared to last year, this year's Earth Day celebration involved many more Aurovilians and Auroville units. And this time there were no aggressively-green Auroville pre-teens and teens banging pots or ringing bells at motorcyclists – though we noticed that many Aurovilians had not followed the suggestion ‘See you on your cycle and leave your motorbike at home.'
See also the Photo Album of the day