Are You Still Using Plastic Water Bottles?

Are you still using plastic water bottles?                                                        A common misconception is that bottled water is healthier for us than tap water. Did you know that tap water is actually more heavily regulated in the United States than bottled water is? The Environmental Protection Agency regulates tap water over 400 times a month; they are mandated under the Clean Water Act to do so. However, privately owned companies like Nestle and PepsiCo, the two corporations that own a majority of the bottled water industry, are not required by the government to meet federal standards. Why do we need to stop? Bottled water consumption in the U.S is through the roof; Americans alone use 50 billion plastic water bottles annually. With a recycling rate of only 23%, this means our nation alone wastes 38 billion water bottles a year. The energy we waste using bottled water would be enough to power 190,000 homes. The amount of petroleum used to manufacture plastic bottles for America for just one year is enough to fuel 1.3 million cars for an entire year, 17 million barrels of oil. Along with the tremendous amount of energy and fossil fuel consumption it takes to produce this many plastic bottles, our planet suffers. The 38 billion bottles of water that do not get recycled each year end up in either a landfill or in our oceans. According to National Geographic News, eight million tons of plastic are dumped into our oceans each year, harming all forms of wildlife. Where we spend our money sends a huge message. Let us be mindful of the products we use and where they end up after we are done using them. Invest in a reusable water bottle and avoid using plastic plates, cups, cutlery and straws whenever you can. Anjum Kaur serves on Misl Council for the Bay Area and also studies Environmental Studies at San Jose State University. 

A Different Outlook

Joining the Sacha Sauda Seva was one of the events that have changed my entire outlook on and attitude towards the life. Before I used to think that every human being on earth is capable of taking care of his or her self. But when I went to the very first event Misl Bay Area, Sacha Sauda in February, I saw the reality, which was painful to the eyes. Hi, this is Karan Singh. I’m currently living in Dublin, CA. I’m going to school full time for majoring in computer science and along with that, I’ve a part time job to support myself financially. My friends and I have been going to Fremont Gurdwara every Sunday night since last four years and helping there in seva at night. During the seva last year, I met Aman. Aman and I became pretty good friends in just a short time of period. Over time, Aman would tell my friends and me about Jakara Movement. In January when he first told about us their new Sacha Sauda event, I was very excited to team up and contribute in it. We ordered pizzas along with that we provided salad, drinks and bread. Then we went out to the location at Saint James Park in San Jose, CA. The moment we reached there, I was stun by seeing so many homeless people. Some of them are sitting on the grass bare feet; some of them are sleeping at the place, looking tired, starving for food. They have no idea when and where they will get food. When I looked in their eyes, they had some type of hope that they were looking for. As we started offering out the food, a big line of people was created just in seconds. As others and starting giving out the food, I’d hear out comments like “god bless you,” “thank you,” these comments made me feel like I’m blessed. We all were putting smiles on their faces and it was so pleasing to my heart after seeing that. I was very delighted and pleased after the event. I was feeling proud of myself after what I did the other day. I didn’t participate this event for money or because of my friends; I joined this event because I felt good from inside. It felt like I was doing something to help and change the society even though it was very little. Every change starts from little contributing from one person and I think Jakara Movement have started this change. I’d be so glad if this event continues for long time because it can provide help to the people out there who really need help. We did the same thing again on March 1, 2015 and it was incredible experience. Looking forward to contribute more in future to Sacha Sauda events. Karan Singh is an active sevadaar and member of Misl Bay Area.

Powerful Performances

“Kaur Voices” took place on Feb 21 at the UC Berkeley campus. For some performers, the night was a quantum leap - the start of a burgeoning relationship with artistry, the end to their silence. For others, the stage was a regularity - another story in a book, another opportunity to grasp. But whether the performers were new or experienced, Singhs or Kaurs, poets/poetesses or artists, the third annual “Kaur Voices” (organized by UC Berkeley’s SSA) culminated into, what can safely be said as, a night of ten powerful performances about topics that desperately needed to be discussed amongst the Punjabi, Sikh diaspora. The underlying theme of the event, “The Talk We Never Had,” was reflected in thought-provoking pieces about feminism, self-love, identity, female infanticide, Sikhi, and other personal stories that resonated with an audience of about 75 people. “Kaur Voices” was not limited to any age, gender, or ethnicity. Students from high school and college were welcomed to join as performers or audience members. These conversation-starting events are deeply important because they provide a platform for critical thinking, healthy discourse, and positive development. Navya Kaur is a high school junior, a rising journalist, and the first high school performer at Kaur Voices!  

Learn and Act

My experience doing the Misl Bay Area Sacha Sauda was really nice as it allowed me to help people who need it. Providing the people who need food to eat with a meal was really meaningful. Everyone needs food to survive so I think this event is a really nice thing to do. Young teens like me can learn from this and keep doing this in the future because whatever you give comes back to you at some point. Akashpreet is a member of Misl Bay Area and a student at James Logan High School in Union City. 

Understanding What We Say

I would not have the knowledge of my Sikh religion and Sikh history that I have today if it weren’t for the counselors at Jakara. I did not begin learning about Sikh history until I was old enough to fully comprehend the atrocities that occurred in 1984. Just as I was educated about Sikhi through my older sister and my counselors at Lalkaar, I believe it is my responsibility to educate the next generation. While leading a workshop with 6-7 year olds I heard many of them chanting “A Nation Never Forgets” as they were completing a coloring activity. I interrupted to ask them if they knew what exactly we are referring to when we say “A Nation Never Forgets.” The response I got was a room full of little children staring at me blankly, and a few children shaking their heads. I realized the kids hadn’t made the connection between what they were learning and with the slogan they were chanting. I proceeded to tell them what the statement on their shirts was referring to. I helped them understand that to forget is to give up your opportunity to learn from the powerful history we share because after all, knowledge is power. Remembering one’s history is the first step in expressing one’s agency in making change. Although many of the young children that attended Jakara Juniors could not fully grasp the severity of 1984, they are learning what it means when we say “A Nation Never Forgets, ” and what it is that we will never forget. Rather than blindly repeating a statement, they now have some idea of the concept of 1984. It is our responsibility to educate the next generation of our Sikh history, and the environment that Jakara provides with its kids camps makes it possible for us to reach the youth. Anjum Kaur is a freshman at San Jose State University studying Environmental Justice. She has been an active volunteer in the Bhujangan and Juniors programs at the Misl Bay level as well as a participant at Lalkaar since 2012.

Fun & Games at Sports Day

After the tremendous success of the first Sports Day in Fremont it was time to move down to the South Bay. We arrived at Fowler Creek Park early at 9 so we could reserve the grass area we needed for our activities. As we finished coning off our area and taking our snacks out, other MISL members started trickling in with and soon parents arrived with their children. The kids were eager to play so we started setting up a soccer field  while they played around amongst themselves. We had two of the youngest participants, a boy and a girl, choose the teams to make it a little more fun instead of having one of the older MISL members deciding. Eventually the teams were decided and we began our game of soccer. We had to add people and take out others because folks started getting tired or we had people showing up a little late. With participants getting tired we decided to move on to a different game: kickball. Initially we were thinking about doing baseball but decided that kickball would have been something that could get everyone involved. This time we mixed it up and had 2 of the older MISL members choose teams to make it a bit more even. After letting everyone from each team kick we decided to end our Sports Day with a little game of tug of war. After a couple rounds with different teams we had all the kids go against two of the older MISL members. Needless to say the kids won.

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