Modhera: United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres on Thursday (October 20) said the people of Modhera, India’s first solar-powered village, are setting an example of “reconciliation between humankind and planet”. While the village in Gujarat’s Mehsana district has a centuries-old Sun temple, a new kind of Sun temple has come up there now, he said. Mr Guterres, on a three-day visit to India since Wednesday, visited the village, its 11th century Sun temple, and interacted with some of its 1,300-odd families who have set up solar electricity generation panels in their houses.
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Villagers told him that they were saving on energy bills and were happy to use clean energy that benefits the environment.
The residents of Modhera were “the soldiers of the first line” in the battle to save the earth, the UN chief said.
“What is amazing and (for) what we must thank in a very emotional way these people of this village and also the government of Gujarat and government of India is that here is reconciliation between humankind and the planet,” he said.
Mr Guterres said,
Here where the temple of Sun was built a thousand of years ago, a new temple of Sun is based on solar energy.
Solar energy is transforming the lives of the local people, making them more healthy, giving them more prosperity and at the same time contributing to the “rescue of our planet from climate change that is still driving without control,” he said.
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The ancestors of these villagers recognised that the Sun was the source of all energy, the UN chief said.
But a thousand years later, we live in a world where we use energy from coal, gas and oil, and the burning of coal makes the Sun “angry” which makes the planet warmer and causes floods, he said.
“When I was a boy, there used to be rain for a given number of months. Now in many parts of the world there is no longer rain, there is drought and then storms and floods…no normal rain,” said 73-year-old Guterres who was born in Portugal.
Referring to a woman from the village who switched from coal to solar power, Mr Guterres said she is “making peace with the Sun, and peace with nature.” India is moving ahead fast in solar power generation but “some people don’t like it, they are using huge amounts of money from oil and gas,” he said.
“But we need to go on doing what you did. One thousand years ago people recognised that the Sun was the origin of our energies, one thousand years later you are making the Sun again the origin of all energies,” he said.
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(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via the Banega Swachh India initiative, which is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. The campaign aims to highlight the inter-dependency of humans and the environment, and of humans on one another with the focus on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. It stresses on the need to take care of, and consider, everyone’s health in India – especially vulnerable communities – the LGBTQ population, indigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign will continue to raise awareness on the same along with focussing on the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children, fight malnutrition, mental wellbeing, self care, science and health, adolescent health & gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign has realised the need to also take care of the health of the eco-system. Our environment is fragile due to human activity, which is not only over-exploiting available resources, but also generating immense pollution as a result of using and extracting those resources. The imbalance has also led to immense biodiversity loss that has caused one of the biggest threats to human survival – climate change. It has now been described as a “code red for humanity.” The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diarrhoea and the country can become a Swasth or healthy India.