United Nations Association of New York
Live to Love International
A Green Odyssey
A special edition of SCREENING THE ISSUES
The Asia Society
725 Park Avenue
New York, NY 10021
Saturday, September 22, 2012
Registration at the Asia Society | 6 p.m.
Film Screening | 6:30 p.m.
followed by Q&A with His Holiness the Gyalwang Drukpa
VIP Cocktail Reception | post-screening
UNA Members and Student Members : $10
Non-UNA Members : $15
Special VIP reception and VIP seating : $50
PAD YATRA: A Green Odyssey is the adventure of 700 people trekking across the Himalayas with a call to save the planet's "3rd Pole," a glacial region now devastated by the climate chaos associated with global warming. Battling the most treacherous terrain on the planet, the trekkers spread their message of ecological compassion through a human being's most basic means: by walking on foot, village to village, and showing by example.
Surviving harrowing injuries, illness and starvation at altitudes above 17,000 feet, the PAD YATRA story is about the perils and adventures the trekkers face as they struggle through the most treacherous terrain on the planet, led by His Holiness the Gyalwang Drukpa, a Buddhist spiritual leader in the Himalayan region."Pad Yatra" literally means "spiritual foot journey" in Sanskrit. Similar to pilgrimages or walkabouts, this tradition is native to the Himalayas and has been in practice for thousands of years. In recent years, an "Eco-Pad Yatra" was initiated by the Drukpa, who received a Millennium Development Goals honor in 2010, in part for his humanitarian activities seen in the film. The message of PAD YATRA is simple: get on your feet, and do something!
With the rise of plastic waste in the Himalayas, and no viable recycling or trash disposal system, this generation is experiencing a sudden peak in polluted and poisoned water sources along the glacial melting routes, a source that provides half the world's population with fresh water. Inaccessible by road or modern transport, the only way to reach remote populations with this message is on foot. The participants of the Pad Yatra trek through villages to educate locals on ecological responsibility, to collect plastic litter from the rivers, and to carry out the loads of pollutants on their backs, with nearly three tons of plastic collected and removed from drinking sources in the last three years. Several regions banned plastic products after the group passed through, with filtered water becoming a popular new enterprise to eliminate the demand for plastic bottled water. Tens of thousands of trees have also been planted across the region in the name of the Eco Pad Yatra, a part of this new green revolution.
The Pad Yatra is now an annual event, with previous destinations in Ladakh, Nepal, Sikkim, Bhutan, and future destinations rumored for Sri Lanka, China, and the United States. The number of participants has reached 1000 and more, as locals become inspired and join the journey along the route, alongside the hundreds of registered participants from across the globe, from France to Vietnam to Brazil. Having authored a book recounting the Pad Yatra as an inspiration for the modern world, titled Everyday Enlightenment, His Holiness continues to lead the Pad Yatra each year.
Read a special reportage of the event HERE
Michelle Yeoh, last seen in our Screening the Issues presentation in the role of Aung San Suu Kyi in The Lady, was the executive producer for the film. PAD YATRA is the debut feature from director and producer Wendy J.N. Lee, who is from Los Angeles, California. She is an alumna of Film Independent's talent lab, Project:Involve (2009), and USC School of Cinematic Arts with an MFA in Film Production (2008). Outside of film, Lee volunteers in the Himalayas and assists non-profits with marketing and media strategy. Daryl Hannah narrates this acclaimed documentary which also features the participation of the Kung Fu Nuns from the Drukpa lineage, which has adopted an active policy for women's empowerment, providing nuns with a modern education and leadership skills, while building their confidence and offering a positive example for young women across the region.
His Holiness the Gyalwang Drukpa is an active environmentalist, educator and the spiritual head of the Drukpa Lineage, one of the main Buddhist schools of the Himalayas with a 1,000-year legacy in India. In 2007, His Holiness founded the not-for-profit international humanitarian organization Live to Love International, which supports initiatives in five broad areas: education, medical services, relief aid, environmental sustainability and heritage preservation.
Over the last 35 years, the Drukpa has initiated dozens of award-winning educational, medical, relief aid, and environmental projects throughout the world, including the eco-Pad Yatra and Druk White Lotus School, also seen in the film. His Holiness' core philosophy is converting compassion into action, creating concrete solutions for today's problems, with a main focus on environmental preservation and education, honoring the core Buddhist tenet that all beings are interconnected and interdependent.
Utilizing an holistic approach to solving problems, he spearheaded numerous environmental projects and educational initiatives in India, for example working diligently to "green" India through tree planting, which will improve air quality as well as stabilize soil and prevent mudslides. One of his main projects, the Druk White Lotus School in Ladakh has been awarded numerous international accolades for its green architecture, and he has built environmentally-sound monasteries and nunneries in India. Desiring to reach as many young people as possible, the Drukpa recently inspired a project to create and distribute over 50,000 DVD sets, featuring documentary and animated shorts that educate on environmental concerns, to numerous Indian schools while seeding the idea of conservation.
Working to assist those impacted by natural disasters, often the sad outcome of poor environmental choices, his organizations have provided immediate disaster relief to thousands impacted by flash flooding, and he has plans to qualify his monks and nuns to provide disaster relief services for future needs.
In addition to his work outlined above, the Drukpa sits on The Earth Awards Selection Committee along with Jane Goodall, Richard Branson, Bill McKibben, and Diane Von Furstenberg. Spearheaded by Prince Charles of the United Kingdom, the committee identifies and recognizes viable innovations that improve the quality of life.
Along with the Millennium Development Goals Awards Committee's recent recognition of His Holiness for his humanitarian and environmental work, the Drukpa was also a recipient of the Green Hero Award presented by the former president of India, Pratibha Patil.
UNA MEMBERS and STUDENT MEMBERS : $10
Only UNA Members have the option of guaranteeing their seats by making reservations in advance (and paying at the door) OR, if they wish, by purchasing advance tickets
NON-MEMBERS and Guests : $15
All non-members must purchase their tickets in advance to guarantee their seats OR join for a $25 introductory membership and attend for free
(or at Members' prices for special events)
NOTE: Only UNA-NY Members have guaranteed seating to all our Screening the Issues film events, and attend for free or pay the discounted Members' admission, while UNA-NY Student Members attend ALL events for free. Non-Members must purchase tickets in advance to guarantee their seats. While we do offer a pay-at-the-door policy for guests and non-members, our events are often sold-out, so we strongly encourage membership with UNA-NY to guarantee your seats! Why not take advantage?