Monday, 23 June 2014

Multiple Perspective Approaches to Biodiversity

Today(June 23,2014;Monday), I was the chief guest at an event organized by UNESCO , New Delhi , City Montessori School , Lucknow  and SEED India Ltd.It was the inaugural session of three days national teacher training  workshop on multiple perspective approaches to biodiversity.Mr. Shigeru Aoyagi, Director ,UNESCO , New Delhi was the guest of honour .Below is a summary of what I spoke:
                                    (2005-2014) has been the UN decade for education  for sustainable development(ESD).Sustainable development means a model of development  which conserves and preserves ecology,environment and biodiversity.In this context ,education for biodiversity becomes extremely important.Biodiversity is an idea whose time has come,and we can neglect its education only at our own peril. It is important to focus on Biodiversity because of several threats to it, as described below.
  1. Habitat loss and fragmentation.
  2. Over exploitation of natural resources.
  3. Poaching.
  4. Climate change and Global warming.
  5. Pollution
  6. Growth of human population
  7. Hunting and illegal trade
  8. I.A.S.( invasive alien species)
  9. Lack of efficient protection to threatened species
  10. Oil spills
  11. Coastal/ agricultural development
  12. Land diversion
  13. Encroachment
  14. Fuel wood removal
  15. Grazing
  16. Forest fires
  17. Illicit felling
Climate change and global warming result in destruction of biodiversity and also bring in the risk of disaster,therefore along with education on biodiversity we also need to impart education on climate change, global warming and education on disaster risk reduction(DRR)
Many types of diversity exist in nature which are inter-related.
  1. Biodiversity
  2. Geo diversity
  3. Cultural diversity
  4. Linguistic diversity
  5. Gender inequality, etc.
Accordingly there are a number of perspectives on biodiversity. For example gender inequality perspective focuses on the number of women engaged in the study of biodiversity as compared to men and other such issues.
Under Article 51A of Indian Constitution , it is the fundamental duty of every citizen of India to protect and improve the environment including forests ,lakes, rivers and wild life and to have compassion for living creatures.
I express the hope and the confidence that this first of its kind National Workshop will go a long way in preparing teachers and through them students and parents and citizens to contribute to preserve our ecology, biodiversity and environment. I thank UNESCO for having taken the initiative to organise this National Workshop of education of biodiversity. I also thank TERI,CEE,Wild Life Institute of India and other eminent speakers who agreed to become a part of this global learning experience. I congratulated City Montessori school for hosting this workshop along with SEED India .

Thursday, 5 June 2014

Celebrating World Environment Day (WED),2014 in Kannauj (U.P.)

It was a truly memorable day .With mercury crossing 45 degrees C , we witnessed over ten thousand villagers assemble at a completely uninhabited .barren  place ,where the forest department of Uttar Pradesh  has taken up a project to plant 1,12,500 plants in an area of 450 acres.The place is village Rausa,Block Haseran .District Kannauj of Uttar Pradesh.It is an usar  land , owned by forest department ,but had been encroached by  villagers.With the active support of District administration ,the department got the encroachment removed , and has so far (June5,2014) planted 41000 plants .
                        The chief guest was the Chief Minister of U.P. and the guest of honour was the Magsaysay award winner Sri Rajendra Singh(Jal Purush).The chief guest planted a Peepal plant ,18 feet high and the guest honour  planted a Neem plant, about 14 feet high.We in the forest department have resolved to plant 1,12,500 plants by June 30,2014.
                                The theme of WED ,as decided by UNEP is :Raise your voice,not the sea level. Raise your voice to keep the environment clean .Raise your voice against the polluters.Plant more trees.Do not do any thing which contributes to global warming ,responsible for the melting of snow in polar regions and for raising the sea level.
                   Sharing the event with the common villagers and with celebrities and the chief minister of the state, it was a true celebration , uplifting,inspiring  and motivating .I will never be able to forget the expectant and enthusiastic faces of the common villagers (mostly poor),who came all the way in scorching ,searing heat of Indian Summer, to hear the celebrities and to witness plantation and the WED celebration .