Saturday, 2 August 2014

Launch of Prakriti Bus for education on Biodiversity

It was a crisp and smart event today(August 2,2014;Saturday).A specially designed bus on biodiversity was launched by the chief guest, Prof. Abhishek Mishra, Minister of State for Vocational Education and Skill development , Uttar Pradesh, in Indira Gandhi Pratishthan , Lucknow (U.P.).Dr. Sharad Gaur came from CEE, Delhi .I joined as Chairman, UP State Biodiversity Board  as well as Principal Secretary , Forests and Environment,U.P. The event was organized jointly by U.P. State Biodiversity Board, Lucknow University and CEE(Centre for Environment Education, North.)
           What follows is the summary of what I spoke:The landslide event which took place recently, in village Malin near Pune resulted in the death of 63 persons so far(, and the figure may go up).A major reason behind this tragedy , according to Geological Survey of India, is deforestation and large scale felling of trees.This one example is enough to indicate why we should conserve our biodiversity and ecology.
                        There are 17 threats to biodiversity:
1.Habitat loss and fragmentation.
2.Over exploitation of natural resources.
3.Poaching.
4.Illicit tree felling.
5.Climate change and global warming.
6.Pollution.
7.Growth of human population.
8.Hunting and illegal trade.
9.Invasive Alien Species.
10.Lack of efficient protection to threatened species.
11.Oil spills.
12.Coastal/agricultural development.
13.Land diversion.
14.Encroachment.
15.Fuel wood removal.
16.Grazing.
17.Forest fires.
                     National  biodiversity targets for India , among other things, say that by 2020,a significant proportion of India's population , especially the youth , should be made aware of the values of biodiversity, and the steps they can take to conserve and use it sustainably.
                         Prakriti bus is a bus for biodiversity education .It is a unique model of education and awareness.It has an exhibition on biodiversity as well as trained communicators to explain.The key thrust areas of the bus include biodiversity of U.P.,bio-geographic zones of U.P., status of protected areas, flagship schemes, climate change and its relation to biodiversity.Audience targets include:
1.School children.
2.Teachers.
3.General public.
It is free of cost to the audience.
The bus will cover eight districts :
1.Lucknow.
2.Unnao.
3.Kanpur.
4.Kannauj.
5.Barabanki.
6. Sitapur.
7. Rae Bareli.
8. Hardoi.
It includes both rural and urban areas of these districts.The idea is to have the widest possible outreach in these eight districts.U.P. is a big state , and if this experiment proves successful, we shall replicate it in other parts of the state.
              It is the start of an innovative idea, full of potential for enrichment and scalability.Its salient features are:
1.Mobility.
2. Interactivity.
3. Fun-filled,with games and puzzles.
4. Visual effects.
5. Take away pamphlets and brochures.
6. Trained communicators and volunteers.
7.Evaluation of level of awareness.
There is a scope to  improve content , design and communication strategy.There  must be continuous feed back.
We must consult all the stakeholders in this project.They are:
1.U.P. State biodiversity Board.
2.  CEE.
3. Lucknow University.
4.Forest Department.
5.Environment Department.
6.Education Department.
7.Media.
8.Other NGO's engaged in environment.
9.Other  universities.
10. Teachers.
11. Managements of schools and colleges.
12. Students.
 13.Community.
              I congratulated  U.P. Biodiversity Board, University of Lucknow and Centre of Environment Education , Lucknow for this outstanding joint initiative.The chief guest gave a very good and motivating speech in the end.