Today(September 20,2014;Saturday) I attended the inaugural session of 5 day long workshop called Yuva Paryavaran Leader Summit , as chief guest.The workshop was organised jointly by CEE(Centre for Environment Education, an NGO of repute) and UPPCB(UP Pollution Control Board).The audience were potential youth leaders on environment ,aged between 13 years and 17 years and there teachers.These young boys and girls , 45 in number ,had been selected from all over Uttar Pradesh as environment leaders.They were young , energetic , full of zeal , enthusiasm and dynamism .What I spoke to them , is as below:
This workshop is not just a programme on environment education .It is to build and provide leadership skills and qualities among the selected students and teachers , with a view to create sustainable development and clean ,green environment in our state.In Latin , to educate means to lead.We want to build a cadre of students who will not only work towards environment conservation now , but will provide leadership 15 years from now ,that is in the year 2029.(When the youngest among you will be 28 years and the oldest will be 32 years.)
I congratulate all the 45 students present here , and also their teachers and parents.You have been selected after three rounds of tests , beginning with Quiz Test , Essay and Project Action Plan and interview.This summit workshop is the fourth round.The fifth round will be the implementation of Action Project.The state government appreciates the fact that you have been shortlisted at the state level.After the fifth round , we hope to select 10 best Paryavaran leaders, 5 best teachers and 5 best supporter schools.
We call this workshop a summit.Summit is the mountain , the pinnacle , the top.It is the most important stage in the development of leadership for environment.It is an opportunity to delve deep into the state of environment and ,the role students can play as Paryavaran leaders.You will be helped to work on Action Project.You will get guidance from experts.Your group will generate innovative ideas.
The role of teachers is crucial.Best teachers are also the best students.We need teachers who volunteer to create youth leaders for environment.I am sure they will never lag behind.The same is true of school managements.
A lot of research has been done in the university of Michigan, on the benefits of student participation in community issues.Becoming volunteers in community issues benefits students the most, apart from benefiting community, schools and agencies like UPPCB and the CEE.Here are the findings of research done at Michigan University:
1.It motivates and increases educational competence.It improves performance in examinations and results in higher grades.
2.It enhances self esteem , self efficacy and improves mental health.It decreases mental depression and stress.
3.It improves inter personal skills and social networks.
4.It inculcates the values of treating each other with kindness, care and help.
5.It increases communication skills.
6.!5 years from participation, students are more likely to be engaged in community organization and to vote.
7.It increases problem solving skills and critical thinking skills.
8.It helps building low trust individuals into a high trust ones.
9.It increases understanding of what community and life is all about.
10.It gives opportunity to share experiences.
11.Participants learn about effect of policies on community and environment.
12It gives exposure to diversity, multi culturalism and different ways of thinking.
13.It teaches taking responsibilities for decision making.
14.It offers new directions , new perspectives and positive life choices.
Action projects could relate to energy conservation ,greening , water conservation, sanitation , waste management,dying river systems, plastics, reducing pollution,improving environment.These projects will build public opinion and sensitise local community and develop green social networks.
We wish and hope that after this summit , you will be the change agents, leaders for green action and ambassadors for nature and environment .We have confidence that you will truly be the leaders for Sustainable Development.