Environment Education

Baby Steps towards making Kitchen Sustainable

A piece of land that earlier used to be a dumping ground has now developed into kitchen gardens by composting to make the soil fertile for gardening.

The first kitchen garden of this kind was inaugurated by Mrs Akansha Singh, wife of Police Commissioner Gautam Budh Nagar.

Through this initiative, kitchen waste composting has been taught to children of Harit Club. In addition, GEAG distributed vegetable seeds to children, and these children are taking care of this kitchen garden.

Through this initiative, kitchen waste composting has been taught to children of Harit Club. In addition, GEAG distributed vegetable seeds to children, and these children are taking care of this kitchen garden.

Grassroots Comics helping to relate with Local Environment

Climate change has emerged as a critical issue and it’s now impossible to neglect and ignore the aspects of environment and environmental education. It is high time now that environmental education takes a new shape and transcends beyond the four walls of classrooms to the community members.

Taking this into account, World Comics India started with an interesting and unique initiative.

World Comics India, using the Grassroots Comics methodology has trained the employees of more than ten of HCL Foundation’s partner organizations. During these training sessions, employees did not only identify issues but also learnt how to turn them into comics through story writing and drawing.

Using the Grassroots Comics methodology, World Comics India has made environmental education accessible to all in a fun and engaging way.

In light of a paucity of public debate and discourse on environment and environmental education, the comics workshops created a conducive atmosphere where people could learn about the environment by connecting it with their real-life experiences.

Environmental news and events of some far-off land do not affect people as much as events around them do and hence connecting the environment with real-life experiences becomes of utmost necessity.

The participants covered a huge number of environmental issues and events and the comic stories ranged from the 2013 Uttrakhand floods, endangered species like vultures to the usage of pine trees, making compost from kitchen waste, etc.

The comics anthology consisting of comic stories made by community members based on their experiences is all set to be published and will soon be available to readers. In the next phase of this initiative, World Comics India will document local stories from the southern states of India.

Green literacy through cinema

Eco Roots Foundation imparts environmental education through traditional bioscopes showcasing friendly stories on water, biodiversity, e-waste and many other environmental issues.

Old cinema devices such as the bioscope and gramophone are two traditional modes of entertainment and communication and Rakesh Khatri uses these mediums to spread awareness on environmental protection to young audiences.

Bioscope is still a fascinating tool. A manually operated projector is used for this and a small bulb is placed on the back of the reel. The handle is rotated to operate the projector and a person peeping through the front lens feels like watching a movie with music.

Rakesh Khatri’s initiative “Green Cinema Bioscope” makes short films on climate change and environmental issues.

Eco Roots Foundation

’Eco Roots Foundation’ is an organization that is involved in the conservation of various birds. The founder of Eco Roots, Rakesh Khatri is a film producer by profession. Along with his organization, he is engaged in spreading sensitivity and raising awareness for the cause of birds, nests and nature conservation.

Eco Roots Foundation aims to encourage environmental education among young children. The foundation’s initiative ‘Green Literacy Mission’ trains special children for their participation in the cause of the environment. Eco Roots Foundation has been honoured twice by the Limca Book of Records. The first time, they bagged the honour for ‘the largest number of workshops on teaching how to make nests manually across the country. And the second time, for the biggest theatre event on climate change, attended by 1,12,000 students with performances in 12 languages.

Green Yatra’s initiative ‘Green School’

Green Yatra’s initiative ‘Green School Program’ primarily focuses on environmental issues and they use creative ways to spread awareness among school students. Green Yatra’s initiative extends beyond the coursework of the school and tries to address practical problems related to the environment and helps in sensitising them.

Under this initiative, tree plantation programs, cleanliness drives, and workshops on recycling are organised and environment-related cinema is also screened. Their program ‘Sustainable Green School Model’ trains students to plant and maintain vegetation by establishing parks and herbal gardens in the backyard. With the help of this novel initiative for schools, Green Yatra has interacted and engaged with more than 50 lakh students.

The role of the Supreme Court in Environmental Education

In November 1991, advocate M.C. Mehta filed a ‘Public Interest Litigation’ or ‘PIL’ in the Supreme Court of India on the concerns of environment, pollution and community participation.

In the Indian Constitution, Article 21 ensures ‘Right to Life’ as a fundamental right of the citizens, but in order to ensure ‘Right to Life,’ it is important that our environment is clean and livable. He believed that to fight pollution and conserve the environment, awareness among people on such issues is necessary.

M.C. Mehta’s PIL also requested the court to make environmental education compulsory. On the issue of including environmental education in the school syllabi, the Supreme Court asked for written opinions from 28 state governments in 2003 and subsequently passed the order to make it compulsory. In 2004-05, CBSE and NCERT were ordered to submit a detailed environmental education model before the court for implementation. As a result of these events, our schools included environmental education as a compulsory subject.

Swachh Sarvekshan Report-2021

Under the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, the central government initiated the ‘Swachh Survekshan Puraskar’ in 2016. Through the award, the Government of India is trying to encourage and connect cities and states with cleanliness.

India’s Cleanest City – Madhya Pradesh’s Indore city has secured the first position in the category ‘Population more than 10 lakhs’. Indore has received this award for the fifth time in a row. In this category, Surat ranked second, while Vijayawada third. Navi Mumbai and Pune ranked fourth and fifth respectively.

In the category of ‘Population between 1 – 10 lakh’, New Delhi Municipal Corporation has won first place, while Noida is at the fourth position.

India’s Cleanest State – There are two different categories for India’s cleanest state. The first is states with ‘more than 100 urban local bodies and the second is states with ‘less than 100 urban local bodies. Under the first category, Chattisgarh bagged the first position, while Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh were the first and second runners ups respectively. Jharkhand won India’s Cleanest State award in the ‘less than 100 urban local bodies’ category.

Going Grassroots with Visual Expression: Update from Tamil Nadu

Civil society activists, NGO workers and school teachers from Tamil Nadu now have a new medium of self-expression and teaching in the form of Grassroots comics. A Grassroots comics workshop was organised by the HCL Foundation and World Comics India between 15th to 24th December 202.

It was attended by over 30 participants based in different parts of Tamil Nadu consisting of school teachers, civil society coordinators and NGO employees.

The virtual workshop was conducted bilingually in English and Tamil. The theme of the workshop was Environmental Education and the participants were introduced to broad themes of Water, Clean Nature, Family and Neighbourhood, Food, Plants and Animals. The participants came forward with their personal experiences, ideas and perspectives on these themes. Adhilakshmi of the Hope Foundation created her first comics on birds and seed dispersal whereas Patmanathan from Oferr India made his comics on community-led conservation action in a village. The methodical use of Grassroots Comic ranges from comic journalism and bringing neglected issues to the fore in an interactive form. Comics function as a visual communication tool and through their use, everyone has the potential to become a storyteller.

As the session concluded on 24th December, the participants shared feedback on their understanding and perspective of Comics as a medium. In their response, participants felt this experience was encouraging and innovative. Certain participants emphasised that comics can be used as a tool for addressing various issues and raising awareness, accessibility and sensitization.

Turning the Tableau on the Environment

At the 2022 Republic Day parade, Maharashtra’s tableau had enormous statues of the Indian Gaint Squirrel found in the Sahyadri Mountains of the Western Ghats and a newly found spider species named Icius Tukaram.

Other essential biodiversity symbols of Maharastra and the Western Ghats were also part of the beautiful tableau. State bird ‘Hariyal’, state flower ‘Jarul’, state butterfly ‘Blue Mormon’ and the state tree ‘Mango’ were beautifully crafted in the statues. The tableau highlighted Mahsrastra’s and Western Ghat’s rich biodiversity.