Learning to think green

The variety of institutions are responding to the demands of environmental education made imperative by a generation familiar with eco-degradation

Published: Wednesday 15 June 1994

Learning to think green

Spreading the good word: a wor (Credit: Ashish Kothari)THE increased momentum of the environment movement and the rising media attention paid to environmental issues has created a great demand among the general public, non-government organisations (NGOs), professionals and the youth for environmental education and awareness. This demand is being met by some of the state-run universities and the 2 centres of excellence under the ministry of environment and forests (MEA).

Apart from these, a few NGOs have also joined the daunting task of spreading environmental education and awareness. The Centre for Environment Education (CEE) at Ahmedabad conducts an 8-month intensive residential training programme in environment education. It also conducts short-term, theme-specific programmes called TALEEM (Teach and Learn Environmental Education Modules). These programmes are tailored packages for a specific audience, such as environmental education for museum staff, bio-diversity, energy efficiency and environmental standards for industries, etc.

In addition to these, CEE's regional cells hold exhibitions and workshops in different parts of the country. Its educational products division, EDUTECH, produces and disseminates educational material. The Madras-based CPR Environmental Education Centre (CPREEC) was set up in 1988 with the objective of generating resource material and educational packages on environment conservation. It conducts awareness-through-action programmes to educate rural communities on the role of sacred groves in ecological conservation. The centre's Environmental Law Cell conducts several training programmes on environment, wildlife, people and the law to familiarise NGOS with environmental legislation.

Throughout the year, it conducts essay, quiz, and painting competitions for schoolchildren. Another organisation that actively involves students and teachers and sensitises them to environmental issues is Kalpavriksh, which organises short-duration workshops for school teachers so that they can integrate environmental education in the school curriculum.

Kalpavriksh has also published The Little Green Book which includes a list of environment-related academic courses that are being offered in Indian universities. Apart from the universities, the Indian Institute of Ecology and Environment offers a 2-year post-graduate diploma under its correspondence-cum-contact programme. It also conducts non-formal programmes for teachers. The World Wide Fund For Nature-India also conducts training programmes for teachers. Recently, it started a certificate course in environmental law. The Salim Ali Centre for Ornithology and Natural History (SACOH) conducts post-graduate level courses on all aspects of ornithology and natural history of other life forms.

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