The environment is in a serious crisis and something must be done about it. Children and schools can do their bit in saving this beautiful earth. Greenubuntu Co-founder and Associate Editor Ushi Fatma spoke with Dr. Anupama Mishra, Principal, Sunbeam School Varuna, Banaras, India, over how to save the environment. Here are a few excerpts:
Ushi Fatma: How should people relate to the environment?
Anupama Mishra: As an individual, in the initial days, I was not much concerned about what is happening to the environment. But today, it is more from the education world as a teacher and administrator that I notice how the entire world is now concerned about environment.
Ushi Fatma: As far as sustainability is concerned, we are regularly degrading the environment because of developmental activities, such as constant construction. Do you think this development is taking a toll of the environment?
Anupama Mishra: I have my own definition of sustainability, which is taking care of our needs without compromising on the needs of future generation in the years to come. We love to look after our needs but we should not compromise on what are children will need to fulfill their own needs. I think that even though the government has started so many initiatives, they do not make policies and projects which somehow creates a conflict between environmental conservation and development plan, because not all development plans support the well-being of our environment. In a simple way we can see that flyovers are made to commute from one place to other easily but because of it many trees along roadside are cut. If we are trying to establish manufacturing factories, what is happening is we are disposing harmful chemicals and wastes into the river Ganga and ponds and lakes that is reaching directly to the crop fields by the river side. So, I don’t think we are doing justice when we talk about bringing proper balance between development and sustainability.
Ushi Fatma: How would you instill the awareness or habit of conservation among the students? Tell them about what they should do and what are the repercussions of not practicing eco-friendly activities. How do we ensure that they give up their lazy attitude like leaving the tap open while brushing or switching off the fan when nobody is around?
Anupama Mishra: It is our job as teachers to motivate them, to stimulate them and to make them understand the importance of the environment and nature around us. In our campus, in junior school, we have taken an initiative called “little agriculture”. If you move out from the right side of my office you can see a little garden where we promote and motivate seeds of different flowers and vegetables.
We also have nest making. For example, we can notice nowadays that sparrows have stopped coming to our terrace, may be because of the 4G and 5G towers that have been build. We are doing sessions with children on nest building none other than the Nest Man of India himself. Mr. Rakesh Khatri to promote eco-friendly activities.
Then, we are promoting the concept of car pool among our children. This concept has just taken birth and children are working towards it. Saving water is also one of the activities that we keep talking about. We teach them how to utilize used water like using the left over water of the bottle to water the plants.
Ushi Fatma: Though we emphasize on using environment friendly things but we still make use of things like A.C. to beat the heat. What is your opinion on it, what is its replacement?
Anupama: I am not a technologically upgraded individual that I can tell you the replacement for it. I can say that nowadays people are bringing up their children in a very comfortable environment at home and they also expect the same in buses and classrooms. So it’s more of how you develop certain habits, culture, and values among students. It’s more of tolerance and perseverance. It’s more of self control. To get something, to achieve something you will have to come out of your comfort zone.
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