Need of the hour is to prepare suitable strategies of environmental education for saving our environment. Environment education denotes a study of environment and its dynamics environmental degradation and it various forms, factors degrading environment and its impact on man’s life.
Environmental education is a process to promote the awareness and understanding of the environment, its relationship with man and his activities. Environment education is education ‘about’ the environment, ‘from’ the environment and ‘for’ the environment.
According to the report of a conference of African Educators at Nairobi (1968) “Environmental Education is to create an awareness and understanding of the evolving social and physical environment as a whole, its natural, man-made, cultural, spiritual resources together with the rational use and conservation of these resources for development.”
Philippines: Philippines has passed a landmark new law which requires all high school and college students to plant at least 10 trees if they want to graduate school or college. This Filipino law which could enable 175 million new trees to be planted each year and 525 billion trees in one generation is just the kind the world needs as it is only beginning to recognize and combat climate change.
Gary Alejano, a representative of the The Philippines’ Magdalo Party, was the principal author of this legislation. He said that every year, the Philippines has over 12 million students graduating from elementary school, nearly five million students graduating from high school, and almost 500,000 graduating from college. Thus each year, at least 175 million trees would be planted if the new Filipino law is implemented properly.
“Even with a survival rate of only 10 percent, this would mean an additional 525 million trees would be available for the youth to enjoy, when they assume the mantle of leadership in the future,” said Alejano, as per a report by The Independent.
How will the new law requiring students to plant trees be implemented?
The higher education department of the Philippines government will be in charge of implementing the bill to ensure tree plantation by students in order to graduate.
As per CNN’s Philippines news service, the trees will be planted in certain protected areas, existing forests, in mangroves, military ranges, selected urban areas, and abandoned mining sites.
The Philippines government also said that the chosen plant species should be appropriate for each location, topography and the climate of the area. Moreover, indigenous plant species will be preferred.
Why does the Philippines need such a law to encourage tree plantation?
Even though the entire world is suffering from climate crisis a major part of which is human propagated, the Philippines is one of the countries which is severely deforested. The total forest cover in the country dropped from a healthy 70% to as low as 20% in just the 20th century.
A lack of forest cover plays havoc with the climate and increases the risk of floods and landslides to a large extent. Illegal logging is also a major problem faced in the Philippines.
Apart from the obvious benefits of increasing forest cover which would raise the carbon-absorption, the government hopes that the new Filipino law requiring students to plant trees will also bring more awareness about the environment for future generation and pave the way for better ecological initiatives.
Assam: As the sun rises, scores of children with bags full of books and smiles on their faces walk through the lanes of Pamohi to reach a school situated in the pristine woods of the capital city of Assam.
The children, however, do not come to this school only with bags full of books. They bring with them polythene bags full of plastic waste as the only form of fee which this school accepts.
Unbelievable as it may sound, the Akshar School in Guwahati has the kind of fee structure where children deposit at least 10 to 20 plastic items per week, with a pledge to not burn plastic.
“We wanted to start a free school for children, but stumbled upon this idea after we realized a larger social and ecological problem brewing in this area. I still remember how our classrooms were filled with toxic fumes every time somebody in the nearby areas burnt plastics. Here it was a norm to burn waste plastic to keep warm. We wanted to change that and so we started encouraging our students to bring their plastic waste as school fees,” said Parmita Sarma.
Parmita Sarma and Mazin Mukhtar founded The Akshar School in June 2016. The school has been giving formal education to more than 100 children belonging to an economically backward category. According to The North East Now, the school has designed the curriculum fundamentally for poverty-stricken children. Not only do they teach children lessons on Science, Geography and Mathematics, but also provide vocational skill training so that they can become skilled professionals by the end of the course.
How did the idea of Akshar School come into being?
Earlier in 2013, when Mazin Mukhtar came to India from New York for a school project, he got in touch with Parmita Sarma, who was a Social Work student at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) and was already working in the education sector. Parmita was already doing work in the education sector, and she also had plans to start a school. When they met, their goals were so overlapping that they decided to start Akshar together. The students earned Rs 150 – Rs 200 per day at the stone quarries. According to Parmita, they could never match that monetarily, so instead they proposed a mentorship peer-to-peer learning model, where the older students teach the younger ones and in return get paid in toy currency with which they can buy snacks, clothes, toys, shoes from the nearby shop. The older students teach younger children every day at Akshar, which serves two purposes – one, it makes them feel valued and important; second, they can have less number of teachers.
What does the school teach students?
With the help of the students, the school also educates the community about the harmful effects of burning plastic. They teach the villagers to recycle the waste and become agents of change. As a result of the school’s initiative, more and more families in the village have started participating in the recycling drive and spreading awareness.
With the help of teachers, the students make numerous construction materials with plastic waste. The students have already created some eco-bricks with the waste material and built some plant guards in the school premises. They also wish to build boundary walls, toilets and some pathways which will help the children go from one place to another when the school campus is waterlogged, with the help of eco-bricks.
- The school has been declared as a ‘No Plastic Zone’ which is marked at the entrance of the school. Hence the school encourages use of alternative packaging and carrying options are being promoted. Jute bags are being increasingly used by both students and teachers keeping in mind the initiative. To discourage the use of plastic, all school stationary are provided in cloth bags instead of plastic ones. Teachers are encouraged to use jute or cloth bags to carry books.
- Eco policing is a programme initiated by the school to involve the school students to fulfill the following objectives: (i) To create a litter free environment; (ii) To work towards green campus and a sustainable school; (iii) To create awareness amongst students regarding their environment to become responsible citizens in future.
- Each class has two monitors who are in charge to switch on and off the lights and fans as and when needed to save energy and build a better future. This also helps the students to build responsible behavior pattern.
- To create environmental awareness among the children from a basic level – where the backs cover of every school note book is marked with the logo- the 3 Rs. Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. All paper used in the school is recyclable and is sent for re-cycling.
- Environment week is celebrated in month of July with enthusiasm and fervor by our teachers and students to spread consciousness amongst the young minds and make earth a better and a sustainable unit to live in.
We have to take immediate steps like this for our Environment Protection and Development by indulging Students through our Education system because if they don’t understand the value of Environment in Present then there is No Environment to use for them in Future. So, our Government and us, we all have to protect and improve our Environment.