Now please dont say why पर्यावरण Education and not Environmental Education! By now, you should have realised, I like to use both the languages for the title of my post.
When we were children these words were never heard of. When my children started schooling, they had Environmental Science as a subject. I did teach them, but honestly speaking, only theoretically. I felt great teaching them some ‘good’ things. One cant even imagine how embarrassed I was, when one day, they turned back and asked, but why are you wasting water/electricity and so on. And then I realised I’ll have to change myself. Soon I was teaching them (this time theoretically as well as practically) and learning myself too. This was the time I realised the meaning of the saying ‘children learn more by action than words’.
I incorporated this in my school too. Whenever there were school picnics or excursion tours, I would ask students to bring big sized garbage bags or cartons so that we could collect all the garbage generated by us while enjoying picnic. Later we would throw it in the dustbin. In case we did not find one, we would bring the garbage bag to school and throw it in the school dustbin. Gradually, the students understood its importance, and would do it on their own. I was pleasently stunned when on one of the picnics, the students started cleaning the whole picnic area. Their arguement was that since they were taught not to litter the picnic spot, they shall leave the place clean So what, if in the process, they were picking up garbage thrown by other picnicers. I sincerely hope, at least one of the outsiders learnt from them. People around did appreciate them. Although some even laughed at them, to the extent of calling them rag pickers.
During our train journey, my children would collect garbage in a bag, without being told. The students would also oblige on being told. On one of the train journeys, the students forced even the co passengers to use our garbage bags and stopped them from throwing things out of the windows. I think they also appreciated the students. But when the students could not find a dust bin to dispose their (now) huge garbage bags they seeked the attendant’s help. He picked up the garbage bags and threw them out of the door of the moving train.
One can imagine the feelings of students and the expressions on their faces. And for the attendant, his expressions said “Big deal!”
Actually, we can all recall such apathetic behaviour from people. But if ‘each one teach one’ principle was to be used, target is achievable. Here I’ll appreciate the younger generation. They are more protective towards our environment, than my generation. (Please forgive me you will always find exceptions.) Here is something we need to learn from the younger people.
Three cheers to the young people!! Keep up the good work.