CSE’s unique initiative brings environmental education home to children in lockdown
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to rage across the country, Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) has been working to ensure environmental learning does not stop while students remain in home under full or partial lockdown conditions. CSE’s Green Schools Programme (GSP) has stepped up with a unique online environmental survey –Audit@Home.
Says RanjitaMenon, programme director, environment education unit, CSE: “The survey, which concluded recently, provided students with the opportunity to observe, assess and improve the resource consumption patterns in their households with respect to air, energy, food, biodiversity, water, and waste.”
Open to all students of Grades 5 to 12, the survey was designed in a manner to make students understand various interconnections that play out and add to climate change — for instance, the relationship between waste management and air pollution. Personalised scorecards were shared with each participant with suggestions to transition to greener practices based on their score in the survey.
Says Menon: “The survey essentially helped students gain insights into the practices followed in their households regarding waste management, food consumption, water and energy usage, etc. Becoming aware of their practices is an essential milestone and it is only after becoming aware that one can transform their ways to use as little and save as many resources as possible.”
More than 47,000 students across 28 states participated in the survey and assessed their every-day environmental practices. The highest participation came from Delhi, with close to 8,000 students submitting the survey from government as well as private schools.
The survey results pointed towards some promising aspects: 96 per cent of the students who took the survey had energy-efficient lighting in their homes; 67 per cent repurpose or give away food leftovers; and 51 per cent use sustainable modes of transport like walking and cycling for their every-day activities.
The survey results also flagged the areas where interventions may be required: for instance, 55 per cent of the participants do not use renewable energy in any form. The survey results marked the current levels of awareness and future goals of environmental education. The process of the survey also helped students form an understanding of how their actions impact the environment directly and how those actions can be improved.
According to Menon, “GSP’s Audit@Home is a tool to develop a strategy and roadmap for adoption of resource-efficient measures in households by young environmentalists and in the process, it educates them about the environment in the most pragmatic way — learning by doing. This initiative has created opportunities for students to spend time away from the screen, observe the practices at home and learn what’s best for the environment.”
CSE’s Green Schools Programme
The Green Schools Programme was launched to initiate and strengthen the tools of ecological literacy in schools. Its key initiative, the GSP environmental audit for schools, provides teachers and students with the methodology to audit the resource consumption in schools and supports schools to transition to greener infrastructure and practices. The GSP network has a national footprint, with 7000+ schools across all states carrying out a rigorous audit on environmental practices within their own premises, following a set of activities and tasks. The programme has been able to bring about measurable practice changes in schools – such as an increase in the water table, reduced electricity bills through energy conservation, a gradual shift to renewable energy, 100 per cent segregation of waste at source, increased green cover, move to sustainable modes of transport, etc.
GSP has pivoted its initiatives this year due to the pandemic to keep environmental education impactful and relevant with programmes like Audit@Home. GSP Audit 2020 for schools will be launched as and when the schools reopen.
By Ms. Pratyusha Mukherjee, an active Journalist working for BBC and other media outlets, also a special contributor to IBG News & IBG NEWS BANGLA. In her illustrated career she has covered many major events.