This one-day training program was organised by TERI in Dehradun, Uttarakhand, India, in partnership with Uttarakhand State Council of Science and Technology.
The event was conducted with support from GIZ, and was a part of the series of TOTs (Training of Trainers) being held under an initiative which brings together ESD experts and practitioners together to conduct joint activities under the United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (2005- 2014).
An important objective of the programme is to build capacities for ESD in the four countries mentioned above. The training is expected to create a community of practitioners who are able to rethink the role of schools, seeing them as a field for promoting everyday sustainable practices, not only in classroom activities, but as a way of life.
Conservation of natural resources is ingrained in India’s religion, culture, and traditional lifestyles. However, with increasing population and the rising needs there has been a gradual erosion of the conservation ethics. If not controlled in time, this would damage beyond repair the rich repository of our natural resources. Conservation and proper management of natural resources has assumed urgency. Education plays a critical role in the present scenario. It generates awareness regarding the alarming state of our environment and the viable alternatives for sustainable and equitous use of natural resources.
The focus of the one day training workshop (21st February 2013, at Dehradun, Uttarakhand) was on familiarizing the young practitioners about the need for awareness towards biodiversity issues. This need if left unattended will have far reaching consequences on the culture of societies. Training sessions were held so as to promote pro- conservation practices that will enable the participants to move towards sustainable development. The training also provided participants a platform to put forward their views, exchange ideas, and form a common network thereby reaching out to a larger population of like-minded people.
The training was well attended by several NGO representatives, members from scientific organizations, educational organizations, research organizations, environmental organizations and wildlife related organizations from the state of Uttarakhand. The TOT was also attended by media professionals and journalists who actively participated in the discussions during the workshop.
Sessions covered under the training included a key note address on Biodiversity and Sustainable Development by Dr B. S Barfal, former Chairperson of Uttarakhand State Biodiversity Board and a special address by Dr Ram Prasad, Ex Director General, MP State Council for Science and Technology, and Ex Director IIFM.
The training focussed on local and regional biodiversity concerns, and the need for creating biodiversity awareness amongst ESD practitioners.
It was a conscious decision to conduct the workshop in the biodiversity rich state of Uttarakhand. The training endeavoured to educate the ESD practitioners and specialists about the intricate linkages between biodiversity conservation and Education for Sustainable Development.
Group activity was conducted wherein the participants discussed and deliberated on the following issues:
- Free services provided by biodiversity
- Need for Biological inventory
- Factors that make biodiversity vulnerable
- Reasons for protecting biodiversity including personal belief and values
- Sustainable use of natural resources
Interesting and information discussions revealed the following issues for future consideration.
- The role of corridors in protected areas which enhance the diversity of the species and the urgent need for special protection measures to be employed for the same.
- Creation of scientific inventories is extremely relevant in efforts for biodiversity conservation
- The science of Taxonomy needs to be introduced early in schools. It is only when we know and identify the correct species that we can work for its protection.
- Anthropogenic pressure was discussed in details and the group members stressed how our day-to-day activities, demand and attitude towards our environment affects the same. The increasing conflict between man and animal was also brought forward.
- The group also highlighted values, religious and spiritual beliefs associated with biodiversity.
Ms Livleen Kahlon,
Fellow - Educating Youth for Sustainable Development
The Energy and Resources Institute (www.teriin.org)