The IYCN Schools Program began on a wonderful note,with a session on the Youth and Climate Change at Sanskriti, one of the most eco-friendly schools in New Delhi a few days ago. The two hour interaction was definitely an all time high ,especially for the seven IYCN members present there. Their strong belief in the ability of children to make a difference was echoed by the class XI students who got together to create a new city, by naming it ‘Youngistan’.
After a brief warming up session, students were encouraged to raise questions on climate, science and policy. Interestingly, the students themselves had the answers and often asked profound questions much to everyone’s amazement.
Standing amidst the children, I was indeed amazed to see the seriousness with which the students approached the issue. They had very well grasped the idea that climate change was merely not an environmental issue but also a socio-economic one. Their senstivity was highlighted when they brought to the attention of everyone the plight of lesser fortunate citizens of the country and their resolve to critically relook at their own lifestyles. The discussion ranged from consumerism to government initiative to active citizenship. Questions regarding development and sustainability created a discussion that saw the students realizing the complexity of the issue at hand.
What was also heartening was the presence of teachers who actively engaged themselves in the interaction. Over the last few years, Sanskriti has been adopting eco friendly appraoches to both their education technique and school infrastructure. The school even has an Environmental Studies(EVS) lab as well as initiatives to keep the campus clean. Students also told us about the efforts some teachers have been taking to teach about environmental consciousness. We also witnessed an Art class where junior students were deeply involved in making innovative objects out of e-waste.
Another highlight was the closed interaction we were able to have with the members of the school’s Eco Club, otherwise known as the Green Brigade. Led by enthusiastic seniors and juniors alike, they bombarded us with so many interesting ideas. In the end, all we could tell them was to believe in their actions and to confidently move ahead, despite all obstacles. The Green Brigade also brainstormed on issues such as the BRT Corridor and waste recycling.
IYCN’s Schools Program aims to reach out to students across the city, including both government and private institutions and to spread the message of the need to tackle climate change together. Although, initially, many of them are apprehensive of taking the first step, it is important to help them realize that the challenge is theirs. They are the ones who are going to inherit this planet in the next few decades and we all need to come up with solutions, however small it may be to prevent ourselves from falling into total chaos.
The confidence and glee on the students faces however, put all our doubts to rest! They bid farewell by gifting us a plant each, a reminder of their resolution to be the change they wish to see.