Paryavaran Mitra
Climate change education programme

Launched on 24 July 2010

Dr A.P.J Abdul Kalam recently launched Paryavaran Mitra which is an initiative of Centre for Environment Education in partnership with Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India and ArcelorMittal.This programme is the largest climate change and sustainability education programme in the world, for schools.

The programme aims, over three years, at creating 2 crore Friends of the Environment in schools across India, who would undertake action towards reducing Footprint and increasing Hand Print for environmental sustainability. The programme will involve students in hands-on projects to provide them an understanding about their immediate environment; their school, neighbourhood, village or city and national and international issues. The Paryavaran Mitra would be someone who has taken part in activities in the following areas: Waste Management; Biodiversity, Wildlife and Forests; Energy; Water; Culture and Heritage. Here is a brief on the programme and how teachers and students can take part.

An Action-based Programme

Paryavaran Mitra is a programme for students that envisions creating Paryavaran Mitras (Friends of the Environment) in schools across India.

The goal of the Paryavaran Mitra programme is to create anetwork of young people across the nation who have the knowledge, awareness and commitment to meet the challenges of global citizenship and Climate Change.

The project aims to guide, facilitate, capacity build students through curriculum-linked activities and co-curricular action projects to take positive environmental action at individual, community, national and global level.

The Paryavaran Mitra project seeks to reach students in classes from standards 6–9 (age group 11-15). The first phase of the programme is for a period of three years from 2010-2013.

2 lakh schools and 2 crore school students across the country will be reached in the first phase. These students will be from schools in every state and every district of India. It is envisaged that the programme is built on a variety of networks and partnerships. The goal is to create Paryavaran Mitra in all schools in India.

What is Hand Print?

Everyday actions of individuals add up and have a global influence both positive and negative. The Hand Print is a measure of positive environmental action—action that is directed to decrease the human Footprint.

The Footprint is the negative effect we leave on global resources. Footprint measures the impact of our everyday actions and the way we live.

Everything we need and use in our daily life involves exhaustive use of materials and energy. This consumption is linked with the way we live, what we buy and how we use our resources—in other words, our lifestyle.

How can we know how much materials and energy each of us utilizes to maintain our lifestyle? The Ecological Footprint is an estimate of earth's productive land area
and water that it takes to supply the resources that an individual or group demands, and to absorb the waste that the individual or group produces. Every human that lives has an Ecological Footprint!

Hand Print refers to each individual's efforts that help to improve the conditions for life on our planet, today and in the future. The Hand Print actions positively impact the three aspects of sustainability: environment, society and economy.

Some Footprint websites

Paryavaran Mitras have Personal Commitment

A Paryavaran Mitra is a child, a teacher, or any individual who has a personal commitment to take positive environmental action. The commitment usually begins with an awareness of one's immediate environment. But awareness alone may not automatically lead to action.

For example: There is awareness about the ill-effects of plastic carry bags but despite this, its usage is widespread. But it is not always that we consciously say no to plastic bags. Effective and sustainable action is the outcome of a process that may begin with awareness, and include acquiring knowledge, developing values and attitudes, and building skills. The process must also involve making a critical examination of our priorities, habits, beliefs and values with respect to how we live and how we use our resources.

A Paryavaran Mitra is a one who has taken the steps from awareness to positive action, and who reflects this commitment in every aspect of life. This is also someone who takes up a leadership role, initiates cooperative action at home, school, community and beyond.
A Paryavaran Mitra will play an active role as an informed and responsible citizen, and will contribute to social and environmental well being.

Students of SGVP International School, Ahmedabad, have taken up plantation as part of their Paryavaran Mitra activity.

Why Paryavaran Mitra in Schools?

School is a place where students spend anywhere from 5-8 hours a day, for an average 200 days of a year. In fact, this is where a considerable time of their waking hours is spent. The school time and space provide a wonderful opportunity for not only syllabus related learning, but equally, the development of life-skills through extracurricular and co- curricular activities, and interactions with peers. The school provides a structured
opportunity to make every child a change agent. And every child takes back the experiences and learnings from the school to his/her home/community. This way, the Hand Print messages and actions will reach to at least 2 crore households across India.

What does a school have to do once it joins Paryavaran Mitra Project?

Schools have to involve students in class rooms, in eco-clubs, and in the whole school in action-oriented activities and carry out projects under five themes: Water, Waste Management, Energy, Biodiversity, Culture and Heritage.

The students have to carry out and complete at least five activities in each of these five themes. Most of the activities will be carried out in the school.
The eco club students would carry out the activities in greater depth and spend more time on these.

Of these activities, at least one has to be carried out in the student's family or community.
The schools/Eco Clubs would need to document the activities undertaken and report the quantifiable changes observed.

What is the role of a teacher?

The teacher is the key motivator and facilitator of this project. The teacher, working closely with students, needs to identify the local issues, curricular linkages to plan and schedule the activities to be undertaken, and provide the necessary guidance to students to undertake the activities in a systematic manner, taking care that the objectives are achieved. The teacher should encourage students to document and share the experience, processes and learnings from the activities. Teachers will prepare and submit reports in the required format.

For more information contact:

Paryavaran Mitra Secretariat
Centre for Environment Education
Nehru Foundation for Development,
Thaltej Tekra, Ahmedabad 380 054
Phone: (079) 2685 8002 - 05 Fax: (079) 2685 8010

Paryavaran Mitra participation in the Kankaria Carnival 2010, Ahmedabad, Gujarath

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