Most of us follow the latest research updates on climate change avidly. So the fact that rise in frequency and intensity of natural disasters is a
fallout of this phenomenon is no news any more. We all know that global temperatures are on the increase, sea levels are rising, and only a few
places in the world are being spared the ravages of violent rainstorms, droughts, tropical cyclones and other climatic disruptions.
We witness more and more people falling victim to these calamities. Though the impact is more intense on the poor, irrespective of whether they
live in cities or in villages along the coast, the net is spreading pretty rapidly to include others too. The floods in Mumbai, and Kolkata in the throes
of the recent Aila are vivid images that prove this.
It is evident that young people today will have to cope with these situations more frequently and at a far more dramatic scale. If we focus on the
urban zone, already the cities and towns of India are bursting at the seams, and the those living in these cluttered habitats with poor infrastructure
would be like sitting ducks in the wake of natural disasters.
The school curriculum has been refashioned to include disaster management. Text books of Geography and Sociology have additional
chapters, starting from class VIII onwards. In some schools, depending upon the vulnerability of the location, mock evacuation and fire drills are
conducted. But the reasons why natural disasters are getting more frequent and furious are deeply associated with the way we live. So they have
direct or indirect linkages to almost every discipline we teach at school.
Given the magnitude of the problem, we decided to scratch beneath the surface. We are looking at the curriculum content and asking experts in
the field to comment on it. While we do that we want to ask a few questions to you too. You may be a student, a teacher, a parent or a concerned
citizen, we want to know if you have started thinking about the future. And what are you thinking?
You can begin by answering these:
Should learning about natural disasters be multidisciplinary?
Are we equipping students with the special skill sets and knowledge required to
tackle situations arising out of natural disasters?
Does the curriculum on natural disasters address the associated technical and
social issues appropriately?
What in your opinion would be the appropriate way to empower the next
generation—practically as well as intellectually?
We shall bring you the replies of some eminent educators in the August issue of Gobar Times. Meanwhile, we urge you to join the debate. Write
in to us by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or mail your replies to us at the following address:
Centre for Science and Environment
41, Tughlakabad Institutional Area
New Delhi – 110062