Last month I was in a little town nestling in the hills of Western Ghats, chatting with a group of voluble, brimming-with-energy teenagers. Did they discuss environment in the classroom? Of course they did, and of course they knew ALL about the problems that ail ‘ENVIRONMENT’.
Were they planning to tackle some? Of course they did. They were ‘recycling plastic’! Anything else? Err...recycling some more plastic? If I felt like clutching my head or pulling out my hair by the roots, it was not because I was angry with those bright-eyed kids. I was angry with myself for being part of an education system that was so short-sighted.
For failing to express to these citizens that their role went beyond sorting out polythene bags. They, who happen to live and study in a land that is known to be the world’s most fertile nurturing ground. Not only of a phenomenal range of living organisms but of ecological movements of astounding shapes and intensities. Movements led by local people to assert their right over their land, and to ward off miners, industrialists, urban developers who want a share of that precious land too. I was angry because our curriculum on ‘ENVIRONMENT’ fail to touch the nub everytime.
It fails to tell the students that they have a lot to prepare for...just to survive the future. They have to learn to grow food without destroying the soil; to build factories without polluting rivers; to build cities without drowning in their own sewage.
And then, if they still have to, they can keep recycling those plastic bags.
Pandit Gobar Ganesh