New Delhi: Climate education has an incredible potential to combat climate change and empower children with solutions. That is the philosophy behind India’s first climate resilient school that has been launched in the Government Higher Secondary School in Athali, Uttarkashi, Uttarakhand. Dettol’s Hygiene Curriculum has successfully proven that there can be no better changemakers in communities than children. Teaching children about climate change will help successfully nudge their parents’ behaviour, eventually bringing behavioural change in the community.
Talking about educating children and driving change through them, Ravi Bhatnagar, Director, SOA External Affairs and Partnerships, Reckitt said,
Like our honourable Prime Minister says, every sixth person in the world is an Indian. When Indians progress, the world also progresses. When India reforms, the world also reforms. I am very sure the voice will go very loud and fast with the help of NDTV. We will be having Climate Champion Kids, who will be coming from this chaar (four) dhaams. And I am sure, this year when the COP (Conference of the Parties) happens, we will have representation from India, from these four dhaams.
The three Cs identified as the pillars of the Sustainable and Climate Resilient Schools Framework are Campus, Curriculum, and Collaboration. A climate-conscious campus, a curriculum of climate resilience and a collaborative approach with key stakeholders. Besides increased green cover in the schools for better air quality, the school has retrofitted solar panels, low flow water fixtures resulting in a reduction of water consumption and energy-efficient lights and fans.
Children will be taught about climate resilience through STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) Education, and physical and digital games. Waste management is another sustainable practice that has been integrated.
Talking about the need for such an initiative, Abhishek Ruhela, District Magistrate, Uttarkashi, Uttarakhand said,
It is very important that we adopt some means where we require less energy, our carbon footprint is reduced and similarly, water management is also very critical to the state. Because there are a lot of villages in Uttarakhand, which are slowly facing a water crisis.
The school is working on accelerating the achievement of the sustainable development goals (SDGs). The school has been inspired by the PM’s global movement of Mission LiFe or Lifestyle For the Environment, which will enable the future generation to live a more sustainable and fulfilling life.
NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via the Banega Swachh India initiative, which is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. The campaign aims to highlight the inter-dependency of humans and the environment, and of humans on one another with the focus on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. It stresses on the need to take care of, and consider, everyone’s health in India – especially vulnerable communities – the LGBTQ population, indigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign will continue to raise awareness on the same along with focussing on the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children, fight malnutrition, mental wellbeing, self care, science and health, adolescent health & gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign has realised the need to also take care of the health of the eco-system. Our environment is fragile due to human activity, which is not only over-exploiting available resources, but also generating immense pollution as a result of using and extracting those resources. The imbalance has also led to immense biodiversity loss that has caused one of the biggest threats to human survival – climate change. It has now been described as a “code red for humanity.” The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and the country can become a Swasth or healthy India.