Awareness of environmental issues should be deeply infused at the school level: Sonam Wangchuk

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New Delhi: Awareness of environmental issues must be deeply instilled at the school level, and education must be redefined and geared towards greater harmony between man and nature, Sonam Wangchuk, a renowned innovator, educator and environmentalist, said Wednesday, July 6 . Natural resources or items that have environmental consequences should not be artificially priced or wrongly subsidized and their prices, in fact, should reflect their true cost to lead people to cleaner alternatives, he said.

For example, pricing coal “rightly” may encourage people to seek alternatives, Wangchuk said, advocating that subsidies should be removed from “bad” items.

I really think we don’t need grants to do the right things. All we need is to remove subsidies for doing the wrong things, he said.

Speaking at a virtual event by software company Salesforce, Mr. Wangchuk, founder of Student Educational and Cultural Movement of Ladakh (SECMOL), said that while seminars and workshops are held to raise awareness to environmental issues and emissions, efforts should be made to use the school years to create greater awareness of the environment and sustainability.

“…we forget that for 15 years every person on this planet is a captive listener in a long workshop or training and that is called schooling. So the smartest thing would be to have that kind of awareness already at the school level. And again, schools have to change too, because our schools are still largely based on the same principles and visions that we had at the time of the industrial revolution when the goal was to maximize production, extraction and exploitation of nature,” he said. .

Today, having realized the consequences, “if we continue to put the same inputs, we will not obtain a different result”, he warned.

“Therefore, education will have to be redefined and changed so that it goes towards the healing of nature, bringing harmony between man and nature,” he said in conversation with Arundhati Bhattacharya, CEO and President of Salesforce India.

It is imperative that all organizations act on responses to climate change, he said, adding that companies’ engagement with their suppliers and markets should also reflect strong environmental values.

Asked about the innovations he tries his hand at, Mr. Wangchuk said:

I play with ideas of refreezing our melting glaciers in the Himalayas, even refreezing the rapidly melting north and south poles… I work on active, passive and semi-passive pathways…

“…people ask me it would take a lot of resources, how are you going to fund it? And the innovation in that, I believe, is to redefine defense. And you have so much money… today the world has trillions of dollars of defense budget. In fact, defense is all of us preparing against the greatest challenge on the planet forever… that is climate change,” he said.

So the defense budget should actually be a climate budget. Defense must therefore truly be the defense of our humanity. So this kind of small innovation will make huge funds available for such innovations, he said.

(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

NDTV – Dettol has been working for a clean and healthy India since 2014 through the Banega Swachh India initiative, which is led by campaign ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. The campaign aims to highlight the interconnectedness of humans and the environment, and of humans to each other, with a focus on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. He insists on the need to take care and consider the health of everyone in India – especially the vulnerable communities – the LGBTQ population, indigenous peoples, different tribes of India, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. With the current Covid-19 pandemicthe need for WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed because handwashing is one of the ways to prevent coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign will continue to raise awareness on the same with emphasizing the importance of nutrition and health care for women and children, tackling malnutritionmental well-being, self-care, science and health, adolescent health and gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign realized the need to also take care of the health of the ecosystem. Our environment is fragile due to human activity, which not only overexploits available resources, but also generates immense pollution due to the use and extraction of these resources. The imbalance has also resulted in an immense loss of biodiversity which has caused one of the greatest threats to human survival – climate change. He 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 scan and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also advance the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign believes that only a clean Swachh or India where bathroom are used and without open defecation (ODF) status obtained under the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014 can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and the country can become a healthy Swasth or India.

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