Engaging youth in environmental protection not only creates direct impact on changing their attitudes, but also influences their families

By Partha Pratim Mazumder

While we all enjoy the bounty of Mother Earth, how much do we do to safeguard her interests? From global warming to pollution, there are plenty of man-made problems that we dump, literally,on earth. If we do not change ourselves, the earth would vanish for ever. India’s Vedic civilization has always revered the Earth as Vasundhara, enjoining us to love and take care of her. According to Atharvaveda’s Bhumi Sukta, “The land is our mother and we are her children.” So, can we afford to harm our mother?

Since youth constitutes a large part of the world’s population and they obviously have to live longer, they are better placed to be its stake holders and understand the consequences of adverse environmental scenario. So, it’s our future generations who would end up being affected by these decisions and therefore they need to address various environmental hazards such as the resouce depletion, biodiversity loss, and long-lived radioactive wastes, etc. Youth can be torch-bearer of change with their lifestyle. They can make their homes, schools and organizations more environment-friendly by adopting environment-friendly practices, recycling of different
materials as well as preservation of resources like water, electricity, etc. That’s why, engaging youth in environmental protection would have far more bearing on the environment.It would not only create direct impact on changing youth behaviours and attitudes but possibly also influence their parents, relatives and families.

However, taking an active interest in our planet cannot be an one-day affair. It has to be a continuous and ongoing process. Keeping this in mind, it is every responsible citizen’s responsibility to conduct awareness campaigns and programmes for their children, so that they are sensitised from an early age and take an active interest in keeping the earth a better place. Parents and relatives, pre-schools, schools and day-cares must teach and celebrate with the kids how to create a harmonic bond with Mother Nature by singing songs,participating in art and crafts and sharing knowledge about how our daily-life practices affect the environment around us.
Kids are conscious about the earth and environment-friendly in letter and spirit. It is important to apprise our children that the planet’s resources are not infinite. If not preserved, it will lead to the extinction of the resources which would eventually lead to a polluted, grim and unhealthy future for them.

The best method of teaching the younger generation is to lead them by example and through our own actions. The kids need to be sensitised in schools by planting saplings and watering them, cleaning the litter in the classrooms,screening environmental videos, and learning the dos and don’ts regarding environment. After all, youth are the backbone of the nation. They can change the future of the society with their well-being and courageous behaviour.

The environment is simply defined as our surrounding,including both living and non-living things. Environmental protection is a broad subject. Environment-related problems are increasing day by day and everyone is concerned about global warming and climate change but local and national environmental problems are less attended to an spoken about. Protecting the environment starts with pollution

control. Therefore, youth can help reduce waste by paying attention to minor details in their daily lives, such as not carrying plastic bags while shopping. Actually, there are many other tips for greener environment. By applying the green knowledge at home and schools, we can help to make our city,a greener and healthier place to live in. Discarding computers,electrionic appliances and rechargeable batterier recklessly can seriously harm the environment. The role of youth is to practise recycling for used computers and electronic/electrical appliances and wastes. There are several collection

points for recycling of rechargeable batteries, so there is no point throwing them away in the open. Youth have a definite and proactive role to play in protecting environment and its conservation that will improve livelihoods.It is very important for everyone to understand that it is all related to each other. You cannot abandon the forest while talking about water, or you cannot leave water conservation unattended while working on the problem of soil. This is one aspect of the solution. The second aspect is that society makes a collective effort towards preserving and conserving environment. Personal effort is important, but more important
is to involve society. A collective effort can really make a difference to the cause of environment and thus we can achieve our goal. We need to understand once for all that Nature has enough for our need but certainly not for greed.Let us involve our kids and youths to restore our Vasundhara,which is considered to be the best karma!

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