At the 27th Session of Conference of Parties of the UNFCCC (COP 27) in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, the India Pavilion hosted a side event on “Transformative Green Education: Experiences from India” between 06:30 – 07:30 PM IST (03:00-04:00 PM EET). Shri Bhupender Yadav, Hon’ble Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Government of India gave the keynote address and released a book (both print and digital versions), calendar, postcards, bookmarks, and posters. All of these are based on paintings by Indian school children on sustainable lifestyles, collected by the National Museum of Natural History, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change. The Hon’ble Minister will also release a short video on green transformative education titled ‘Small Steps, High Aspirations’.
Side Event on Transformative Green Education
In his keynote address, the Hon’ble Minister highlighted the important role played by children in spreading the message of Lifestyle for Environment. Shri Yadav congratulated the school children who joined the event virtually, and nudged them to continue the good work. At the event, Smt. Nameeta Prasad, Joint Secretary mentioned that the school children in India will act as multipliers of sustainable habits within their families and communities. Ms. Hanna Reuter, Head of Climate Team, Asia, Pacific, Latin America and Caribbean, GIZ, elaborated on the Indo-German Technical Cooperation, and the need to engage more with children and youth on sustainable lifestyles. Ms. Naaz Rizvi, Director, National Museum of Natural History explained the various activities on transformative education being undertaken in collaboration with GIZ India. Shri. Jai Kumar Gaurav, Senior Advisor, GIZ India explained in detail the learning spaces being developed in school ecosystems in collaboration with NMNH, MoEFCC and other state government partners. Dr. C. R. Magesh, Scientist, NMNH proposed the vote of thanks. Apart from the participants at the India pavilion at Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, school children who took part in the painting competition also attended the session virtually using the live streaming facility available for the India side events at COP27.
India has been focusing on green transformative education, including exposing and spreading awareness among school children and youth on sustainable lifestyles. National Museum of Natural History (NMNH) and Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) India have developed interactive learning spaces focusing on sustainable lifestyles triggering discussions, and activities among students and youth. Recognising the importance of art as a means of expression, especially by the younger generation, the National Museum of Natural History (NMNH), Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) in India invited school children to submit paintings on Mission LiFE (Lifestyle for Environment) in August 2022. As an educational programme, this provided a platform for students to creatively explore, express, and advocate for issues relating to sustainable lifestyles. More than 16,000 school students across India submitted unique art pieces reflecting individual sustainable actions that can be practised in various parts of one’s life when dealing with energy, food, water, waste etc. Each painting is a young mind’s representation of a complex issue which is reflected in their own words. This is a powerful and effective way to make the art of sustainable living personal, relevant, and accessible. In order to capture these moving tributes, 40 of the best submissions have been compiled in the form of various communication products.
Mission LiFE emphasises on the democratisation of climate change actions by creating a global community network called “Pro Planet People”. Within such a community, children play an important role since they are both a victim as well as a key to the climate crisis. As a country with one of the youngest populations in the world, school children in India will act as multipliers of sustainable habits within their families and communities. The proverb “We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children” proves that we cannot create a sustainable Earth for our future generations without involving them in the process.
India has been focusing on green transformative education, including exposing and spreading awareness among school children and youth on sustainable lifestyles. This was highlighted in the address of the Hon. Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi in COP26 on the need to include solutions on climate change adaptation within school education. National Museum of Natural History (NMNH) and Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) India have led activities to facilitate experiential learning for school children on themes covering Lifestyle for Environment and Climate Change, which contributes towards India’s NDC Goal 1.
The activities include innovative permanent exhibits, climate change learning labs, outreach events, awareness programs and innovative competitions. These are intended to enable school students to relate to the impacts of climate change on their lives, help them understand the science behind climate change, and find pragmatic solutions, especially nudging them to adopt climate-friendly lifestyles. The need for such learning spaces are also detailed in the National Education Policy 2020, which envisages education to be experiential, holistic, integrated, inquiry-driven, discovery-oriented, learner-centred, and discussion-based.