Glimpses from CSE's third National Knowledge Conclave | Centre for Science and Environment


Glimpses from CSE's third National Knowledge Conclave

The three day long conclave, kicked off on Jan 31st at the AAETI campus.

Highlights

Since the launch of the Green Educators’ Network in Jan 2016, CSE has organised three national conclaves and a regional conclave in Kolkata, in partnership with one of its members, St Xavier’s Kolkata. Based on member feedback, a publication exclusively for EVS faculty members, Environment Reader for Universities, was introduced. Within three months, such was the demand that Reader has now gone into a second reprint. Many colleges and universities have also included the Reader in their Reading list, too.

Glimpses from CSE's third National Knowledge Conclave

CSE provided opportunities to students recommended by members of the Network for summer internships. The students successfully interned with the Water and Air units of CSE in 2017. 


National Conclave 2018

This year, too, the conclave was organised exclusively for the Educators teaching Environmental Studies/ Environmental Science/ Environmental Engineering at the undergraduate and post graduate levels. Several challenges in the area of Environment Education were discussed during an interactive session between Sunita Narain and the Green Educators, representing educational institutions from across the country. As a result of this exhaustive session, a couple of policy interventions were suggested by the educators, along with a suggestion of adopting more contemporary and innovative ways of teaching within the classrooms. 
This year, a new initiative, again as feedback from previous conclaves, the Forum of Green Campuses was launched and appreciated by the Academic community. Based on the analysis of two of our Network campuses by the Sustainable Buildings Team, a few colleges interested in signing up with the CSE team have submitted their forms for further analysis of their resource consumption levels. 

Based on a recent publication authored by Sunita Narain – ‘Conflicts of Interest’, two of our Green Educators’ Network members, Dr. P Sankar Ganesh from BITs Pillani, Hyderabad campus and Dr. R. Baskar from Guru Jambheshwar University of Science and Technology, interviewed Sunita Narain. During this informal session, CSE’s journey aimed at achieving sustainability by overcoming some of the most serious environmental challenges, amidst all the widely reported controversies, was discussed.  

On 2nd day of the conclave, diverse areas essential for achieving overall sustainability were discussed. This largely involved, sessions on Nutrition, Health and Lifestyle diseases; Challenges of urban air quality; and Effective solid waste management practices. These sessions had triggered intense discussion amongst the educators on these various aspects of sustainable living within urban spaces. Field visit to nearby villages of Khohar, Pathkori and Ghagas provided the educators an insight of the working of rainwater harvesting structures, implementation of sustainable agricultural practices, sand filters, etc, in a topography specific to a semi-arid region. In addition to the classroom lectures, this field visit helped the educators visualize the actual on ground implementation of some of the sustainable and green practices.

The critical issue of Agrarian Crisis, affecting the already vulnerable farmer economy in more than one way, was discusses at length during the first session of the last day of the conclave by the Down to Earth unit of CSE. In addition, CSE’s Water team gave an in depth overview of the existing gaps in the City Sanitation Plans and the national campaign of Swachh Bharat Mission. It was informed that as result of the existing gaps, CSE is currently helping the ULB officials in the states of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, to come up with better CSPs, thereby, enabling smoother on ground implementation. 

The day was concluded by educators sharing some very interesting feedback on how CSE can think about developing a model syllabus, based on which a complete overhauling of the existing Environmental Studies syllabus at the under graduate and post graduate levels can be considered. In addition, few policy interventions were also suggested such as considering the course of environment studies as one of the foundation courses and not as a supplementary subject, to trigger seriousness amongst the students towards the subject. 

Next steps
Following the success of the regional Conclave in Kolkata, CSE, with support from its members in the South, hopes to deepen the network by organising a conclave or two, in the South. A social media platform for members to connect and interact, a fortnightly newsletter t be used in the classroom are some of the initiatives planned for 2018.

Members, stay tuned for further developments!

 

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