Forest min bats for climate change in school curriculum
James calls on prominent citizens to talk preservation of environment
SHILLONG, July 13: In his quest to mitigate the effects of climate change using participative governance with people-centric agenda, Forest and Environment Minister James Sangma is looking to propose to the state government for introduction of climate change in curriculum of schools while contending that the world is fast turning into a “bio economy where sustainability will have to be the norm going forward”.
He also said that the government is exploring bio patents for living root bridges in the state through a technology called ‘Baubotanik’.
“We are a young state and I am looking at this as an opportunity to reverse deforestation and turn this into a regenerative economy,” he added.
His statements come after an interactive session with few prominent personalities — Naba Bhattacharjee, Morningstar Khongthaw and Nicholas J Kharnami — on new development and growth strategy to preserve the environment and tackle climate change in Meghalaya.
James says that the idea behind such a forum is to reach out to the people on ground zero who are passionate about protecting the environment and understand the subject in a practical manner.
“I want to create an environment leadership paradigm for Meghalaya through participative governance where people’s views and suggestions are considered for a better future. COVID has jolted all of us and has opened up the vulnerabilities of the systems which need to be tackled with a sense of urgency,” the minister said in a statement.
Naba Bhattacharjee, who is a retired Forest officer, suggested that “we need to follow the traditional values and ethos of the tribal people in the state in order to preserve and protect our forests. The value system and belief of the Khasi, Jaintia and Garo people needs to be restored if we want to protect the environment”.
Morningstar Khongthaw, founder of the Living Bridge Foundation, known for maintaining living root bridges in Rangthylliang village in Pynursla, said “the need of the hour is to have a practical curriculum where students have hands-on means to the study of environment. Students should be able to touch, see and grow plants and trees and not just read about them in a classroom”. He further added that spreading awareness in the state about the value of preserving living roots bridges through different traditional skill set and art form would help in securing the state’s heritage and culture.
On the other hand, Nicholas J Kharnami, an RJ and founder of Partners of Plaw Iew, opined that economic activity of the people has to be taken into consideration to ensure sustainable livelihood and to protect the environment.
He added: “We have lost our traditional values due to globalisation, and to take better care of nature and the environment, it is important that we go back to our roots and value system”.