Environmental awareness needs to be created through formal and informal education to all sections of the society. Everyone needs to understand it because environment belongs to ‘all’ and ‘every individual matters’ when it comes to conservation and protection of environment.
Various stage and methods that can be useful to raising environmental awareness in different sections of the society are as follows:
(i) Among students through education: Environmental education must be imparted to student’s right from the childhood stage. It is a welcome step that now all over the country we are introducing environmental studies as a subject at all stages including school arid college level, following the directives of the Supreme Court.
(ii) Among the masses through mass-media : Media can play an important role to educate the masses on environmental issues through articles, environmental rallies, plantation campaigns, street plays, real eco-disaster stories and success stories of conservation efforts. TV serials have been effective in propagation the seeds of environmental awareness amongst the viewers of all age groups.
(iii) Among the planners, decision makers and leaders. Since this elite section of the society plays the most important role in shaping the future of the society, it is very important to give them the necessary orientation and training through specially organized workshops and training programme.
Publication of environment-related resources material in the form of pamphlets or booklets published by Ministry of Environment & Forests can also help in keeping this section abreast of the latest developments in the field.
Role of Non-Government Organizations (NGO’s)
Voluntary organizations can help by advising the government about some local environmental issues and at the same time interacting at the grass-root levels. They can act both as an ‘action group’ or a ‘pressure group’.
They can be very effective in organizing public movements for the protection of environment through creation of awareness.
The “Chipko Movement” for conservation of trees by Dasholi Gram Swarajya Mandal in Ganeshwar and the “Narmada Bachao Andolan” organized by Kalpavriksh, are some of the instances where NGO’s have played a landmark role in the society for conservation of environment.
The Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS), the World Wide Fund for Natural India (WWF, India), Kerala Sastra Sahitya Parishad centre for Science and Environment (CSE) and many other organizations are playing a significant role in creating environmental awareness through research as well as extension work.
The recent report by CSE on more than permissible limits of pesticides in the cola drinks sensitized the people all over the country.
Before we can all take up the task of environmental protection and conservation, we have to be environmentally educated and aware.