Sensitisation on environmental issues needs to be imbibed deeply at school level: Wangchuk

Sonam Wangchuk, founder of Student’s Educational and Cultural Movement of Ladakh said that school years should be utilised to create awareness of the environment and sustainability.

Sensitisation on environmental issues needs to be imbibed deeply at school level: Wangchuk Sonam Wangchuk (Image: Official Twitter)
Press Trust of India | Jul 6, 2022 - 11:02 p.m. IST
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NEW DELHI: Sensitisation on environmental issues needs to be inculcated deeply at the school level, and education needs to be redefined and oriented towards driving greater harmony between man and nature, Sonam Wangchuk, noted innovator, educationist and environmentalist said on Wednesday.

Natural resources or items that have environmental consequences should not be artificially priced or wrongly subsidised and their prices, in fact, should reflect their true cost to drive people towards cleaner alternatives, he said. For instance, pricing of coal "rightly" may drive people to pursue alternatives, Wangchuk said advocating that subsidies need to be removed from "wrong" items. "I really think we don't need subsidies to do the right things. All we need is to remove subsidies to do the wrong things," he said.

Speaking at a virtual event of the software company Salesforce, Wangchuk who is the Founder of Student’s Educational and Cultural Movement of Ladakh (SECMOL) said that even as seminars and workshops are being organised to sensitise people about environmental issues and emissions, efforts need to be made to utilise the school years to create greater awareness around the environment, and sustainability. "...we forget that for a whole 15 years every person on this planet is a captive listener in a long workshop or training and that's called schooling. So the cleverest thing would be to have this kind of sensitisation already at the school level. And again, schools have to change also, because our schools are still based broadly on the same principles and visions that we had at the time of the industrial revolution when the aim was to maximise the production and extraction and exploitation of nature," he said. Today having realised the consequences, "if we keep putting the same inputs, we will not get a different result", he cautioned. "Therefore, education will have to be redefined and changed so that it goes towards healing nature, bringing harmony between man and nature," he said in a chat with Arundhati Bhattacharya, CEO and Chairperson of Salesforce India. It is imperative for all organisations to act upon climate change responses, he said adding engagement of corporates with their suppliers and markets should also reflect strong environmental values.

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Asked about the innovations he is dabbling with, Wangchuk mentioned, "I am playing with ideas of refreezing our melting glaciers in the Himalayas, even to refreeze the north and the south poles that are fast melting...I am working on active, passive and semipassive ways...". "...people ask me that would need a lot of resources, how will you fund it? And the innovation in that, I believe, is to redefine defence. And you have so much money...today the world has trillions of dollars of the defence budget. Actually, defence is all of us preparing against the biggest challenge of the planet forever....that is climate change," he said. "So the defence budget should be actually climate budget. Therefore defence should be truly defence of our humanity. So this kind of little innovation will make available huge funds for such innovations," he said.

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