In the article, “Why the environment matters”, Sunita Narain is right in saying that “the way to learn the environment is to learn to ask questions”. Current academic dealing of the environment as a subject and its courses have become perfunctory, uninspiring and rote-based, with little being done to ensure that students imbibe the right spirit and practical awareness.
Those who frame the syllabus as well as teachers and the government should set an example to students before pontificating to them about the environment. How does it help if we travel in cars and use disposable plastic water bottles even as we lecture others about the environment?
I am reminded of an interesting article from 1995, “What they do not teach you in a business school”, written for the United Nations University by Kris McDivitt, former CEO of sustainable outdoor clothing company Patagonia. It makes the following observations: “They do not teach you anything on real life situations... about business in the context of its profound effects on society, world and its impact on our natural world and the millions of species with it... the limits of natural resources, limits to the number of ‘customers’ the earth can support.... They do not discuss with you your unsustainable habits… They will not allow you the glimpse of the fact that computers are accelerating our use of earth’s resources and have brought us to the edge of their depletion.”
Eco villages like Pondicherry’s Auroville are exemplars of a place where environmental studies are not just taught but practised in day-to-day life.
C V Krishna Manoj Hyderabad
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