“If everyone does their bit for the environment, makes a small contribution, we do not need summits like the one at Copenhagen. A lot of work can be done at the grassroots-level and each individual can make a difference,” said Supraja Dharani, chairperson, TREE Foundation.
She added that summits of any kind should not be the culmination to a campaign, but must instead lead to a new beginning. “The youth have to be empowered to make the right choices and we must give them hope.”
She was speaking at the inauguration of a two-day workshop ‘Eco Revolution - Youth summit 2009’ jointly organised by the Institute of Remote Sensing (Anna University), TREE Foundation and Roots & Shoots India here on Monday.
The summit will include youth-led panels, roundtable discussions, workshops and other activities. At the end of the summit, each participant will come up with an individual action plan to improve his/her own community, and a strategy to communicate the group’s concerns and recommendations to a broader audience.
Andrew T. Simkin, U.S. Consul-General, said: “As a foreign diplomat, we are generally not encouraged to support a revolution. But revolutions on the environment front are necessary and the magnitude of the problems brings all of us together. The United States and India regularly share information, technology and best practices on environmental issues.”
He added that reducing our personal impact on the environment can inspire others also and shared some practical solutions which anyone can adopt to reduce their carbon footprint.
According to him, youth across the world have always taken a lead in campaigning for important causes. “When the young are well organised, the older generation find it difficult to resist change.”
P. Mannar Jawahar, Vice-Chancellor, Anna University, said that solutions to environmental concerns must always involve the participation of young students. “Unless they are exposed, they might not understand the significance of their responsibility.”
He added that technological interventions such as remote sensing should be used to enhance existing methodologies in ecological preservation and wildlife protection. The workshop in which students from various colleges are participating include sessions on leadership, activity modules and exposure to geomatics technologies such as global positioning system (GPS) and geographic information system (GIS).