Role of the Fourth Estate as an educator and guide in the field of environment protection and biodiversity conservation was very important and making mediapersons properly aware of various conservation aspects and development too was equally important, said District Collector, P, Venugopal.

The collector was inaugurating the environment awareness programme for media persons, jointly organised by Kerala State Biodiversity Board (KSBB) and Pathanamthitta Press Club, at the Press Club hall here on Thursday.

Mr Venugopal said the programme has got much relevance in the backdrop of the United Nations’ decision to observe 2010-’20 as the Decade on Biodiversity.

According to him, the population explosion-induced strain on the exploitation of natural exploitation has become a major cause of worry in the modern times. The developed countries were often found to have been pursuing some sort of hegemony when they set agenda for the developing as well as underdeveloped countries in terms of environment protection and bio-diversity conservation, he said.

It appears that the developed countries have been pursuing the development philosophy of “eat the flesh and leave the bones to the lesser privileged,’’ he said.

Mr Venugopal said mediapersons should have a proper perspective and understanding of biodiversity conservation and environment protection as they were the ones who set agenda for governance.

Traditional knowledge

Presiding over the inaugural function, Dr K.P. Laladas, KSBB Member- Secretary stressed the need and importance of documentation of the rich traditional knowledge and the Biodiversity Board has taken the initiative for the same in association with the grama panchayats.

Dr Laladas said the annual biodiversity loss at the global level has been estimated at $ 3 trillion and as many as 28 native paddy species were found to have been extinct in Wayanad alone.

Delivering the keynote address, Dr C.P. Shaji, principal scientific officer, said scientific knowledge was very essential for biodiversity conservation.

Dr Shaji said the media plays the role of a `socialisation agent’ in the conservation of biodiversity and environment. He said the tropical green forests were regarded as cradles of evolution.

Dr Shaji said the Chipko Movement had led to the emergence of a series of environmental groups and movements across the country, making the people aware of the need to conserve the environment and biodiversity.

Effective media intervention was what led to popularisation of the Chipko Movement and various other environment protection programmes, he added.

LSGI role

Prof K.N. Parameswara Kurup, KSBB district co-ordinator, spoke on the role of local self-government institutions (LSGI) in biodiversity conservation.

He said the panchayats were bound to prepare a proper biodiversity register for each panchayat. Every panchayat has got a biodiversity management committee which is yet to act effectively for biodiversity conservation and preservation of traditional knowledge, he said.

Prof Kurup said the panchayat-level committees were supposed to provide the details of biodiversity in each panchayat so that the board, in turn could pas on the information to the National Biodiversity Board.

He said preservation of biodiversity was a must for the very existence of life on earth.

Sanu George Thomas, Press Club president; Biju Kurien, secretary and Dr Annie Mathai, assistant programme co-ordinator, also spoke.