Even as India strives for high economic growth, the country's per capita ecological footprint has increased, according to a latest international report, said M.S. Swaminathan, chairman, MSSRF, here on Saturday.
Releasing a play, ‘Hug a Tree,' written by Nanditha Krishna and published by New Horizon Media, Dr. Swaminathan said increased per capita ecological footprint could put pressure on limited bio-resources as the country strived for high economic growth.
While most people made no demand, 10 to 15 per cent of the population was seeking more than their share of demand, he said, asking teachers and schools to be transformational agents and create a new breed of citizens who would act as “green activists.”
While there were global charters to save environment, charters for nature should be prepared at local, village and town level to calculate availability of bio-resources such as water, soil and food production in relation to the population present, he said.
Dr. Swaminthan presented the C.P.R. Environmental Education Centre's Green School Initiative award to R.K.M. Sarada Vidyalaya Model HSS and environmental education award to Bency Joy, a government school teacher in the Andamans.
Presiding over the function, N.R. Krishnan, former secretary, Union Ministry of Environment and Forests, said human beings were an important element in conservation. Recalling an incident in early 1970s, he said how a top bureaucrat, after listening to a presentation by his team, immediately rejected a hydro-electric project in the ecologically sensitive Mudumalai forests. Conservation heroes were everywhere, he noted.
When it came to development projects in ecologically rich areas, Mr. Krishnan advised bureaucrats to say no to projects when they knew at first sight that they would harm environment.