Wednesday, February 8, 2023

NE green meet focus on youngsters participation

A group of students from carbon-negative Bhutan has this message for the world – do much more to ensure increased participation of youngsters in the fight against climate change.
This group of 12 boys and girls from Orong Central School in Bhutan’s Samdrup Jongkhar district was here for the just-concluded Northeast Green Summit.
A few suggested holding of climate change-related competitions and events in schools and colleges will encourage more young people to eventually work in the climate action space.
“You don’t have to be a prime minister or politician or government official to protect the environment. Every individual can contribute to the cause by doing small things like planting trees and keeping his or her surroundings clean,” Phuntsho Wangmo, a class 12 student, told PTI.
She cited the example of how the district authorities in Samdrup Jongkhar organise an annual competition wherein school students put forth creative ways like recycling waste materials to save the environment.
“Our school won the contest in 2017 when the students came up with the idea of using discarded bamboo parts to make planters… The governments need to do much more to engage the youth in this fight,” she added. Kezabg Sherab from class 10 student said the students are also expected to clean their surroundings and recycle plastic waste as part of the event.
He too said that youth engagement is pivotal to environmental action.
“If we realise our responsibilities towards the environment at an early stage, it will undeniably help us behave more responsibly,” he said. The students of classes 10 to 12 from the ‘Land of the Thunder Dragon’ participated in the seventh edition of the summit at the North Eastern Police Academy here for the first time. The summit was organised by Vibgyor NE Foundation, a not-for-profit organisation, specialising in green issues of Northeast India.
Donning colourful, traditional costumes, the students enthralled the audience with their vibrant and lively ‘mask dance’, which they performed during the inaugural ceremony.
Tendral Zangmo, a class 12 student, said while nature conservation is important, so is development and therefore, it is imperative to strike the right balance between the two.
“I am passionate about the environment but I also realise that development and industrialisation are necessary for nations to move forward on the path of progress. We have to balance conservation and development,” she said.
In his address at the event, Jigme Thinlye Namgyal, Consul General at the Royal Bhutan Consulate in Guwahati, highlighted how Bhutan became a carbon negative country and what Northeast India can learn from it.
“The government of Bhutan has a history of basing political decisions on a Gross National Happiness (GNH) index before economic growth. It recognises the importance of economic growth, but asserts that it must not undermine the nation’s distinct culture or pristine environment,” he said.
“The Constitution states that 60 per cent of the country’s total land area remains under forest cover for all time and free hydroelectric power generated by Bhutan’s many rivers is used instead of less environmentally friendly fossil fuels. The country also provides free electricity to rural farmers and has banned log exports.
“Northeast India is known for its lush vegetation and diverse flora and fauna. A lot can be done with its wealth of mineral resources. Going local can solve most of the problems,” he commented.

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