Michael Fernandes sdb
As Indians, we have a sense of the sacred, a sense of wonder and awe. An openness and surrender before the mystery of creation is a prominent feature of our culture. Reverence for nature is a sacred tradition that has been handed down from generation to generation. Unfortunately, the times seem to be changing. We no longer look at the earth with respect; rather, we look at it as yet another commodity to be exploited. This indiscriminate and senseless exploitation of the earth is endangering our very existence and yet we seem oblivious of this alarming fact. As educators, it is our responsibility to turn the tide and restore our respect for nature. At the start of this new academic year, I would like to propose a few practical ways in which we as individuals and institutions can care for the earth in our own settings.
- We can make ecology and eco-spirituality a component of our formation programmes.
- Make use of IGNOU correspondence diploma courses on environmental sciences.
- Study government policies on SEZs (Special Economic Zones) and be vigilant about industrial development plans that may impoverish the earth.
- Promote the use of alternative energy sources such as solar and wind energy.
- Include ecology and ecological concerns in our budgetary preferences.
- Participate in movements to safeguard creation and to fight against environmental pollution.
- Develop herbal gardens.
- Ensure green cover over at least 30 % of our lands.
- Use CFL lamps or LED lights as much as possible.
- Avoid the use of plastic bags, cups, wrappers, etc.
- Introduce and install solar heaters, lights and cookers.
- Display posters on roads and in institutions for building ecological awareness.
- Develop organic vegetable gardens and get students involved.
- Provide environmental thoughts for the day on our notice boards.
- Organize special eco-liturgies and prayers.
- Form eco-cells in our schools and parishes.
- Use nature-friendly decorations.
- Name plants and trees to promote nature education.
- Harvest rain water effectively.
- Set up an ecological park in the province: Karjat could be a good possibility.
- Maintain gardens in each house in the province and set up greenhouses wherever possible.
- Cultivate plants that are beneficial for health, such as tulsi, neem, drumstick, curry patta, karela, pumpkin, etc.
- Participate in the annual celebration of World Environment Day on 5th June.
- Cultivate vermiculture pits in our campuses and avoid the burning of wastes.
- Give saplings instead of garlands to chief guests and dignitaries.
God has created the earth and entrusted it to us, to tend and care for it (Gen 2:15). At the start of this new academic year, let us resolve to take great care of this fragile gift that God has placed in our hands. Protecting nature, sustaining its beauty and respecting its biodiversity are values that must find a prominent place in our educational enterprise.