About the Green Schools programme
India’s oldest and most widely followed Green Schools programme was initiated through “Gobar Times”, with about 21,000 schools enrolled. Gobar Times is the children’s section of “Down to Earth” magazine, India’s best known magazine on the Environment, brought out by the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE).
According to CSE, the term Green Schools applies to schools that educate children, at a very early age about their commitment toward the community they are living in by doing their bit at an individual level. Green Schools are those that
- give importance to energy efficiency (with clean air and sunlight and free of toxic materials and chemicals)
- take the initiative to reduce utility costs like (water, electricity)
- reduce wastage in terms of food if they have a canteen and other plastic wastes and
- come up with innovative and feasible ideas to conserve resources (rainwater harvesting, recycling, limited resources)
The Green Schools programme has a manual to help children do an energy audit of the school. Student’s form groups and go around the school to find out what’s happening to the school’s resources i.e. water, electricity, land, air and wastes. They study the measures taken by the school to manage the same and at the end of the project the students prepare a report where ideas are given to the school authorities to improve management of the resources. Hence children’s enthusiasm is mobilised to collaborate with school management and drive the change with respect to natural resource management.
The Green School’s programme has instituted The Gobar Times Green Schools Awards which motivate schools to find innovative ways of conserving water, managing waste and using renewable sources of energy.
Schools are evaluated based on the green reports sent in. 20 national awards are further sub-divided into two segments of 10 awards each – the New Schools (those which have done the audit for the first time and have excelled) and Changemakers (those which have already done the audit once before and continue to excel).
Schools from different parts of India participate in CSE’s green school programme, which has now been extended to Sri Lanka as well.
About Centre for Science and Environment
The Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) is a not for profit organization founded by Anil Kumar Agarwal in 1980. CSE has developed into one of India’s most influential and highly vocal environmental NGOs. It is involved in public interest research, advocacy, research and communication regarding development that is both sustainable and equitable. Education and Training on sustainability issues for youth and teachers; and pollution monitoring to protect public health in Indian cities are other activities that CSE is engaged in.
The Down To Earth magazine brought out by CSE has become a way to drive change by providing information which is credible and forceful which in turn can push people to bring about changes in different areas in different ways.
Building on its knowledge-base and communication skills, CSE has fashioned for itself, a unique strategy called knowledge-based environmental activism. It is built around generating books and ideas which are then used to advocate policy change. CSE networks extensively with grassroots organizations, industry leaders, experts, government agencies and mass media in India and abroad in lobbying for change.
For more information about CSE and its Green Schools Programme, log onto: cse.org