Eco Projects: Celebrating Down-to-earthness and Fulfilment

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The first issue every year has the same theme as the Bhoomi Conference (or Unconference) – this year, the focus is on the Campaign for a Million Eco Projects. The web portal www.millionecoprojects.com will be integral to this campaign, to document eco projects and faciliate the end user to explore, connect, act and share.

In a world which is obsessed with success, glamour and bigness, we thought we will celebrate down-to-earthness and the fulfillment that comes with working on all kinds of eco-projects, including the small ones, the kind a small community or a school / college / organisation are likely to undertake.

The only communities living sustainably, with a neutral or negative carbon footprint, live in small organic farms, coastal fishing communities or  are tribals living in or near forests - all the rest of us who live in cities are caught up in  high carbon life styles; a notable exception is Cuba the only country which has achieved sustainable development because of embargos on oil import and a determined focus on organic agriculture (even gardens of offices have been converted to vegetable gardens). When we are forced to do so, the need for survival makes us adapt and change. How can we make some shifts in our lives well before we reach a situation where calamity forces us to change?

In particular, how can schools and colleges play a role in showing children some of the ways of eco-wise living? Our education system fosters a divide between body and mind, practice and theory and left and right brained thinking. In addition, it supports a tunnel vision focused on personal success, unconscious of our utter dependence on our planet Earth. The issues confronting us are complex and huge – but we can all start with one eco project!

While we can outsource the execution of certain projects, an ideal eco project would be one that we have to be closely involved in – one that involves hands, heart and head – since such a project would be good for ourselves, our health and

well-being as well. Projects in schools in India have come to mean academic projects which include a lot of cutting and pasting and making a report or booklet as an end product, often with the help of parents. But doing real-life projects – like organic  or terrace gardening, waste management by being mindful about food and other wastes and also segregating them, going in for solar  activities that demand physical work from most of us,  an attempt to integrate body and mind, heart and soul.

So it makes sense for all of us to engage in eco projects, preferably work hands-on at it. Also, doing eco projects is a kind of solving by pattern – simultaneously many issues get addressed when we work on a ‘Real Life’  Eco Project – we make new friends, we learn new skills and knowledge and we do our bit to make the earth a better place to live in.

It is a way we can all participate – children, youth and adults, in schools, colleges and other spaces – in doing our bit to live responsibly on Mother Earth.

The Bhoomi Team joins me in wishing you a Happy New Year! Let us set ourselves a goal for this year… At least one

eco-project for each one of us?

 

Seetha Ananthasivan