(Ms. Suseela Santhosh, Director, Vishwa Vidyapeeth Group Of Schools)
What is Sustainable Living?
Sustainable living is a way of life that aims to reduce the use of Earth’s natural resources. In order to live sustainably is important to understand how choices impact the society and world we live in and find methods to live better. Choices like reducing consumption of energy, using public transportation more often, and becoming more eco-friendly can go a long way in reducing environmental impact and building a sustainable future.
Indian Traditions are a key to Sustainable Living
Right from ancient times, the people of India have depended on nature and its resources, making them self-sufficient and self-reliant. Sustainable living has formed a core component of Indian culture. Indian values and philosophy are rooted in a sustainable way of life. Practices have been taught to people through traditions and culture, among different regions. Indian society has shared a harmonious relationship between people and nature since Vedic times.
We are taught to not waste, whether it is food or materials, and the practice of recycling or giving away used and reusing hand-me-downs is extremely common among family and friends. Also, using an old cloth as a duster is a common sight in most Indian households! These practices are still used among people today.
How can we teach students sustainability based on Indian culture?
Teaching sustainable practices to students is the need of the hour. The world we live in today is progressing rapidly, hence we need to identify patterns on how to live sustainably and teach the same to children so they can continue carrying out such practices.
Here are some ways schools can incorporate sustainable practices:
- Encourage students to grow what they eat
Organic farming is a sustainable initiative that has been practiced in India long ago. Teaching students to grow their own food reduces environmental wastage. It saves time, expense, travel, and packaging. By growing their own food, students can help decrease their carbon footprint and consume fresh food which is good for their bodies.
- Teach students the 3 R’s – Recycle, Reduce and Reuse
Back-to-school offers can be quite tempting but the wastage of plastic pencil boxes and bottles is not. Teaching students to recycle and reuse their old pencil boxes and organizers is good for the environment. What’s even better is to reuse old clothes and fabric to make new pouches to store essentials. Organizing activities such as wealth out waste is one way of inculcating this method in students.
- Use local materials
Using local and eco-friendly materials instead of plastic and non-biodegradable products to create beautiful projects will not only be sustainable but will also teach students self-reliance and connect them to nature’s elements.
- Organize workshops and activities based on sustainability
Workshops are a fun and interactive way to get students to participate and learn about nature and sustainability. It gives students valuable information that they can put into practice in their daily lives and spread awareness to others. Activities such as Wealth out of Waste help students unleash their creativity and give them a chance to show what sustainability means to them.
- Make green education a priority
Even though environmental education is compulsory in India, it does not cover major climate-and-environment-related laws and does not always focus on real-world happenings such as the damage to lives and livelihoods, the destruction of ecologies, and natural ecosystems. Environmental education or green education should give students a hands-on, on-field experience rather than just creating posters on important environmental days. They should be taught on a daily basis how to create sustainable and cleaner surroundings for themselves and for others.
It is our collective duty to work towards building a sustainable. The young minds of students are curious and passionate to learn. Sustainable practices are best put into use when inculcated at an early age. In order to do this in the modern world, it is important to identify old-age practices and combine them with modern-day connections that will strengthen and pave the way to a more responsible world.