After a three-year hiatus, the Green Schools Programme (GSP) of the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) was back with a bang in February this year – as its annual audit drew to a close, a one-and-a-half day national Green Schools Carnival was announced. The cornerstone of the event was – of course – the GSP Green Schools Awards, but there were a host of other interesting events and activities as well for the children and teachers from the GSP fraternity. A climate change quiz, a renewable energy fair, a Gobar Times design contest, a workshop for kids on making solar lights, and a workshop for teachers from Himachal Pradesh kept the 300+ invitees to the Carnival on their toes.
One hundred and six schools from across India were certified ‘green’ by the GSP this year. Of these, 19 schools received the topmost Annual Green Schools Award for their exemplary initiatives in making their campuses environment-friendly and their students, environment-conscious. Apart from the schools, the awards were also conferred on the most proactive teachers, the 'best state,' 'best district,' etc. CSE's Director-General Sunita Narain and Executive Director Jagdeep Gupta handed out the awards to the winners.
Over 700 schools from 29 states and Union Territories vied for the honours – 436 government schools, 55 government-aided schools and 216 private schools participated in the audit. Each school which undertook the audit was assessed by GSP on its resource consumption practices in six areas – water management, solid waste management, energy efficiency, air pollution control, land and biodiversity management, and food systems. The gala event served as a splendid physical reunion for the GSP fraternity, which had been forced to largely interact online over the last three years. More importantly, it was also a reminder to us all about the threats – of climate change and environmental devastation – the Earth is being subjected to, and how important it was for children and their educators to step up and take the cudgels to save the world.