Tuesday, 21 March, 2023

Driving Young Minds towards Sustainability

Dr Shivananda CS

“No gas supply for today till …”

Quite a commonly heard announcement in various areas all over Bangladesh. Besides ruining the day for the inhabitants, this small message signifies the advent of a bigger problem – depletion of fossil fuels. The more we are exploiting these natural resources, the lesser we are keeping for the future generations.

Almost all kind of development requires extensive use of resources – be it renewable, non-renewable, natural or man-made. However, it is important to make sure that the resources available are being efficiently utilized. While progressing towards development, we can start by being mindful about minimizing waste and exploitation of resources, so that enough is left for the future generations. This is exactly what sustainability is – leading development without compromising on the future availability of resources. If that is not done, our environment will be at a big risk. Hence, the first step towards initiating sustainability is through children, by imprinting the importance of environmental sustainability on their young minds.

Children tend to remember information that they learn from the very basics. Hence, along with mainstream education, they should be taught about the environment and how crucial it is to be aware of the environmental changes and sustainability. When children know about the environment just like they know the alphabets, they may become more conscious and start adopting a sustainable lifestyle. In this way, we can expect an entire generation to focus on sustainability.

Environmental education can start in various ways, from the good old bookish approach to a more practical approach – there are many options. However, it can be very fruitful to involve children within environmental projects. It can start small, for example, picking up trash from the nearest park. Such preliminary experiences will make the young minds aware of the environmental situation and that they have to responsible in improving it. Besides, project work, scrapbooks, etc. can be given to them as tasks so that they can research, brainstorm and come up with many environmental issues and their solutions. Later, they can progress towards more extensive tasks like going on environmental day trips to learn and clean. Through these programs, children shall be aware of the waste that is being made in the world now.

The role of schools in encouraging children in environmental activities is of paramount importance. Besides project work and home tasks, schools can arrange cleanups in different parts of the city, and nature walks where the children can be encouraged to explore various activities like climbing trees, studying and collecting rocks and leaves etc. They should also know the concept of carbon footprint, its impacts and what can be done to minimize it. In addition to those, instilling the idea of “reduce, reuse, recycle” within the children will also make the little ones concerned about conservation of energy and resources. Little habits like turning off switches, using rechargeable batteries, reducing plastic usage and recycling paper will eventually go a long way.

DPS STS School Dhaka has been setting an example by emphasizing on steering their students towards environmental sustainability through various activities. “PROJECT TRASHTAG”, the very first environmental project of DPS STS Community Club, focuses around recycling waste materials. This project has been conducted in association with GarbagemanBD (https://garbageman.com.bd/about/), the first ICT tech-based recycling business in Bangladesh, that was founded in 2018 with a vision to contribute to creating a cleaner and greener Bangladesh. Under this project, the club members collected recyclable materials and products throughout November and dropped them off to GarbagemanBD at the end of the month. Recyclable waste such as plastic, glass and paper were collected and dropped off at drop boxes, set up in the senior and junior campuses.

Such activities contribute a great deal towards a greener, more eco-friendly and environmentally sustainable world, by shaping our children towards such a goal.


The writer is Principal of DPS STS School