Sunday, June 29, 2008

We don't need NO education

A Gurgaon vernacular carried this newsitem: “Children to help for Environment Betterment”. It further goes on to say that TERI (The Energy and Resources Institute which earlier used to be called Tata Energy Research Institute) will take the help of children for betterment of environment. (YAWN!!)

TERI will educate children in vermi-composting and water conservation. For this the institute will tie with various schools. One research associate from TERI announced at a press conference that there will be painting and debate competitions as well as visit to environment-associated places (environment-associated places??).

So what’s new in this?
There is – and that is that this is being done under the YAMUNA ACTION PLAN 2. Money has been given by multilateral funding agencies to the Indian government to clean river Yamuna. What better way to spend this money than to involve the departments of Public Health and Forestry and “EDUCATE CHILDREN”! After all, educating children is an old and time-tested formula which is fail-safe. Nobody gets censured as everybody feels the money is well-spent, everybody is very happy and of course, no work is REALLY done. It is like peeing in your pants where you feel relieved, there is a warm feeling and the mess is rarely seen and when detected it is anyway too late so somebody else is saddled with the clean up and life goes on as normal.

I am sure a huge and reputed institute like TERI can do better than this. And the reason trotted out for going after the age-old social development formula of “Educate the children” is that “children are the future”! So, Present be damned, we will take care of the Future.

Why can’t we educate all the young adults working in BPOs; these young twenty-somethings who work to American or Australian clocks and chill out at late night parties. Why can’t we have environmental painting and debate competitions in BPOs? Simple, because no company or corporate worth its name is interested in environment. Why can’t all corporate executives in any one corporate park be taken on a nature trail along the Najafgarh drain to show them where their excreta ends up? NO, this can’t happen as no corporate (the same corporate that keenly organizes river rafting expeditions in the Himalayas for employee morale) gives time out to its executives nor does it itself organize such an environmentally enlightening nature trail. It has no press value, and therefore, it is not worth bothering about. Anyway who cares for the shit, it is supposed to be done and forgotten about.

Dear people of Public Health Department, Forest Department and all other departments as well as TERI, pollution in river Yamuna will not stop by mere debate and painting competitions or even by educating the students (those poor creatures are anyway going crazy being educated!)

The pollution will stop by finding local solutions for wastewater and sewage. By ensuring that the 34 million cu m of rainwater which flows with the sewage every monsoon is harvested, by ensuring that fresh water is not used in public parks and that each government and group housing society buildings harvests its wastewater. BUT these are difficult to do, as they require vision and hard work. So, until then let’s screw the present and take care of the future by educating the children!

No comments: