American Center celebrates Earth Day
The students performed plays, displayed a poster exhibition, and participated in quizzes on the themes of conservation of resources and climate change.
The programme marked the culmination of a USD 60,000 grant 'A Campaign for Green Cities', which Earth Day Network and Banglanatak.com received from the U.S. Embassy in Delhi.
Joanne Joria, Director of American Center, said, "Young people are amazing agents of change. They are our future and are key agents in making our world cleaner and greener."
"Children are the most fun group to to work with and you get the best results working with them," she added.
Earth Day started in 1970 and is now celebrated in more than 192 countries and is now globally coordinated by the Earth Day Network, a US based international environmental organisation.
Every year Earth Day is celebrated with a new theme.
This year the theme of celebration 'Green Cities' was focused on spreading awareness of waste management, hazards of plastic use, renewable energy, benefits of use of bio-degradable products, green modes of transportation and cleaner, healthier and economically viable future for the cities of the world.
Deputy Director of American Center Kolkata, Rachel Sunden, commended the efforts of the participating children.
Sunden also highlighted the issue of 'Green Careers' through her presentation.
She encouraged the students to consider career options focusing on the environment and said, "There are many different career paths for people who want to help the environment. Everyone from architects to product designers to farmers can make a huge difference if they consider green options in their work."
"Creating awareness in youngsters will eventually make responsible adults with greater sensitivity towards the environment," Sunden added.
The USD 60,000 grant was used to mobilize a youth-led movement for positive and sustainable urban development and raise awareness on environment concerns through education and community advocacy.
The entire process of mobilization was implemented through theatre, which was used as a communication tool.
Twenty students each from the New Horizon School, Patipupuur Pallisree Vidyalaya, Bidannagar Government High School and Sir Syed Group of Schools were selected to take part in the theatre workshop.
The project ran for one year, during which six workshops were conducted in Kolkata, Delhi and Jaipur.
These theatre workshops for high school students sensitized them about environmental conservation and sustainable urban development.
The project encouraged them to become model citizens and agents of change in their communities.
They also took part in community advocacy exercises on sustainability and climate change issues with their families, peers, community members, key stakeholders and decision-makers, in which street theatre played an important role.
Sayantani Roychowdhury of Banglanatak.com said, "With this programme we aim to identify fifty green-champions, who would further reach out to their peers and help bring about changes in lifestyle necessary to make our urban localities clean and green."
In the next phase of the programme, the children will provide ideas to stimulate environmental awareness, which will be implemented with the help of participating agents, she informed.
The program concluded with awards and certificates presented to the students by the Consul General Helen LaFave.
(Reporting by Anuradha Dutta)