Environmental Education is a critical part of environmental protection. Only if the next generation understands how the quality of the environment affects their lives and the health of the planet will they want to protect it. And only if they know how to protect and enhance it will the world survive.
In 1998, the Department of Environment, Government of Tamil Nadu chose VOICE Trust to organize students for environmental action in the Trichy District. Since then, we have run hundreds of programs to inspire school children to make environmental protection central to their lives.
Because sustainability is such a big part of environmental protection, we have regularly run an Agriculture School for young children. Chemical fertilizers and pest repellents pollute the air and water with toxins and rely on fossil fuels for their production. So, with the support of AEM, we have taught them how to make compost and natural pest repellents. Similarly, we showed them how to use mulch and drip irrigation to conserve water. We explained how these practices not only increased both the nutritional value and the yield of the food they grew but helped sustain the planet.
Trees are also critical to protecting the environment. So we taught thousands of school children how trees can purify the air and slow global warming. And then we gave them neem, thulasi and other saplings to plant at home or at their school. Again, we taught them the fundamentals of sustainable farming to help their trees thrive.
When we train children to make compost to fertilize their trees, we are training them to recycle bio-waste, another important piece in the environmental protection puzzle. To further reduce waste that threatens the environment, we have mobilized student groups to participate in community clean-ups and our Message on Wheels program, which encourages the community to use less plastic.