Over the last decade, Centre for Environmental Education has emerged with a system of methods to address the challenges of ecological education. In his Sand County Almanac, Aldo Leopold said, “A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability and beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong when it tends otherwise.” For children, the opportunities to learn and become sensitive to different sections of biotic community (a network of organisms interacting within a system) like birds, animals, plants. CEE has constantly tried to amplify the experience of children with these sections.
Living in a clean and green neighbourhood seems to be on the check-list while looking for homes but our idea of home is so confined that it is only the apartment or the nearby ‘locality’. The responsibility as citizens of the ecology is passed over to the next door- the government, municipality workers and so on. We tend to forget- “What is any ocean but a multitude of drops?” (in the words of novelist David Mitchell). CEE has consistently come up with programs to expand our idea of ‘home’ to include the nature as a whole such that every person recognizes her/his responsibility towards the environment and lives a sustainable life. The bedrock of these programs has been to spread awareness about the environment and create space to discuss the importance of environmental issues. One of the programs started in this regard is the Mobile Resource Centre.
Known as the Prakriti Environment Education Bus, the mobile resource centre was started as a joint initiative of Centre of Environmental Education (CEE), Gujarat Gas Company Limited (GGCL) and British Gas (BG) India.
Initially launched in 2005, Prakriti Environmental Education Bus began its journey in three districts of Gujarat- Ahmedabad, Surat and Bharuch. It was redesigned two years later with more interactive features and it continues to broaden its reach throughout India. On August 2, 2014, Prakriti was launched in Uttar Pradesh to showcase the biodiversity of UP.
Adding a friendly twist to the passenger buses, Prakriti EE bus is designed to be home to different types of interactive activities spreading environmental awareness. The schedule for Prakriti EE Bus is prepared carefully and at the allotted points, the bus turns into a resource centre- the side panels are opened to display information through pictures, collages, posters and photos while the CEE member holds a synergistic lecture with the students, teachers and community. India has seen Prakriti Environmental Education Bus rising as an innovative move in the field of environmental education.
The Prakriti EE Bus practices their motto of sustainable living and runs on Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) fuel. It has a Swaraj Mazda chassis. The fixed cost of a Prakriti bus visit is Rs. 1500 and a nominal variable cost, which depends on distance covered and fuel charges. The themes of panels and exhibitions on the bus are based on five-focus areas- Land, Water, Energy, Biodiversity and Climate Change.
What makes the Prakriti Bus An Econovation?
It’s far-reaching and economical! Being a mobile resource centre, it allows the CEE to reach far and wide to spread environmental awareness. They are also equipped to use various interactive tools at different locations. Thus, the mobility makes Prakriti a cheaper mode of creating awareness.
The bus catches eyes and mind! The Prakriti Environment Education Bus generally visits middle and secondary schools, organizing contests, quizzes and other events directed towards bringing out an environmental message. The bus is designed with bright colours and educational images to visually catalyse process of teaching the children.
We can experiment with different educational tools! Since bus can be used to store different educational equipments, the PR Bus can experiment and customize workshop tools according to the school. These methods include use of panel exhibitions, puppet shows, slide-show and games. In some places, LCD projectors along with speakers are also set up to address a larger gathering.
A souvenir shop on-the-go! The bus also houses many items for sale and distribution like brochures, pamphlets and batches.
A platform for young eco-enterprenuers! We invite and create space for young adults to participate and use their skills for environmental workshops. Prakriti is fuelled by the passion and discipline of groups of young volunteers who plan, organize and conduct the multitude of activities on the bus and during the visits.
Environmental Awareness On-Request! The Prakriti EE Bus can be requested for workshops and get-togethers at schools, public places and residential areas. The charges are nominal and the experience is valuable.
Scope of Work
Prakriti EE Bus has become a figure of hard-work and effective info-dissemination in the field of education and environmental studies. Ensuring that the vehicle itself is sustainably run (through CNG and use of eco-friendly colours for design), it stands as a symbol of environmental impact among visitors. The students stand as future eco-entrepreneurs and the Prakriti EE Bus moves from one city to another becoming a stream of green light throughout the nation.
Having reached out to more than 3 lakh people today, it is covering schools of rural and urban areas and aims at bringing under its purview residential areas too. Since its inception, it has begun to visit many programs and projects under care of other organizations. Being a versatile mode, it can reach remote areas where other resources of awareness are not available. The current route of action is to contact the government and related institutions, forming contact with schools, colleges and villages and through them, penetrating into the finer sections of our society.