Synergise climate crisis initiatives and empower climate vulnerable community

Society of Sisters of St. Ann, Luzern in Vijayawada are working for upliftment of unmarried mothers, women, youth, landless and small farmers of marginalized communities since last 7 decades and have observed the catastrophe in the region. Sister Suguna Francis realized an urgent requirement of self sustainability programs, awareness, education and sustainable agriculture practices are required on a massive scale for these population to withstand impacts of climate change.

Climate change has emerged as the most pressing global challenge of the 21st century. Being a developing country India is both a major greenhouse gas emitter and one of the most vulnerable countries in the world to projected climate change. A decline in monsoon rainfall since the 1950s has already been observed. The country is experiencing changes in climate and the impacts of climate change such as water stress, heat waves and drought, severe storms and flash floods, and associated negative consequences on agriculture, food security, water scarcity, deforestation, health and livelihood. With a 1.2 billion but growing population and dependence on agriculture, India is severely impacted by continuing climate change. Uncertainties in monsoon is affecting farmers’ choices about which crops to plant and the timing of planting impacting reducing productivities.

In a country so prone to natural hazards, the welfare of those who are affected and who have limited means to recover will loom large under climate change. About a quarter of the population lives on less than Rs 50 a day; at least one-third face poverty, lack of educational opportunities and 60 percent are dependent upon agriculture for their livelihoods. Those who lack financial resources and adequate education and who depend on agriculture for sustenance and livelihood will be disadvantaged under climate change because they have few choices but continued dependence on shrinking or uncertain resources. An urgent demand of relief programs, awareness, education and skill development is required on a massive scale for these population to enable withstand impacts of climate change.

A pro women multi-sectorial, risk informed and shock responsive approach is designed to strengthen marginalized community and villages. An integrated program for food security, land management, water management and sanitation for better health through rural advisory services and farmer field education to equip women and youth with capabilities to tackle climate change. Foundation with 200 saplings have been laid on 3 acre land to develop it as bio-reserve.

Women of marginalized community were trained and involved in various integrated interactive sustainable practices and activities to enhance their knowledge and leadership qualities. These women, youth are to be promoted and supported to take leading role in enhancing lives of vulnerable communities members.

Eco Exposure Camp – LEAF Group, GJEM Gujarat

On December 10 2019 one day Eco exposure camp was organised for students from St Xavier School, Khambhat at GJEM 10 acre premises at Sevasi. Fr Saju Bastian from Hazaribag Province, GJEM teams and Films director Mr. Allwyn Rabella engaged students in various ecological activities and encourages them to write some stories for next project.

Fr Saju Bastian helped students explore eco-spirituality in our daily life and our symbiotic relation to nature and other fellow beings. Trupti and Nikunj coordinated students in kitchen garden, discussed issue of weed and pesticides in conventional farming. Students suggested a scientific solution to control weed “block sunlight to control germination on unwanted areas”. They collected all dried leaves and mulched the fields. Lately some students were also found making ecobricks with wrappers of eatable the brought with them.

Deputy Chief Minister Inaugurates Organic Rice Harvest Festival 2019

Report by

Devopriya Dutta

Patna 4th Dec: Jaivik Dhan Katni Mahotsav, the most eagerly awaited Organic Festival was celebrated by Tarumitra. More than 22 schools and colleges participated in this gala celebration.Shree Sushil Kumar Modi, the Honorable Deputy Chief Minister of Bihar was the Chief guest. 

Since 2011, Tarumitra has adopted organic way of cultivation. The entire rice sowing, harvesting and threshing works are done by school and college going students. 

The program started with Fr.Tony Pendanath, Director of Tarumitra welcoming the guests. The event started with sowing of seeds with the students chanting shloka from the Rigveda. Honourable Deputy Chief Minister was felicitated by students with green robes and Sita Ashok sapling.

The students of various schools and colleges threw light on the importance of organic and respect for Mother Earth with several speeches and action plans.

Then the school band procession led the guests with the gathering towards organic farm for harvesting. Deputy Chief Minister performed aarti in the farm. After performing the aarti as a reverence to Mother earth, he started Dhan Katni in Tarumitra’s organic farm, amidst harvesting song and slogans sung joyfully by all the students. 

The Honourable Deputy Chief Minister, Shri Sushil Kumar Modi threw light on the agricultural landmark of the country specially Bihar. He said that our country is an agricultural economy and the heart lies in the nature. He said that this organic movement needs momentum for a healthy future and who better to spearhead it than the youth.

Since 2011 organic farming is being practiced in Tarumitra, where all the Sowing, Harvesting and Threshing is done by the students. It is an effort to strike an emotional chord between Mother Earth and students so they may practice and promote ecological sensitivity all around.

This is the ninth consecutive year of organic farming where system of rice intensification(SRI) method is used for growing rice. This year Bauna Mansuri(variety of Dhaan) has been harvested in 5 acres of organic farm of Tarumitra. Students had their share of experience, for some it was the first time entering into an organic farm for doing harvesting with sickle. 

Fr.Tony Pendanath, Director, Tarumitra said that organic should be promoted from home to school, from office to corporate houses to ensure better tomorrow. 

This is the 9th consecutive year that Tarumitra was celebrating organic festival and this year’s yield is likely to be record breaker. Several teachers, interns, and other volunteers and members of Tarumitra were also present during this program.     

Extra moments of the day :

LEAF Program – St Xavier School, Kalol, Mehasana

One day ecological program was conducted by GJEM’s Green The Blue Trust members I joined them from Tarumitra as collaborative

50 selected students from grade 8 & 9 are part of LEAF group (Leaders in Environmental Action Force) being equipped to tackle ecological problems emerged in 21st century. GJEM conducts on an average 8 full day programs annually

Day started with Tarumitra orientation and beat plastic pollution campaign by S Darshan from Tarumitra and After lunch Break Trupti conducted news paper bag making activity and developed circular nutrition kitchen garden also called GANGA-CHAKRA under guidance of Mrs. Archana Xavier in school campus.

Energy level and enthusiasm to undertake ecological solutions to curb human footprint among the LEAF members is exceptionally high. In lunch break two of the LEAF member Kalpit and Shubham of grade 9 & 8 respectively were found collecting plastic scattered in school campus and imprisoning in pet bottles. Students of St Xavier School, Kalol are using there leisure periods in school to make

Students enjoyed the News Paper bag, an alternative to plastic carry bags making activity presented by Trupti,. They promised to make at least 5 bags every day to be distributed at shops near by.

Lately all LEAF members gathered to develop a GANGA-CHAKRA. GANGA-CHAKRA is a circular garden with 3 meter of diameter divided in 9 parts for nine verities of vegetable. The circle is divided wit 8 reduces of 45 degrees each and inner circle with 1 meter radius is drawn from the center for the ninth part. Students were divided in 9 groups. Every group prepared their own area in the GANGA-CHAKRA brought water to irrigate it and sowed vegetable seeds of their own choice brought by LEAF Team.

Students sounded enthusiastic with their own initiatives in the school campus and are determined to propagate ecological solutions in locality. Few students expressed their desire to replicate GANGA-CHAKRA at there home.

Ecological Orientation in Meghalaya: Abode of the rain clouds

Tarumitra was invited to Shillong the capital city of Meghalaya! A team consisting of Devopriya Dutta and Shweta Kumari spent a week in the city meeting with students and staff of a hundred year old St. Mary’s School and St. Mary’s Degree College. They came back very excited seeing the good will and bubbliing energy of the students.

Solutions to combat plastic pollution by a possible habit change was well addressed by Miss Asha, B.A. IIIrd year of St. Mary’s College.

A weeklong ecological awareness program in St. Mary’s College started on 24th of July and Tarumitra team of Devopriya and Shweta kept themselves busy every day for a week.

St, Mary's Campus

St, Mary’s Campus

on 25th of July. St. Mary’s College had invited Tarumitra to interact with thestudents for ecological awareness program and design action plans to assist Mother Earth.

Vice Principal of College & Chief  Conservator of Forest, Meghalaya accompanied by Tarumitra team.

Vice Principal of College & Chief Conservator of Forest, Meghalaya accompanied by Tarumitra team.

Function started with the inauguration ceremony on 25 th of July
where the Chief guests Chief Conservator of Forest of Meghalaya and DeputyComissioner of Khasi region, Meghalaya. Tarumitra’s Devopriya Dutta and Shweta were the resource people.

Dr. Sr. Mary Harriet receiving sapling

Dr. Sr. Mary Harriet receiving sapling

Tarumitra handed over green saplings all the way from Patna, Bihar for the green inaugural. The Principal of St.Mary’s College, Dr. Sister Mary Harriet welcomed one and all.

Devopriya Dutta's brainstorming session

Devopriya Dutta’s brainstorming session

Next day from 26th of July Tarumitra started interacting with students of different departments on daily basis, four sessions a day. Introduction of Tarumitra was common part in all the sessions followed by different action plans like Eco brick, seed bombs, street play, flash mob, brain storming session. Tarumitra covered nearly 3000 students in the college comprising of 19 departments.

Tarumitra was also successful in conducting a green morning assembly for 1900 students In St. Mary’ school where everybody took pledge to save Mother Earth. Interactive sessions with the students and staff including the Principal, sister Sonia was one of the highlights of green orientation in the school which lasted for an hour.

Sunday well spent with 100 kids of St. Mary's Home

Sunday well spent with 100 kids of St. Mary’s Home.

During the week long ecological programme, a visit was made to the
orphanage of St. Mary’s convent which turned out to be one of the best
sessions of Shillong’s ecological trip. The kids were really happy to know about Tarumitra Friends of Trees and all of them after an orientation about the campaigns of Tarumitra, said that we the people are the reason for all the problems like global warming, climate change, pollution and its we the people only who can come up with solutions.

Eco friendly Administrative & Management staff of St Mary's college along with  Tarumitra Delegates

Eco friendly Administrative & Management staff of St Mary’s college along with Tarumitra Delegates

A weeklong tour came to an end where teachers of the college presented the green report . The teachers proposed to make a green belt in the college for rare and medicinal plants along with beating the plastic pollution by
prohibiting the use of single use plastics at least in the college premises.

Action plan designed by students on ecological theme

Action plan designed by students on ecological theme

Even the students of the college for the very first time did a street play, performed flash mob, sang earth songs and came up with beautiful posters with eco friendly messages and slogans.





Monsoon Tree Plantation at Amar Jyoti School, Bodhgaya

Under guidance of proactive and dynamic Principal of Amar Jyoti School, Bodhgaya Sr. Kavita various species of trees (Karanj, Neem, Ashok, Arjun, Sita Ashok, Amaltas, Bamboo, Tikoma, Harsingar, etc) were planted and adopted by 100 Students of Class IX & X along with their class teachers Mrs. Sima and Mrs. Usha respectively.

Tree plantation by students of Amar Jyoti School

Tree plantation by students of Amar Jyoti School

They  planted one sapling each around the boundary wall of school campus.These students will nourish and care for these trees in their early challenging stage of life with a selfless hope to provide shades for future students of Amar Jyoti School. This flambeau of students at such young age will motivate generations of students  to come in Amar Jyoti School.

Sapling distribution by Fr. Tony Penda to students of Amar Jyoti School

Sapling distribution by Fr. Tony Penda to students of Amar Jyoti School

Director of Tarumitra, Fr Tony Penda distributed saplings among students. Ms Margaret Molomoo shared her experience of greeting trees and talking with them. Students were excited to find trees as their new friends to talk all their secrets and nourish them in their leisure time at school.

Students concerned  about Plastic pots of saplings planted

Students concerned about Plastic pots of saplings planted

Students also sounded concerned about the disposal of plastic pots in dust-bins as from dustbins, it may leak in to environment to contaminate air, water and soil. In discussion to find an ecological way to dispose it, they learned EcoBrick an innovative measure to imprison single use plastic in PET bottles.

Chief Minister Nitish Kumar confers a Plaque of Approval

caption pic

There was palpable excitement among the students when they marched out of the Tarumitra Bio-reserve to meet the Chief Minister at the newly constructed Gyan Bhawan next to the sprawling Gandhi Maidan in the capital city of Patna.
It was World Environment Day! They were heading to Gyan bhawan..

Gyan bhawanGyan Bhawan Patna (International Convention Centre), is  built on the lines of Delhi’s Vigyan Bhawan. The green and quake-resistant complex, spread over 11.82 acres will be in two parts linked with a subway. Complex when completed will have several halls of different capacity including banquet hall, food courts and service area. International Convention Hall or Gyan Bhawan has a sitting capacity of 5,000, is a signature building.

They have been celebrating the World Environment Day since a week with a colorful array of programs including a few Residential camps, Road shows such as Cycle rallies, Tree plantations, Preparation of Seed bombs “beej bum” for monsoon plantations, Nursery preparations for conserving rare trees and Zumba finess sessioins to toughen the human body for summer ordeals.

chumki
 Cycle rally to promote concern on air pollution and conservation of fuels: Ms Chumki das flagging off the rally from Jalalpur, Patnashashi chumki2 Chumki Das and Shashi Darshan,full time volunteer specialized in plastic surgery,  cycled to co-ordinate the rally for several days. They also saw to the staging of the Street plays in Saguna More. 

A Committee consisting of Devorpriya Dutta, Fr. Tony Penda SJ, Shashi Darshan, Nagesh Anand, Sarvjeet, Adarsh, Nilofer Praveen, and Praneta Rani from Champaran was active to make sure that the event took place in time.
Hajipur Team in collaboration with Tarumitra organized Street plays
A very specially prepared team of activists from Swabhiman, Hajipur,next district, came prepared to stage an ecological street play on the eve of the Environement day (Team with the Chairman of the Bihar Pollution Control Board, Dr. Ashok Ghosh, inside the Doordarshan studios Patna)

Pranoy IMS and Sr. Smita MMS who co-ordinated the training for the Street play were in for a surprise.  The team not only presented the street play right on the street corners, they were invited by the Ntional TV Doordarshan to telecast it for the World Environment day! That was a big surprise. The subaltern group from a nondescript village of Hajipur was suddenly on the National TV!

Several groups of school students visited the Tarumitra Bio-reserve to take part in activities such as filling polybags for nurseries, to prepare “seed bombs” i.e to make mud-balls of soil with seeds of trees inside.

smita grooup5
Several groups of students took pledge to plant and look after precious trees in their homes and neighbourhoods. (Group from Hajipur pledging)
smita group
            Sr. Smita MMS prompts the Earth-pledge on the eve of the feast

The campers got up early morning on June 5th, they walked around the tree on naked feet, offered them arti to show reverence and Sr. Smita helped them to make the pledges to the Earth.

Nagesh Anand is a very creative volunteer who organizes Cosmic Walks for Big History Enthusiasts on Saturday evenings. Nagesh organized two cosmic walks in preparation for the World Environement day.

The Cosmic Walks are held either inside the Oxygen Bar or ourside under the trees. Nagesh takes a long stretch of clothes and arranges it into a spiral and lights up candles when he pauses the 36 Goldilocks conditions existed in the 4.5 billion year old history of the Earth. From the Big Bang to the arrival of life leading to the arrival of apes and humans, Nagesh tells the story in the form of a Meditation.
Cosmic walk inset
  The Hajipur group got interested in many activities. Nagesh (inset) narrated the Big History of the Universe and the Earth mother to the participants from Hajipur after the sunset. Sitting under the sky, under the twinkling stars, he made sense to them with the accompanyig cosmic music he got from Dr. Orla Hazra who initiated him into the meditatives.  One of the participants Balesh was of the view that the story must be retold to every village in Bihar. He found it very inspiring and liberative.

In the mean time, Chumki Das got her kids to organize street theater near Jalalpur city.

street theatre
 Street plays are popular ways of raising concerns on contemporary issues. Students presented several plays on the eve of the Enviornment day!

Pallavi Bishwas, an music-afficionado brought in her art students for a week long residential camp. Her husband, Pandit Avinay Kashinath and  their two children both music enthusiasts stayed on to rev up the excitement.

Pallavi5
 The music and dance campers from Nrivaga helped in the plant nursery of rare plants. They filled up hundreds of poly bags to sow seeds of trees. 
pallavi4
Dr. Anil Sulabh, noted poet joined to encourage the children to plant trees as part of the Environment Day celebrations! Debutante Kashika receiving a lemon grass plant from Dr. Sulabh. Dr. Upendranath Pandey,  Mangala Singh and Shambhu Kr Singh (on the row)

It has been several years since Tarumitra realized the importance of connecting Art with the Earth. Two largescale art workshops held in the forest within a space of a decade confirmed the conclusion that Art promotes well being and integrity of the Earth and its life-giving systems.

Pallavi6
The Nrivaga alpana “art designs” shows the intricate relationship Art has with Nature. Noted classical singer Ranjana Jha sings lullabies to the trees of the Bio-reserve whenever she visits the place! She presented a very intricate raga this time. 

Last but not the least to join the campaigns were the Trangender community in the city. Reshma Prasad, a lively activist among them has been helping the students to raise ecological concerns among the bureaucrats of the Governemnt. She along with her influential transgender community  is known to remove many hurdles to get ecology its prominent place among Patnaites.

transgenders
 Reshma Prasad (third from left)has a reputation to move mountains, joined Tarumitra students to make the celebration of World Environment Day a big event in the city. Padmashree Sr. Sudha Varghese (second from right) has been a big support for the students. 

Coming back to our story of the Chief Minister passing on accolades to Tarumitra students, the big event took place on 5 June towards the afternoon. The venue was the newly constructed Gyan Bhawan the Internatonal Convention Center. Students congregated in large numbers and Devopriya and Pranoy IMS were asked to be seated next to the Chief Minister. Dr. Ashok Ghosh and his team co-ordinated the event. All of a sudden the announcement reverberated  across the hall, “Tarumitra representative, please step up to receive the Citation from the Chief Minister!”

It was the turn of Devopriya Dutta to scramble up to the stage amidst deafening applause..

Devo with Chief Minister 2019
 Devopriya in her lucky red kurti climbed up the stage to receive the Citation from the Chief Minister Nitish Kumar who is flanked by his deputy Sushil Kumar Modi. Balram sir (DAV BSEB), Dr Ashok Gosh are on the  left. 

While handing over the plaque, the Chief Minister commented, “Tarumitras are the ones  who are protecting the environment!” That was a big positive stroke from the Chief Minister!
“While we appreciate the effort of Dr. Ashok Ghosh to get the official recognition of the transformative role played by the students of the schools and colleges, we are sure that we have miles to go before we can sleep or take rest!” said Devopriya Dutta.

Citation3
The Citation reads, “We felicitate the Tarumitra students for their contribution to make enviornmental concerns especially concerns regarding Bio-diversity among the people!”

Speaking to the Media, Fr. Robert Athickal SJ commented that Tarumitra was convinced that they were on the right track to push the agenda of Bio-diversity to the forefront of their campaigns.

Devopriya and Robert
 Devopriya Dutta  with Dr. Ghosh                       Zee News interviewing Fr R. Athickal SJ

Perhaps the cherry on the cake was a full page coverage of Tarumitra students by one of the leading newspapers, Prabhat Khabar with  a special supplement.

full page in Prabhat Khabar 2019
Ms Juhi Smita who did the full page story in Prabhat Khabar slogged for a week interviewing students and teachers across the State.