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How The Prakrati Mitra Campaign Is Making Schools Carbon Neutral

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Recently, the “Prakrati Mitra” campaign concluded, in which teachers taken ecofriendly steps in thousands of schools and finally transformed more than 500 schools into ‘carbon neutral’ schools.

Thousands of teachers from northern India participated. During that period, teachers worked for nature. Teachers across the country actively participated in the “Prakrati Mitra” campaign, which started from 5 June, 2021 and ended on 15 August 2021, in collaboration with Teachers Club Uttar Pradesh, Mission Shikshan Samvad and Red Tape Movement.

Under this campaign, teachers were requested to do plantation and take care of them in their school and their neighborhood. This entire program was conducted in a phased manner in 3 phases.

During the first phase, pits for plantation were dug in the school campus while during the second phase, plantation was done in the pits dug for such purpose and during third phase, anti-deforestation Red Tape Movement was organised to take oath to save the existing and planted trees in the school campus and create green awareness in the nearby areas with the help of local villagers.

Villagers and students were told that care after plantation is very important for the success of sapling to tree transformation and it was also told to take care of planted trees for at-least five years.

In the “Prakrati Mitra” campaign, thousands of teachers all over the country took part in the nature conservation and posted photos on Twitter from August 13 to August 15 at twitter handles @redtapemovement and @shikshansamvad; they delivered a message to the society to become a ‘nature friend’.

Apart from these activities, teachers also sent pics of above activities through Google Form, and sent the twitter link as evidence of the work done. According to the data received by Mission Shikshan Samvad, more than 10,000 teachers, children, parents, education officers, BDOs, EOs and public representatives participated in the campaign at more than 2500 places across the country.

Vimal Kumar, founder of Mission Shikshan Samvad, the coordinator of this entire program, said that this campaign will continue and efforts will be made to make the whole environment green by adding the maximum number of common people in this campaign. 

Teachers Club Uttar Pradesh President Shashibhushan Singh said that while we cannot change our past, we can change our future. We have two primary choices at present: either to accept the conditions as they exist and wait for the end of the future or accept the responsibility to ‘Change Climate Change’ for the sake of a livable, better and more sustainable future.

General Secretary of Teachers Club Uttar Pradesh Avanindra Singh said that as a result of our eco-friendly efforts, more than 500 schools have been made carbon neutral and completely green. This all became possible with great cooperation of village councils Heads (“Pradhans”), villagers, students and their parents, heads of government departments and local leaders. 

Digital Manager of Mission Shikshan Samvad, Jyoti Kumari said that carbon neutrality is a ray of hope to cope with climate change. Carbon neutrality refers to achieving net zero carbon dioxide emissions by balancing carbon emissions with carbon removal or simply eliminating carbon emissions altogether.

Achieving ‘carbon neutrality’ is very important for all of us because it will help to make an eco-friendly and sustainable future. She said that the following steps were taken, in cooperation with the Teachers Club Uttar Pradesh, Mission Shikshan Samvad and Red Tape Movement, to transform the schools into carbon neutral ones.

-Zero use of fossil fuels on school campuses.

-Ban on unsustainable logging, on school campuses.

-Forested areas should not drop below 33%. 

-Energy conservation at individual level.

-Conservation of parks and wetlands, in those villages where the schools are located with active cooperation of Village Councils Heads.

-Water Conservation to save every drop of water especially through Rainwater Harvesting, soak pits and renovation of water bodies like ponds and lakes.

-Plantation of local species to conserve local biodiversity.

-Care After Plantation (CAP) in schools.

-Promoting Pooling, Cycling and Walking in schools by teachers and students.

-Health via yoga and sports activities for wellbeing of students and teachers.

-Waste management and sanitation will be ensured in every school.

-Participation of parents, village council and media in maintaining the sustainability and green areas in schools. Without the active involvement of citizens, all actions for a better and sustainable earth would be in vain. 

Founder of anti-deforestation Red Tape Movement, Prabhat Misra, said that we, humans, should continuously try to make this world better for all living beings so that whenever we leave this earth forever, then we should not regret at all that while living on this earth, we did not take any step to save nature; while we could do that and could make planet earth habitable for generations to come.

Achievements are much better than Project Oasis of Paris (France). Project Oasis, a plan to convert the concrete schoolyards of Paris into “islands of cool” to provide healthy air during extreme heat, and to bring down temperatures across the city.

Compared to other European cities, Paris has the lowest proportion of green areas in parks and schools. All of Paris’s 800 schools will be transformed into green spaces by 2040. 

Prakrati Mitra” campaign transformed 500 schools into carbon neutral ones within 2 months. Teachers and students will maintain this status forever and will increase the number of carbon neutral schools in near future.

Such eco-friendly efforts will help in making an ‘oxygen bank of trees’ in schools and surroundings, help in maintaining health, produce antiviral VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds), sink Carbon Dioxide, provide homes to biodiversity and ‘change climate change’. 

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Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

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The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

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Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

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MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

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A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

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As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

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