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| Last Updated:: 30/10/2014

Growth should never be at the cost of environment, Jairam Ramesh says






CHENNAI: While India respects its biodiversity on the one hand, on the other hand the country treats it with neglect and disdain by destroying it, said former environment minister Jairam Ramesh on Tuesday. 


Speaking at the silver jubilee celebrations of the CP Ramasami Aiyar Foundation in Chennai, he said there was an urgent need to set the paradox right and conserve the biodiversity of the country. 


"Environment education will play a crucial role in the coming days and teachers should be play an active role in it and encourage children to conserve nature," he said. 


Pointing out that there was a gender dimension to conserving our environment, Ramesh said women were at the forefront of protecting nature and they should take the leadership role in protecting the ecosystem. "There certainly needs to be development, but this should never be at the cost of our environment. If we do not protect our ecosystem, our entire existence will be at risk," he said. 

At the programme, the foundation gave away the 'Green Teacher' award to G Prabhakar of Keshav Memorial Boys High School in Hyderabad for encouraging the students of the school to take up one civic issue around their house, campaign in their immediate neighbourhood and brainstorm for solutions. 

The 'Green School' award was given to NSN Matriculation Higher Secondary School at Chitlapakkam in Chennai as the school was known for striving to become a zero-waste campus and has compost pits and drums set up on the premises. The students are encouraged to plant trees, save water and promote rainwater harvesting. 

Environment secretary Ashok Lavasa, who released the books 'Sacred Groves of India' and 'Green Pilgrimage for Clean India,' said that keeping the environment clean should be second nature and not viewed as a challenge. "There needs to be a balance in achieving growth and protecting nature," he said. 

There was a significant need to start environmental education at school level, said agricultural scientist Dr M S Swaminathan. "We need to catch them young and sustainable development needs to be taught at the school by teachers," he said.