“ There is nothing new in world except the history you do not know.” – Harry Truman

Kavita describes the Global Warming campaign promoted by school children in the valley

(Dr. Kavita Suri was born in Jammu and did her primary schooling there. She received two Bachelor’s degrees from the University of Jammu, one in Science from the the Government Women’s College, and the other in Education from the Government College of Education. She completed Master’s degrees in Education, followed by English (both from the University of Jammu), and in Masss Communication from Guru Jambeshwar University in Hisar. She finished her doctorate degree from the Department of Education of the University of Jammu. In between she also pursued diploma courses in creative writing, business management, journalism and distance education from the Indira Gandhi National Open University. She started his journalism career with the Daily Excelsior, and over the years worked at various print media newspapers like the Kashmir Times, The Tribune, and more recently, at the Statesman. She is currently the assistant director of the Centre for Adult and Continuing Education and Extension at the University of Jammu. She has written a book, entitled, “Impact of Violence on Girls’ Education in Kashmir”, as well as contributed articles to changing political landscapes and gender inequalities in Jammu and Kashmir. She has received the British Chevening Print Journalists’fellowship, Charkha-Sanjoy Ghose media fellowship, and the U.S. State Department International Visitors Exchange fellowship. She has made numerous presentations, conducted multiple workshops, and is affiliated with numerous social organizations.)

Global Warming: ‘We Do Care,’ say Kashmir’s Children

Birjees John, 17, a student of class 12th at the Government Girls Higher Secondary School, Soura, Srinagar, last week spent a full day at the Sri Pratap College, Srinagar learning and discussing about the issues of global warming and climate change.

A young girl who is also her class representative at her school, was took excited to be part of the Eni Children’s Education workshop on “Petroleum Geology, Global Warming and Energy Efficiency Campaign” organized by the University of Jammu in collaboration with Maghreb Petroleum Research Group, University College London, Directorate of School Education, J&K and S.P. College Srinagar, Kashmir. Over 200 children drawn from various schools of almost all the districts of Kupwara, Baramulla, Anantnag, Pulwama, Budgam, Ganderbal etc of Kashmir valley participated in this workshop focused to provide essential basic education in Geosciences to the school children of Kashmir valley.

“What makes me sad is the fact that our natural resources are depleting in Kashmir valley. We are having water shortage which we never had in the past in the region which is full of water bodies, springs and rivers; our water bodies like Dal Lake and Nageen Lake are getting polluting and we are largely responsible for that,” said Birjees John who like other over 200 children participated in this workshop, first of its kind in Kashmir valley, organized to sensitize the children of Kashmir valley about the issues like energy conservation, global warming and climate change.The entire workshop was received enthusiastically by these students and accompanying teachers.

As there is a limited awareness among the school children on such themes, the most important component of the lecture series and exercises in this workshop for valley children was to make them aware about the critical global issues of the current energy crisis, depleting fossil fuel resources, alternative energy resources, energy efficiency and global warming.

Burhaan Hamid, another young student who is studying in class 11th in Burn Hall School attended the workshop along with his class mates Ahmed Mustaq and Rameez Riyaz. Having already participated in campaigns like “Save Dal” initiated by some social organizations and their respective schools, these young students feel very strongly about the issues which touch their everyday lives.

“What makes us ponder is the fact winters are getting shorter and shorter in Kashmir valley, the Kashmiris who used to wear Pheran (a long robe made of woolen cloth to protect from cold) round the year discard it for half of the year and so is the case with Kangris (fire pots) which we used to keep with us,” rues Rameez Riyaz adding global warming is a cause of concern for hundreds of them living in Kashmir valley.

Most of the children who participated in the workshop felt that all of them needed to do something to save their planet earth, their Kashmir so that they do not face the problems like melting of the glaciers, lesser rains, increased temperature in future.

Never before any such an initiative has been taken in Kashmir Valley. It was first programme of its kind to address these issues with the new generation in Kashmir valley. The workshop, going by the active participation of over 200 Kashmiri children made a visible impact on the lives and perception of the children involved.

The University of Jammu, in collaboration with Eni, one of the sixth largest oil companies in the world, has already organized five Eni Children’s Education Program aimed at educating students at Jammu, Kargil, Leh,Jodhpur and Jaisalmer. This education programmes organized at Jammu, Kargil and Leh in Jammu and Kashmir and Jodhpur in Rajasthan and now again at Srinagar have been a resounding success.

“There is a need to make the students and youth of the country aware about the issues of global warming, climate change and energy conservation. These burning issues are no longer any hypothesis but real issues of public debate,” said Professor Varun Sahni, Vice Chancellor, University of Jammu who himself is an internationally acclaimed defense analyst.

Kashmir, he added, is already witnessing impact of global warming; the glaciers in the region are melting and the temperature is also rising. There is a very little snowfall in the valley since past few years due to global warming and the attempt was to sensitize the future generation on issues of public importance.

Prof Sahni believes that it is not only important for the students and youth of Kashmir to understand the challenges and issues in our planetary ecosystems but it was equally important for them to spread out this message among their friends, students, brothers, sisters and the whole society.

Dr. Jonathan Craig, Vice-President, Regional Studies and Exploration Opportunities Selection, E&P Division, Eni S.p.A. Milan spoke to the children regarding petroleum geology which was followed by simple exercises for the students. Another practical session included a lecture by Dr Jonathan Craig on global warming followed by the more exercises for the students.

“Be under no illusion, global warming is probably the greatest threat to humanity in our five million year history on this planet and it will be the poorest people in the world who will suffer,” he informed the students adding planet Earth is warming faster than at any other time in the past 1000 years and there is little doubt that human activity is largely to blame. There has been a 0.6 degree C rise in global temperature and a 20 cm rise in sea level during the 20th century. The thickness of the sea ice over the Artic Ocean has reduced by 40 %. Mountain glaciers are melting at the faster rate ever recorded. There has been a 40% increase in storm activity in the North Atlantic region over the last 50 years and global floods and droughts have become more frequent, particularly in areas such as India.

“In 2007, the Intergovernmental panel on climate change IPCC predicted that global temperatures will rise by up to a further 5.8 degree C by 2100. Even if greenhouse gas and aerosol concentrations in the atmosphere were fixed at today’s levels, temperatures would continue to rise by between 0.25 and 0.75 degree Celsius by the end of the Century,” said Dr. Craig.

“We at the University of Jammu are doing a tremendous job in making the children, our future generation, aware about the issues and challenges in the field of energy conservation and global warming which are extremely important. It is equally important to understand in terms of basic and earth science as we are located in High Himalayas which is a very fragile area and undertaking earth science is the most important thing for the students,” said Professor G. M. Bhat, University of Jammu, Principal Convenor, EEC.

The participating Kashmiri school children also made poster presentations on the theme of Global Warming, Energy Efficiency and Climate Change. Later prizes were distributed among the students. First prize of ENi Milan went to Shahida Ashraf, student of class 11 at GGHS Verinag, second prize of University College London was awarded to Hina Ashraf, GHSS Kothibagh, third prize went to Salma and Ishrat of GGHS Kulgam. Consolation prizes were given to Jehangir, GBHS Telbal, Sabia Abdullah, GGHSS Nishat, Shiekh Zaffar, GBHS Laar, Ganderbal, Shauket Ali Khan of Kulgam High School, Umer Hussian Khan of Aram, Bandipore, Nilofer Tabassum of Budgam and Ms Nusrat of Pahalgam School. The experts of the event were Mr. R.L.Kashkari and Dr. B.K.Raina, both former directors of Geological Survey of India, Dr. B.L.Dhar, Forest Research Institute, Dehradun.

Dr. Bindra Thusu of Maghreb Petroleum Research Group at University College London was also present at the workshop. Technical support and practical training was provided by a Jammu University team of scholars including Dr. Yudhbir Singh, Mr. Naveen Hakhoo, Ms Sumita Koul and Mr. Vinay Sharma.