CEE will conduct an eight-week Certificate Course in Climate Change for the science communicators, beginning from 20 th June, 2016. The certificate course aims at enhancing the knowledge of the communicators about climate change and develop a pool of climate specialists. Each week will cover various topics on climate change, and simultaneously also deal with aspects of communication and management.
The course was inaugurated by Shri R.R. Rashmi, Additional Secretary, MoEF&CC, on 20 th June, 2016, at CEE, Ahmedabad. Kartikeya Sarabhai, Director, CEE, welcomed the chief guest, and gave a brief introduction of the course, and spoke about the relevance of communication in educating and making people aware about different issues.
Shri R. R. Rashmi spoke about the challenges of climate change, and emphasized on the need to follow scientific principles, such as the one on ‘Common but Differentiated Responsibilities'. He said that while everyone should have the opportunity to develop, they should also fulfil their responsibilities towards addressing the challenges of climate change. He said that scepticism over climate change is no longer a major concern. While addressing the communicators, he said, “Everyone is a stakeholder in the exercise of managing climate change and every stakeholder is an important part of this. But youth is the one who will help us move further in this process.”
Shri Sarabhai spoke about how communication comes from the true belief in the science which we want to communicate. It is not just the oratory skills but also the conviction of communicating that counts. Speaking about the success and outreach of the Science Express Climate Action Special (SECAS), Shri Sarabhai said, “There was a 30 percent difference in the understanding of climate change among the students from the same school who visited the train and those who did not. Despite the panels on the train being in English, the students, coming from different backgrounds and educated in different languages, showed great retention of the knowledge they obtained on the train and that indicates the neutrality of the train and the excellent communication skills of the communicators.”
Mr. Dilip Surkar, Director, Vikram A. Sarabhai Community Science Centre (VASCSC), gave a short presentation on the journey of the Science Express, since its inception in 2007. He also spoke about the Science Express Climate Action Special, which had eight coaches dedicated to information on climate change, two coaches covering different themes on using biotechnology for climate change, developed by the Department of Biotechnology, and one coach exhibited by the National Innovation Foundation, featuring selected innovations by the common people. Mr. Surkar also highlighted the importance of communication in making the common man aware of the issue. Addressing the science communicators, he said, “The Science Express communicators are indeed very lucky to have had the opportunity of travelling on the train, getting a hands-on experience of interacting with people and answering their questions on important topics like climate change.”
Ms. Rixa Schwarz, Programme Coordinator, Sustainable Business and Climate Change, CEE, elucidated the objective and outline of the certificate course, saying, “We have designed this course for the science communicators based on their backgrounds and future goals. The main objective is to help them communicate to other people what they have learnt so far on the train and what they will learn during the certificate course. This course will be enlightening for all of us since we (the trainers) have the background while the communicators have the experience (from the train).”
About Science Express Climate Action Special
In October 2015, the Government of India launched the world's largest climate change awareness programme, focusing on Climate Action - the Science Express Climate Action Special (SECAS). This programme is a joint initiative of the Ministry of Environment Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC), Department of Science and Technology (DST), Ministry of Railways, Centre for Environment Education (CEE) and Vikram A. Sarabhai Community Science Centre (VASCSC). During its first phase (October 15, 2015 to May 7, 2016), this unique mobile exhibition travelled 19,500 km, covering 20 states and halting at 64 stations. It has received over 2.3 million visitors, till date. The second phase of SECAS will start in September, 2016.