Bt Brinjal Consultation in Kolkata

The Minister conveyed that no final decision is yet taken on Bt Brinjal. A report will be prepared based on inputs from the 7 public consultations to be held at various places in the country.

The first public consultation on the proposal to introduce commercialization of Bt Brinjal was held in Kolkata on 13 January. CEE team organized the consultation on behalf of Ministry of Environment & Forests, Government of India. The presentation on the various aspects of Bt brinjal and factual information on brinjal cultivation in West Bengal was made in Bengali by Reema on behalf of CEE.

The Union Minister for Environment, Mr. Jairam Ramesh, chaired nearly a four-hour discussion on the issue at the lecture hall of Bose Institute. The Kolkata meeting, the first public consultation on the controversial issue had nearly 500 participants, comprising green activists, farmers, agricultural experts, scientists, biotechnologists, government officials, NGOs, consumer organization, students, academicians, seed traders, consumers and doctors. The participants also submitted written suggestions to the Minister. There were also protests and demonstrations outside the venue.

The CEE team has developed an informative primer, and display panels on Bt Brinjal for the consultation. The local language version of these were distributed and displayed at the venue.
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Tribal Women Do Business

Just wonder! The tribal women who had never ventured beyond their villages doing business at Mecca of Business Education in India. This came true at the Sattvik Food Festival held at Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad. They not only showcased their sales skills but also prepared an exciting fusion of their traditional grains and urban tastes earning appreciation of the customers.

Apart from the challenge of using local grain for preparing recipes to appeal to an urban population, the women also learnt the aspects of value addition, packaging, branding, timely delivery, quality, price negotiation, promotion, stock maintenance, and accounting, which are important for business.

This was one of the training inputs for the tribal women on different facets of marketing, as part of the Gramnidhi project. This was also an exercise to build the capacity of these women towards realizing the potential of developing enterprises based on various grains and materials available in their local region.

Eco-club Students Learn about Rainwater Harvesting

Eco-club students from ASIA English School, Ahmedabad visited CEE as part of their educational exposure trip. Children were oriented to rainwater harvesting. 

4 working models, developed by Jeevan Tirth as a part of Small Grants Programme were displayed to demonstrate how rainwater could be properly stored and utilized later. Children were explained in detail how this water could be used to recharge an existing well, pit, and a hand pump. Low-cost check dams such as the bamboo dam, the Boriband, Gabriel structure and the pucca dam were shown and explained.

This was as part of activities conducted by CEE's Information Facilitation Centre (IFC). The session was facilitated by Girish Jathar and Priya Nair, CEE along with Jatinbhai, Co-ordinator, Water Programme, VIKSAT.

“DISHA” to Teachers

The Dissemination of DISHA (meaning ‘ Direction' in Hindi, and an abbreviation for Discover, Inspire, Share and Act) handbook was conducted for eco-club in-charge teachers, and other interested teachers, in Diu and Ahmedabad respectively. The Facilitator's Handbook for Sustainable Development handbook was introduced to the participants through a Teacher Training workshop under the National Green Corps programme (NGC). 

The main focus was to help the teachers to graduate from Environment al Education (EE) to Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) , making linkages to economic, social and cultural aspects along with environmental aspects when analyzing any issue. Four themes, namely Water, Biodiversity, Energy and Waste Management were explored using audio-visual aids, multimedia and a number of hands on activities.

State Environment Policy

The Directorate of Environment, Uttar Pradesh Government is in the process of finalizing the State Environment Policy. Preeti R. Kanaujia represented CEE at a meeting held on 14 January to comment on the policy. She provided inputs on the overall document and environment education and training section. The policy document is available online for comments at

Recognition of SGP Partner

SGP partner AAGAAS FEDERATION is working in 24 villages of District Chamoli in Uttarakhand, which are dependent on Ringal (a species of bamboo) based livelihood options. On the occasion of a local mela - ‘Bund Vikas Mela', the State Chief Minister Dr. Ramesh Chandra Pokhariyal declared Pipalkoti region as a Ringal Craft Centre of the state, and promised to provide all necessary inputs to the basket-weaver community of the region. The AAGAAS FEDERATION has developed over 245 Ringal based products and is supporting 68 SHGs and 2 Self Reliant Cooperatives through enterprise based business models.

Orientation on Education and Interpretation Programmes

25 Officer Trainees of the Certificate Course in Wildlife Management, Wildlife Institute of India (WII), Dehradun, visited CEE as part of their orientation programme.

CEE team made detailed presentations on its kinds of education and interpretation programmes around Protected Areas, and Zoos.

Some of the concerns and queries raised by the trainees were with reference to evaluation of interpretation programmes, cost effectiveness, how NGOs can network and collaborate with CEE, and training and capacity building programmes offered by CEE.

The trainees were Range Forest Officers and equivalent ranks from various states / Union Territories; and included 7 foreign nationals.

The programme was conducted by the CEE team of Meena Nareshwar, Zoo Interpretation Programmes, Chaitanya Joshi and L.M. Murthy, Protected Area Interpretation Education, and Priya Nair, CEE- IFC.

India Environment Summit

CEE co-organised Indian Environment Summit (IES) 2009, India 's premier environmental trade exhibition and conference on waste, water, pollution, energy and recycling for knowledge dissemination. The two-day workshop was supported by Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India and The European Union. IRWM & Co., UNDP-GEF Small Grants Programme, UNDP, GEF and UNOPS, New Delhi were also the coorganisers. 

Despite several legislations in the country for regulating Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) and Biomedical Waste (BMW), the scenario of management of these wastes is dismal. The two-day workshop was to orient the participants to issues in MSW and BMW management and to plan for a series of regional meetings to devise a road map for better waste management. The workshop was attended by representatives from state environment departments, pollution control boards, state departments of municipal administration, municipal commissioners and mayors of bigger cities, NGO representatives, Medical and Para-medical Associations and private companies dealing with waste management.

Presentations by representatives from a wide range of related sectors, both government and non-government, offered examples of best practices, and opportunities for sharing experiences.

Group discussion sessions on MSW and BMW management recommended that sustainable solutions are possible, and informal sector can be trained and integrated into all aspects of sustainable waste management.

The workshop concluded with the strong recommendation India and other developing countries should emphasise on the role of the informal sector in reducing GHG emissions and the importance of recognising their work and providing them benefits from it. This way both Climate Change and Poverty issues can be addressed.

NGC Teachers Training at Vaishali

CEE North organized the second district level training programme for 27 National Green Corps (NGC) teachers-in-charge from 25 schools at Vaishali district in Bihar.

The NGC Nodal agency Bihar State Pollution Control Board (BSPCB) and District Education Officer were actively involved in organizing the workshop.

The objective of the workshop was to build the capacity of teachers in-charge of these selected schools to conduct year-long eco-club activities model eco-club schools.

CEE will provide a year-long technical support to these schools, especially to the teachers-in-charge in conducting eco-club activities in their schools.