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MESH Research Fruits

Public Lecture: “Environmental Literacy to Citizenship in India: Weaving the Mesh”

Prof. Dr. Shamita Kumar (Institute of Environment Education and Research, Bharati Vidyapeeth University, Pune INDIA, and Guest Professor, University of Cologne)

Prof. Dr. Shamita Kumar is a landscape ecologist, geospatial technologist and environmental educator. Presently Vice Principal and Professor at the, Germany since 2013. Over the last twenty years she has implemented over twenty-two projects related to conservation, education for sustainability and geospatial technologies. Her research interests blend the science of conservation with technological tools as well as social science aspects, especially communication for sustainability. She has worked closely with national and state agencies across India for environmentalising school textbooks across the country. She has also been a crucial member of the team that developed the Maharashtra State Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (2018-2028) to be implemented by the Maharashtra State Government. Among her several awards are the prestigious Fullbright Scholarship. Recently she was selected as one of the top 75 women scientists in STEAM in India by the Office of the Principal Scientific Advisor, Government of India and the British High Commission and featured in the book, ‘She Is: 75 Women in STEAM’ (on the occasion of India’s 75th year of independence). She is currently a member of National Geospatial Capacity Building Committee, Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India; the Executive Committee, Maharashtra State Forest Training Academy; and of the 4-country (South Africa, Mexico, Germany, India) ESD Expert Net, of which she is the National Coordinator, with responsibility for implementing an Education for Sustainable Development Leadership Course and an outreach program on ‘Sustainability in Schools’ across India.


November 24, 17.45-19.15 | Seminarraum S139
(Faculty of Human Sciences, Main Building , Gronewaldstr. 2, 3rd floor)

All are welcome (22 persons max.)

Abstract: The world today is facing unprecedented challenges such as climate change, loss of biodiversity, food security, rapid technological advances, climate engineering, and global health epidemics, which need to be dealt with both at global and local levels.  While one cannot predict exactly the scale and severity of these problems in the next decade, our environmental actions will certainly play a central role in determining the state of our world. Growing civic participation in environmental movements shows that societal actors are increasingly engaging in behaviour that can be described as environmental citizenship. The impetus for environmental literacy in India was driven through the law, setting the frame of the mesh and resulting in environmental education becoming an integral part of the K-12 and undergraduate curriculum. However, there is a lot of emphasis on presenting factual data and little emphasis on bringing interdisciplinary experiential learning into the classroom. Given the diversity that India harbours in terms of ecosystems, species, languages, customs and indigenous knowledge, it is essential that these be woven into the mesh strengthening environmental citizenship. This talk will draw upon several unique examples in India that have contributed to weaving and strengthening the mesh of environmental citizenship.