Delhi youngsters call for climate education in curriculum
19-year-old Aniket Gupta - along with Aditya Dubey, Seher Taneja and Dwishojoyee Banerjee - petitioned the government to incorporate climate education in the curriculum of Delhi schools.
Aniket Gupta believes in the power of empathy to lead social change. His approach of incorporating practicality in climate education has been recognised globally. Gupta received the Diana Award in 2020.
In September this year, the 19-year-old - along with Aditya Dubey, Seher Taneja and Dwishojoyee Banerjee - petitioned the government to incorporate climate education in the curriculum of Delhi schools. We speak to him about his vision of climate education, his current ventures, and more.
Excerpts from an interview...
On climate education
To respond to climate change, we have to focus on two things: mitigation and adaptation. Mitigation focuses on reducing carbon emissions. Many youngsters are already doing a lot of work to put pressure on the authorities. Adaptation is about how we change ourselves to combat climate change.
To enforce these measures, climate education is substantial. We can encourage young kids to adopt environmentally-conscious changes, unlike adults whose practises have transformed into habits.
On imparting climate education in school
I first enforced this idea with my friends at school [Lovely Public Senior Secondary School, Laxmi Nagar]. When I read about global warming in class 6, I did not understand it. It was later that I understood the impact it has. By explaining a theory of an issue, we can't expect young people to mobilise against it. Practicality in climate education is important.
Realising this, my friends and I started taking classes - we'd explain key aspects of climate change - to students in school. Later, we started a petition on Change.org [a website allowing people to promote petitions on causes] and now have about 14 thousand signatures.
On launching the Indian Science and Technology Campaign (ISTC)
We did not launch the ISTC [an initiative to explain scientific concepts through practical experiments]; it came together organically. Through ISTC, we seek to build creative thinking. We've been working on preparing and implementing a syllabus for climate education, and have a sustainable toolkit of experiments for teachers to use.
On The Tale of Humankind
This is an initiative that I co-founded with Seher Taneja to inspire youth leadership. If a young changemaker wishes to start their own organisation or initiative to address an issue, they often do not know how to go about it. We provide them with basic resources to start one and thereby act as a bridge in their journey.
AIMING TO MAKE A CHANGE
Aniket Gupta, through his 'Indian Science and Technology Campaign' seeks to develop scientific skills for creative thinking in children. His 'The Tale of Humankind' initiative, along with Seher Taneja, helps to build youth leadership in the country.