“You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you. What you do makes a difference and you have to decide what kind of a difference you want to make.”
At St. Teresa's Institute of Education, we believe everyone is capable of ushering in a change in the world. Indeed actions speak louder than words and the smallest green deed is greater than the grandest intention to protect Mother Nature. Make A Difference (M.A.D) Week is an initiative conceptualized by Assoc. Prof. Dr. Giselle D’souza and organized annually by St. Teresa’s Institute of Education, with the aim of propagating environmental awareness among students. On each day of this green week, students conduct assemblies and educate their fellow classmates and faculty about pressing issues relating to environmental conservation. In relation to the theme of each day’s assembly, a meaningful activity is conducted by the students to ensure the realization of the goal of environmental protection.
The M.A.D Week, 2021 was celebrated between 9th – 18th March using the Google Meet platform. The S.Y.B.Ed Environmental Education students organized the MAD Week program under the able guidance of Assoc. Prof. Dr. Giselle D’souza.
The green celebrations started off with the initiative to ‘Reduce CO2 emissions’ by simply reducing Junk Mail. The students enlightened the class about the harmful environmental impact of an overflowing inbox. After sharing many eye-opening facts in this connect, they also guided the class about various methods to clear up our inboxes and keep spam mails at bay. At the end of the assembly, students were asked to delete at least 20 unwanted emails from their inboxes and to share a geotagged picture of their inbox before and after deleting the emails.
On Day 2 of the MAD week, the students were oriented to ‘Deforestation’ and its main causes around the globe, along with its impact on living beings. They were informed about how reforestation can have a positive impact on the Earth and the importance of planting trees. They were presented with a simple yet viable alternative to planting trees through use of the Search Engine Ecosia, wherein with every 45 searches on this browser, a tree is planted by the organization. The students were also enlightened about the various projects and organizations that Ecosia is working with to bring about a change in the world. The green task was for each student to plant a tree in this manner.
Day 3 spread awareness about ‘Air Pollution’ - its causes and effects. The green team emphasised the need to take preventive and remedial measures to stop air pollution. They made a sincere plea to “Give a care and clean the air”. They showed us how we can do our bit to reduce air pollution with the help of an ingenious trick - A ‘Pollution Catcher’, which can be simply made using a paper plate smeared with Vaseline. When hung near a window, this ingenious device will catch all the atmospheric pollutants and filter the air around us.
Day 4 of the MAD Week alerted us to the disheartening reality of ‘Global Water Scarcity’. The duo enlightened us about the causes of water scarcity and shared many constructive tips that we can practice on a daily basis to do our bit to save water (taking a bucket bath, turning off the tap when not needed, methods of reusing water, etc.). The assembly ended with a thought-provoking poem on the importance of water.
Day 5 threw light on the need for ‘Minimalism’. We were made aware of how our own habits of consumerism and over-consumption are having a dangerous impact on the Earth. The assembly helped students to reflect on two crucial words, ‘need’ or ‘desire.’ Students realized that living a minimalistic life means letting go of desires and paying attention to our needs, in turn helping us to make our Earth a better place. The students were instructed to get rid of one item per day for the next seven days and segregate them into different boxes such as for donation, for recycling and so on.
Day 6 of MAD Week brought laughter along with an important message for the students. We were introduced to Miss Lola who had an engaging conversation with Mr. Earth. This hilarious dialogue between the two highlighted some vital and crucial issues relating to ‘Plastic Pollution’. The issues created by the use of plastic were revealed to the students, such as its harmful effects on wildlife and sea life. The more grievous problems such as the long period plastic takes to decompose, how the toxins used in plastic affect soil and groundwater and how it poisons our food chain were also covered. The students were enlightened on how they can help to reduce this problem through preparing Eco- Bricks.
The last day of the MAD Week highlighted a very novel idea of ‘Hydroponics’ which is a method of growing plants by substituting soil with a mineral nutrient solution. It can be done in urban homes and offers individuals the freedom to grow their own plants, yielding faster growth. These plants are filled with nutrients, there are fewer uses of chemicals and most importantly it helps to save our planet. There is optimum use of water and it helps individuals to have a control over what they consume. The students were instructed to grow a plant of their choice using Hydroponics and take a picture on the first and the last day, sending in Geotagged images of the same.
The MAD Week, 2021 was a grand success and ended on a green note. Students of both the first and second years displayed great enthusiasm in participating in all the activities which are a step towards adopting an eco-friendly mindset. It was much more than a mere College Fest, it was a small beginning towards a green lifestyle itself. In the words of Margaret Mead, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” So also, by increasing awareness, the EVS students were successful in sensitising others towards the need of adopting sustainable practices.
It is rightly said, “We do not see nature with our eyes, but with our understanding and our hearts.” The MAD Week has indeed opened the doors of our hearts and minds to look beyond our selfish comforts and care for the world around us. Empowered by this conscience, we pledge to be elements of change in our society and pave the path towards a greener tomorrow.