Environment is one of the most widely discussed subjects today as it is adversely affected by unbridled growth and development. The rampant application of technology in the over-exploitation and utilization of natural resources has indeed resulted in the various environmental ills such as water, soil and air pollution; depletion of natural resources; vanishing of life-supporting ecological systems and the more recent and alarming threats like global warming and climatic changes.
Worse, our desire to have more of everything never seems to end. Added to this, are the increasing demands of increasing populations. Our natural capital is seriously eroding. Fossil fuels, water and forests are vanishing faster than they can be replenished. Under such circumstances can there be sustainable development? Will our future generations, our children be able to live a better life…?
Every one of us could do a little bit in his / her own capacity to protect the environment. We, at Eco-Watch, have been doing our bit in a humble way to protect our environment.
Keeping the general community and specific target groups in mind, Eco-Watch designs and carries out activities to create awareness with a focus on conservation and restoration. Resource personnel from various backgrounds conduct activities that include field visits, workshops, training, seminars/symposia, film-screening and the like. Alternate methods of creating awareness among students and younger populations, such as developing and staging plays by student groups around central themes of nature and conservation and similar activities are also employed. To kindle interest among various target groups the centre organizes field based programmes such as Academic & Study Tourism for student groups and Eco-Tours for corporates and others.
Project Assistants and Research Associates are guided by experts to execute projects in various geographical locations across the state. The research programmes document and compile technical data as reports which aid in information sharing and knowledge banking. These projects are often initiated by / are collaboration with prominent educational and scientific organizations across the country. Specific training in allied disciplines is also offered to interested organizations / individuals.
Innovative programmes motivate regional communities to participate in the improvement or restoration of ecological systems which fall under three categories, that is, collaboration with Educational Institutions, Corporate Organisations and Citizen Initiatives. The objective is to improve existing, but threatened ecosystems/habitats and initiate appropriate community and field based restoration measures. Participatory and inclusive approach have been the focus under this programme.
Our documentary film ‘Shepherds on the move’ won the United Nations F.A.O. Award - Osiris, at the 19th International Agro Film Festival in Nitra, Slovakia. Film topics range from subjects such as Rural Sanitation to the Ecology of Western Ghats and Water Conservation. The films are screened across the country, at international meets and on various television networks. Multi-lingual publications, information and resource materials, are regularly published and distributed during awareness campaigns and programmes of the organisation. Scientists, ecologists, socio-economists, heads of academic institutions and professors of various disciplines are regular contributors. In addition information material such as posters, info-charts and resource booklets are brought out for specific target groups to enhance awareness levels and create interest in environment and related issues.
Eco-Watch has branched out into rural development programmes, which is closely related to conservation and sustainable development. The focal area is the identification of region specific issues and addressing them through community based programs. Eco-Watch provides support to rural communities by linking them to financial institutions, providing technical assistance and helping in promoting and marketing of local products along with popularizing the concept of sustainable livelihoods. This is carried out by promoting concepts such as ecotourism, which would provide tourists with authentic experience and information. The program is also designed to promote cross-cultural exchanges, enhance environmental awareness, strengthen socio-economic structure creating sustainable communities.