KATHMANDU, Aug 18: “Conservation is important but now, more than conservation, damage control is hogging the spotlight. Pollution control in the urban and industrial areas and conserving the lush green forests should also be a priority,” echoed our three participants of chitchat.
Conservation, be it wildlife, biodiversity, sustainability or the environment, has become the topic of discussion. Habituating the youth and making them aware of the importance of it has also taken the front seat. No doubt, the youth today are taking the lead and doing things that probably was rationed for only adults. Things are changing but change doesn’t come easy.
On this edition of chitchat, we caught up with Amita Thapa Magar, student at School of Environmental Management and Sustainable Development (SchEMS), 25; Rushka Sthapit, Environment Engineering graduate from Kathmandu University, 23 and Christina Pradhan, student of Environment Science at Kathmandu University, 22, to talk about conservation, its importance and what a single youth can do on their own to preserve the environment, wildlife and live in a sustainable manner.
Amita Thapa Magar
How aware do you think are the people about conservation?
Amita: When I started to work with environment issues back in 2008, people really didn’t talk about it much. But now, everybody knows how important the issue is and why we should be protecting it.
Christina: I also think that the media has a big hand in this. They’re constantly reporting about the conservation issues, making people aware of it.
Rushka: I agree with them. People today, are more aware and working towards conserving but not everyone. Nepal’s Community Forest (CF) programs are famous worldwide and are doing pretty good. And this was possible because there was awareness.
Rushka: Conservation is important because it’s connected with the economy and people’s lives. Nowadays, I believe it’s called green economy, which means to make money off recycling, among other things, best suited with the environment. Also, we’ve signed many international treaties but the implementation is lacking.
Christina: And I think the government needs to be more serious about implementing and upholding the international treaties. Last time I went to a government office during the summer season, the heater was on and I thought it was a waste of energy. People need to realize that conservation is not just for one person, but for all of us.
Amita: Conservation as in sustainability, environment, wildlife, all of them are important because, like Rushka said, it is connected with the economy and our lives. It’s like a chain reaction and only upon its completion will we benefit from it.
Have you ever participated in any conservation related seminars/conferences? Are they helpful?
Amita: I’ve attended quite a few seminars and I must say, I’ve gained quite some knowledge from it. But I think more new people should get a chance to attend the seminars and conferences instead of inviting the same old crowd.
Rushka: Also, I think, in these conferences, the big shots from their respective fields come and do their talking and all the young ones can do is listen. I think it should be more interactive and make us understand better so we can also tell our friends and make them aware about various issues regarding conservation.
Christina: I haven’t attended anything as such but all these youth organizations are holding seminars in smaller scales and making people aware about the importance of conversation, which I think is very good.
How can young people spread awareness about conservation and how can they be a part of it?
Christina: Youths like us can probably make a group in their own community and spread the word of conservation.
Rushka: Or better still they can act on it. One person can make ‘box compost’ and make use of the garbage and turn it into fertilizer and use it at home to grow vegetables, perhaps. This will create a ripple effect and other young ones can follow suit.
Amita: Also, if we stop using polythene bags, throwing trash out in the street, among other small things, we are still preserving the environment. Small things can lead to bigger things and I think we can start from that.
According to you, how do you think we can solve the problem related to conservation?
Amita: I think the monitoring of the implementation of the international treaties is lacking. The concerned authority should follow up and make sure that things are running smoothly.
Rushka: Also, the young minds can be mobilized for conservation. As part of the community participation program, the youth can have their own wing and work accordingly.
Christina: There are many young people actively working in the field of wildlife conservation and Community Forests. Also, there is a big communication gap and this problem should also be addressed.