Amrita-Seattle leads summer camps and workshops for high school and middle school children on climate change and environmental awareness in the Himalayan glaciers and in the tropical rainforests of Cameroon
Our theme, depending on where we are working is either “My Ladakh My Home- Save the Himalayan Glaciers” or “My Cameroon My Home- Save the Rainforests”. But wherever we work, our mission is the same: to spread environmental awareness among children and provide basic solutions that these students can undertake in their homes to start making a difference within their community.
At the core of our programs is the “green” school, a space where all students’ collaborative creative work takes place. Working in groups, students develop and execute projects from design conception to final prototyping and present the final result of their work to the community and to a select group of guest critics. Our workshops and camps are built upon four main platforms: Lecture series, Workshop, Fieldwork, and Site visits.
Activities include: seminars with local NGO experts and villagers, developing solutions for sustainable agriculture in the light of climate change, planting trees, implementing trash removal and separation schemes, creating visual displays on various environmental topics in major public areas, teaching the community about the need for conserving, and finally making a group presentation either as a play or a puppet show.
Ladakh, situated in the high Himalayas, is high at risk from being affected by climate change and development initiatives. Our mission is the promotion of ecologically sustainable development which harmonises with and builds upon traditional Ladakhi culture. We want to start an organic sustainable community farm and green house based on traditional Ladakhi agricultural techniques and use of natural renewable resources. The projects will be managed by local high school students who will be trained in agriculture.
Ladakhi agriculture is primarily subsistent in nature but unique and representative of the Tibetan plateau farming system. Until recently, Ladakhis grew and consumed their own grains, cereals and vegetables, prepared their own manure, seeds and other agricultural inputs, reared their own animals and prepared their own farms in an integrated and balanced manner as a response to Ladakh’s agro climatic conditions.
However, low cropping intensity, less productivity and a short growing season has resulted in the dependence of its growing population on import of food grains, vegetables and spices. Besides, as Ladakh opens to the world, its traditional agricultural system and crops face severe disruptions. Agriculture has now taken a back-seat to the rapid growth of tourism in the region. Nonetheless, there is a huge potential for agriculture in Ladakh, despite its high altitude and arid climate. Ladakh grows niche crops, both agricultural and horticultural, which with an appropriate value added and proper marketing can create a green revolution of its own sort in this region. Focusing on vegetable production in winters through green houses and using cost effective technologies, so as to tap the local market in the prolonged winter season can make the locals self-reliant for food and energy, like they used to be.