Forty years after the first Earth Day, the world is in greater peril than ever. While climate change is the greatest challenge of our time, it also presents the greatest opportunity – an unprecedented opportunity to build a healthy, prosperous, clean energy economy now and for the future. Earth Day, 2010 targeted mobilising world wide action for advancing climate policy, energy efficiency, renewable energy and green jobs. Victorial Memorial Hall supported observation of Earth Day at its campus. The program was designed and implmented by Contact Base, a social enterprise working for pro¬poor and sustainable development and safeguarding of cultural heritage.
School children from deprived communities came forward to celebrate Earth Day, 2010 at Victoria Memoria. The children study in schools run by different NGOs in slum areas of Kolkata like Mayurbhanj Joint Citizen Centre, Right Track, Garden Reach Slum Development, Garden Reach Bangla Basti Academic Development Society, Ram Nagar Lane Forum of Revolution for Community Education, Mass Welfare Society, Forum Of Communities United in Services(FOCUS), Tiljala Society for Human and Educational Development, Paschim Banga KriraŽOŽJanakalyan Parshad and Bastee Basi Sammanaya Samity. CLPOA provided support in facilitating participation of these schools. Total number of children was 105. There were 23 teachers from different NGOs.
• To sensitise children on the objective of celebrating Earth Day using arts based approach.
• To inspire awareness and build ownership on the issue of protection of earth and environment
• To develop an agenda for action to build a green earth with particpation of children using art and theatre based activities.
Inauguration : Smt Ananya Bhattacharya, Secretary, Contact Base, gave the welcome address and shared the importance of the day with the children. Dr. Chitta Panda, Secretary and Curator of Victoria Memorial explained the goals of Earth Day. An Officer from Ministry of Culture also addressed the children and discussed school amenities and other issues like mid day meal with them. Nandini Chatterjee, Secretary of CLPOA also spoke to the children and urged them to value Mother Earth. An audio visual presentation was given sensitising the children on the effect of global warming and why it is important to make each day an Earth Day. The total numbers of 105 children were divided into 5 activity groups for events like skit, card making, poster making and Patachitra painting. The aim of the activities was to engage the children in a creative and thought provoking way so that they could fully understand the importance of the day. The children were given instructions for each of the activities so that they could interpret and innovate on the theme in their own creative way.
Mr Sushanta Mukherjee and Mr. Biplanu Maitra asked the children to form a tree using their body and to sway it to represent its movement with the blowing wind.The children were next asked to divide themselves into five groups.
Two group of children were involved in developing skits on the issue of Earth Day. Theatre Spacialist Mr Biplanu Maitra and MrSushanta Mukherjee sensitised the children before developing the skits. It was observed that participants were enjoying the activity and they shared their thoughts on how they cansensitise their soceity on the issues through theatrical methodology.
Two Patachitra painters,Sumon Chitrakar a0nd Monimala Chitrakar guided groups of children to develop a Pata and sing the Pater gan alongwith it.The theme was gach banchao jonogon or save trees and save the earth
The children were asked to make greeting cards for parents, family members or people from their community to inform the importance of celebrating World Earth day.
Children made posters on issues which concern the earth and the ways and means by which they can make it more beautiful and more habitable.
Exchange the thoughts:
The programme came to a conclusion with a presentation by the children on the events they were particiapated on that day.Each group shared their activities in which they had partcipated. Two skits were presented on the theme of saving water and safe disposal of garbage ,both related to daily issues and both if adhered to can make a difference in making this earth a more habitable place.The children put up the final patachitra paintings and sang alonwith the Patachitrakars.A standing ovation was given for their efforts.The children who were involved in greeting card making were asked to share the message they had written for their peers and their community members for whom they had made the cards.Guest artist Tapas Konar appreciated the posters and the little efforts made by the small children and talked to them invidually to enliven their spirits and share with them the thought of the day on “Amar Prithivi”.Chandrabibndoo lead singer Upal encouraged the children with his lovely songs and the cheering by the children proved their enthusiasm and happiness.
The programme came to an end by a small speech by Piyashi Bharsa ,Nandini Chatterjee ansd Karuna Singh.They thanked the children for their brilliant efforts and encouraged them to keep on thinking of ways to better this earth in which they live in.
Karuna Singh , Country Director, India, Earth Day Network, Representative of Ministry of Culture, Education Officer, famous Artist Mr Tapas Konar and famous Bengali singers Surajit Chatterjee of ‘Bhumi’ and Upal from ‘Chandrabindu’ graced the occasion and addressed the children.