Environment and Education in South Asia

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In a world of climate change, we are at a stage where it has become difficult to ignore the burning relevance of an education in the environment. This session invites experts who lead pioneering initiatives in the field, all set in fragile ecological zones themselves, and talk about their experiences as they have carved a space for the environment in mainstream education.


Dr Lalit Pande, a social worker and environmentalist, who is the Founder of Uttarakhand Seva Nidhi Environmental Education Centre in India. Dr Pande received engineering degrees in India and the USA. Questions about “academic excellence and social relevance” led him back to his ancestral home in a small town where he had never lived earlier. For the last 35 years he has been involved in an environmental education programme in the hills of Uttarakhand. (www.sevanidhi.org) The Government of India awarded him the fourth highest civilian honour of the Padma Shri, in 2007, for his contributions to environmental education, and his alma mater, the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi, awarded him the Distinguished Alumni Award in 2014.

Padma Othsal from Ladakh, currently working at SECMOL as a Campus Director. He, along with his team, run SECMOL founded by Mr Sonam Wangchuk in the year 1988 together with like-minded youths of his age to bring reform in the education system in Ladakh. They focus on alternative learning systems and teach life skills to the youths of Ladakh in particular and people across the globe in general through hands-on learning. Prior to his 3 years at SECMOL, his specialisation has been in educating youths of remote villages of Ladakh through short term camps and workshops, freelancer in eco-tourism tourism industry  and in running Othsal Academy – an initiative to support students in clearing fundamental concepts of Mathematics, Science, Aptitude and English.

Mr. Sonam Norbu who is an Edupreneur, social worker and a lifelong learner. Sonam has been a teacher for 12 years. Currently Sonam has founded VTOB Educational Solutions and Services which comprises of a community based organization, an institute and few social enterprises that aims to enhance educational engagements to nurture active citizens through consistent quality services that are innovative, problem solving, relevant and affordable. He has led the Teacher volunteers group of 6000 plus teachers in 2020 wherein the team volunteered to provide continued education to more than 1,70,000 students during the school closures due to the pandemic. Sonam promotes Climate Education, Waste Management and Education for Sustainable Development through Design for Change and other educational platforms.