06 Sep iCubed 2014 Winning Idea: Green Labs
Uma Shunmuganathan, Varsha Ramachandran and Suvasini Ragavan – Spaces
Objective: The idea envisions a greener tomorrow by tapping the grassroots of the education system and sensitizing the kids about nature, environment and neighbourhood thereby providing a foundation for ecological balance. This includes greenscaping school premises and developing an activity & fun based curriculum to imbibe in children a desire and sense of responsibility to stay in sync with nature and maintain the natural balance of our environment and in a way encourage the future generations to pursue green careers.
Need: Lack of ‘Don’t just think, ACT’ attitude among people to carry out earth-friendly activities and co-exist with nature not only pollutes the present environment but also endangers future generation. The alarming lack of awareness among people about how much each of them as an individual is contributing in polluting environment is something that needs to be under check. The percentage of green cover in Chennai is just 5-10% as compared to the required value of 33%. There is also an absence of a full-fledged garden system that provides a living context to study the principles of interdependence, diversity, cycles, scale and limits, energy and resources, succession and sustainability. Also lacking is a student-centred environment along with a strong emphasis on highly motivated instructors to carry out garden related activities. We have the responsibility to prepare the child for the world of tomorrow. Although we can’t see that world, we can help students ask relevant questions; develop processes for thinking and searching for answers; and communicate, work, and live cooperatively
Implementation: The implementation plan comprises of four phases.
1. Green Define- This is an orientation to kids from class 4-8 educating them about the prospects of a greener future. In here we troubleshoot and ideate the current problems associated with our environment by associating them with specific teams or student groups.
2. Green Design – Identification of the right space in the school, designing the botanical aspects and design work activities against each landscape related tasks. A garden journal will have to be created by each of the teams addressing any of the existent problems. This should include analysis, overview and solutions of the given problem statements along with records, data etc.
3. Green Live – Landscape gets created and students are live on the project (Lab) working as per schedule. A hands-on model garden will have every member explore and learn as much possible in growing a plant along with being imparted with knowledge of best gardening practices. Green Live will have various spaces like a Model Garden space (ornamental, aquatic, kitchen or herbal etc), A Hands-on Garden Space and a Meeting Centre to brainstorm ideas.
4. Green Sustain – This is the end of project phase and the students and the school continues to maintain the mature landscape after the schedule ends. This creates a greener environment in school premises and communities in the nearby neighbourhood.