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Give Goa for Twenty Thursdays

We are a bunch of six MBA graduates of Goa Institute of Management, Sankhli with varied educational backgrounds, work experience and ethnicities. The root for diversity can be traced to the MBA epiphany among youth these days. From “Kotlerish” concepts to shareholders’ wealth maximisation we are trained ardently to be successful future managers. However, these days, businesses and organisations are geared up to add value to the world they exist in by incorporating social responsibility as a part of their objective. Therefore, our college ingrains in us these CSR values through curriculum design and a concept called “Give Goa” for Twenty Thursdays.

Goa is an Environmental-rich land and its beauty enthrals everybody. Therefore, our group chose to work for CEE-Centre for Environment Education which has a mandate to promote environmental awareness nationwide. This objective is achieved through designing innovative programmes and educational material for students to become more environment-sensitive. Thus, students from class VI to XII of various schools in Goa are our stakeholders. We create a base for “EE” (Environment Education) for such students in our Thursday Visits through innovativeness, determination and evolving entrepreneurial skills. We are being assisted by our CEE mentor Sujeet Dongre and our faculty guide Manas Mayur for the successful completion of our project.

As students undertaking this project, we had two perspectives about the Goan ecosystem, its diversity, its importance to the Goan people and the causes of its degradation. One perspective comes from the students who do not belong to Goa and have been staying in Goa from last July, while the other perspective comes from the only Goan member of the group who has been born and brought up in Goa.

The perspective from non-Goan point of view initially was that Goa was limited to beaches and Cashew plantations. In our first few visits only we realized that Goan environment is much more than that –mangroves ecosystem , Khazan  lands,  wildlife sanctuaries and varied kinds of biodiversities.  One of our experiences visiting such environmental rich destination was Dr Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary where for the first time we actually saw the mangroves nursery and so many different species of migratory birds. It helped us understand how mangroves actually help the coastal land from erosion, but also realized that environmental regulations have made mangroves a menace for farmers in whose lands they sometime encroach.

Sujeet also showed us Khazan ecosystem and sluice gates. The design efficiently combines agriculture and aquaculture and as management students, it really intrigued us to see such efficient use of natural resources without disrupting environmental balance.

Each week we waited eagerly for our Thursday visits to meet the students. In the process of our interacting with the teachers and students we learnt that they really cared about the environment and were motivated to conserve the natural beauty of Goa.

On the other hand, the perspective from someone who has been staying in Goa was “I became aware of the ecological diversity of Goa when our client Sujeet Dongre took us on field visits to various places such as the Dr. Salim Ali bird sanctuary, Soccorro plateau, Mhadei wildlife sanctuary etc. As someone staying in Goa, never did I think that Goa has such a rich variety of flora and fauna. The plant and animal life is important to us for a variety of reasons.”

On our visit to Soccorro plateau, we observed that the plane lands were covered with a lush covering of grass. Our client Sujeet then explained to us that this grass cover actually acts like a carpet and protects the top soil during heavy rains or strong winds preventing soil erosion.

As resident of Goa, I have observed that mining has affected the ecosystem adversely. Mining has caused deforestation, dust pollution and silting of rivers due to mining waste being dumped into the river. Urbanisation and tourism has also caused some damage.

When we spotted such issues we decided to evaluate and measure the environmental degradation caused by the factors – pollution, urbanisation, mining etc. We kept our survey open ended to accept the booming issues and views not taken into account. Our audience included localities, teachers, scientists and students. The responses captured were then evaluated by the methodology of Content-Analysis with the help of our faculty guide Manas Mayur. Some interesting findings included:

The people hold high level of awareness about the environment, its issues and factors contributing to its degradation.

The main affected regions were Chorao islands and Mangrove ecosystem.

The factors contributing to the degradation are mining and improper waste disposal system as contrary to our believe that tourism must be the source of degradation.

Agriculture activities has been seeing a sharp decline (60 per cent) due to high and easy paying jobs related to mining industry.

The old generation still is connected to the agriculture and feels that their successive generation don’t want to indulge in agriculture which demands a lot of hard work.

In schools, students are aware about environmental concepts and its conservation but there is a significance gap between knowledge and application of such conservation techniques.

There is a need of stringent enforcement of laws for banning mining activities from the Government side as such activities still prevail.

Currently, we are on last stage of Twenty Thursdays journey. We have initiated tree plantation drives in various schools as a gesture of our contribution to the environment. This journey has transformed us into enlightened and more-responsible citizens. We have also evaluated and seen transformed students’ attitude towards environment during our re-visits to their schools. The survey report produced by us would be submitted for Government’s policy planning. We are satisfied and happy that we have contributed to Goa to the best of our capacities.

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