If you are happy and you know it, do biodiversity…

The first part of the title of this blog, are words from a popular toddler’s / children’s song. It encourages children to focus on the emotion of happiness, associating it with simple activities like clapping, jumping, hopping, swirling etc. Example: If you are happy and you know it clap your hands / jump up and down / turn around. I have seen children have great fun moving to this song.

Humming it the other day, having biodiversity topmost on my mind, it wasn’t surprising that this is how the song played out for me, “if you are happy and you know it…do biodiversity” – something we do so little of nowadays! Being amid nature and natural surroundings, becoming mindful of the environment as a shared space we inhabit with several other wondrous creatures of the world has been said to be critical for several reasons – it keeps not only humans in good health but also the planet.

Team Aripana and the students from Mithila, participating in Wipro Earthian 2021, are immensely happy engaging with and exploring the local biodiversity of Mithila. Out of the 30 odd children from Mithila, participating in India’s largest environment education program for schools (Earthian 2021), 8 children from 2 government schools are focusing exclusively on biodiversity.

These 8 children from Laheria Sarai, Darbhanga, have embarked upon a week long exploration of plants, shrubs, insects, animals, birds in their immediate surroundings. One does not have to visit a forest or a picnic spot to appreciate the richness of the natural, living world. It can be done from inside our homes and this activity is aimed to reveal the sheer variety of biodiversity that exists all around them. The aim of this activity is also to make children creators and contributors of knowledge and not remain passive receivers.

The best part about our work are the questions children ask and the conversations we have. As we embark upon our first, intensive activity that will help us understand our environment, see it as a shared space, find out who all we share it with, here are some questions our young explorers posed. They indicate the children are planning, giving thought to execution, thinking of ethics and responsibility, even though they many not be fully aware of these terms, yet!

We cannot wait to share with each other and with you, all that we discovered this week.

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