There is growing awareness about environmental issues amongst stakeholders, individuals and communities. This increase in knowledge and awareness has been, by and large, the result of campaigns and education programmes run by major public interest groups concerned with the environment.
These include non-governmental organisations (NGOs) at the international, regional and national levels, as well as groups concerned with the empowerment of marginalised sections of society, such as women, indigenous peoples, and youth groups, and other community-based organisations. Such organisations have worked to foster grassroots-based approaches to the protection and preservation of the region’s environment.
It must also be recognised by the Government of India and various State Governments that gone are the days when the role of NGOs was confined to capacity building, conscientisation, awareness raising and mobilising the community. Present-day NGOs are no longer confined to their traditional domain of health, education and welfare and are very well equipped to take up highly sophisticated technical assignments in various technical fields like water resources, watershed, forestry, environment etc. Large numbers of Indian NGOs are now manned by professionals and technocrats of a high calibre.
Under this changing scenario, competent NGOs need to be involved in all the developmental fields including technical fields. The author of this note can substantiate with several examples in which the NGOs have done better than the Government Department even in the technical fields.
Over time, social and economic change in India has been accompanied by an erosion of traditional community practices that were meant to conserve the natural environment; however now there is a parallel attempt to record and formalise the invaluable traditional knowledge and practices. Much of this effort has been with the help of NGOs, which are playing a critical role in dissemination of environmental information in the country.
Environmental education is being undertaken by some of the leading NGOs like Assam Science Society, Bombay Natural History Society, Centre for Environmental Education, Centre for Science and Education, Kerala Sastra Sahitya Parishad. They have a vast range of publications – books, posters, educational packages, bibliographies,magazines etc.
This article has been written by Mr. Aditya Bansal. He holds a Bachelor's degree in Mechanical Engineering from PEC University of Technology, Chandigarh and is currently working towards a Masters in Sustainable Resource Management at Technical University of Munich, Munich. He can be contacted at email@example.com