Biodiversity in practice

This month Teacher Plus is very excited to be part of the larger dialogue on biodiversity that is happening worldwide, with attention focused currently on the big meeting that is taking place this month in Hyderabad – the 11th meeting of the Conference of Parties (CoP). This is the governing body of the Convention on Biological Diversity, an agreement on protecting the earth’s resources, signed by around 168 countries. The Convention came into force in 1993, and since then has inspired a series of decisions at global, national and local levels, aimed at conserving biological resources, creating sustainable approaches, and encouraging a more fair and equitable sharing of benefits of development.

Now, what does a teachers’ magazine have to do with these global issues, one might ask. Readers of this magazine will know that this is perhaps a superfluous question. We have in the past focused attention on such topics, often devoting an entire edition to the question. Our readers play a crucial role in at least two ways. One, they are, like everyone else, members of a global community and need to be concerned at the individual level about resource use and distribution. Two, they are important conduits of information dissemination and attitude formation for the next generation of decision makers. What they say – and more importantly, do – is key in terms of shaping the ideas of their pupils.

So when the Centre for Environment Education, Ahmedabad, approached us with the idea of partnering on this issue, we saw it as a natural and necessary engagement. Biodiversity needs to be viewed from the ground up; it is too important to be left only to policy makers and governments. It must involve each one of us, as we work in our classrooms, walk down the street, look into our backyards and go to the market. It is both about signing petitions on genetically modified produce and about deciding what vegetables to buy and where. It is about taking the time to look up at the trees and notice the changes in the leafing and flowering patterns, as well as pausing before we pull out weeds in our garden or sweep the cobwebs off a plant.

The special pullout holds an assortment of articles put together by the CEE and Teacher Plus teams; they provide background, shared experiences as well as tips for teachers to bring biodiversity into their classrooms at all levels of teaching. As always, we welcome feedback on how you have used these ideas!