Ecology | English Free Article

Bringing Biodiversity into Mainstream Media

New Delhi, June 7 (G’nY News Service): Despite being a major source of survival, be it physical, spiritual or economical, the mainstream media do not adequately address the importance of biodiversity conservation. Media is considered as the crux in spreading constructive agendas and can help in sustaining rapid development and environmental conservation side-by-side.

In the ‘Biodiversity Connect Media Workshops’ organized by the Centre for Environment Communication (CEC), the keynote address by Dr. (MS) B Meenakumari, Chairperson , National Biodiversity Authority (NBA), Chennai, sheds light on the importance of including biodiversity in mainstream media. Dr. Meenakumari calls media as “the best medium in order to reach out to people”. She asserts that in order to spread awareness among people, it is imperative that first media is made aware of the sensitive subject that biodiversity is and its impact on society; and subsequently make relevant information available to the public.

She further says that the information available on biodiversity acts and environmental schemes is very limited and not easily accessible to the public. According to her, the awareness pertaining to biodiversity can only gain momentum if the efforts made in generating it are persistent and repeated. She brilliantly provides instances that can be comprehended even by a layman. For example, she says, “if an article on biodiversity features in newspapers just once in weeks, it is easily forgotten but if featured again and again, it leaves an imprint on the minds of the people.” Increased visibility of environmental issues and addressing them on a constant basis is needed from the media.

She further remarks that people do not have the drive or desire to attain knowledge on this grave issue and that many people have no interest in finding out what is going on beneath the surface. People regularly find faults with regulatory authorities but are never willing to approach them with solutions. NBA however is working on being easily accessible to the general public. And this is brought into action by setting up additional State Biodiversityy Boards. In order to reach more people and make the process smoother, covering larger geographical areas, each State Biodiversity Board will set up Biodiversity Management Committees (BMC). These committees are at the Panchayati level. An astounding number of 3000-4000 BMCs have already been established, wherein they are the sovereign custodian and implementing agencies of the bio resources of the locality.

Dr. (Ms) Sujata Arora, Adviser, Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change, New Delhi (TBC), further elaborated on the subject “India’s National Biodiversity Targets in the context of International Agreements and National Policies”, providing a detailed insight into the National Biodiversity Targets (NBTs) and the Biodiversity Act.

The other panelists present were Ms Alka Tomar, Mr. S Gopikrishna Warrier, Dr. Darshan Shankar, Vice Chancellor, Transdiciplinary University (TDU), Bangalore; Dr. N K Krishna Kumar, DDG, Horticulture, ICAR, New Delhi; Dr, Haripriya Gundimeda, Professor, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay; Dr. Purnamita Dasgupta, Chair in Environmental Economics, Institute of Economic Growth, Delhi.

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