Our wellbeing and healthy life depends on the healthy environment. Biodiversity and ecosystem are parts of the environment. Conserving biodiversity and keeping the ecosystem healthy is prerequisite for human civilization and development. Thus, it could be said that safe and clean environment ensures economic prosperity and development. We know that environmental issues such as water contamination, pollution and climate change are creating barriers towards our journey to the world of development and civilization. So, it’s our responsibility to look for ways how we can reverse the damage to our planet and keep our environment protected and safe. On the other hand, biodiversity refers not just to species but also to ecosystems and differences in genes within a single species. Everywhere on the planet, we live together and depend on one another. Every living thing is involved in these complex networks of interdependent relationships, which are called ecosystems. We also know that healthy ecosystems clean our water, purify our air, maintain our soil, regulate the climate, recycle nutrients and provide us with food. They provide raw materials and resources for medicines and other purposes. They are at the foundation of all civilization and sustain our economies. Actually ecosystems are our natural capital.
However, BARCIK through its different projects does address environmental issues involving all stake including the youths in the center of its activity facilitation. The experience of BARCIK working with youth community tells that if youths are educated on environmental issues and given them the platform to apply their skills and understanding they could turn to ‘Environment Ambassadors’ who can revitalize the environment by their eco-friendly initiatives. Finding the issue important and interesting they will take initiative to expand and disseminate their learning with other youths that confirms the sustainability of their actions.
In order to keep the environment safe and clean BARCIK facilitated different activities, campaigns and policy advocacy on protecting and keeping environment safe and clean. BARCIK with the participation of youths and other social actor has been conducting campaigns on the importance of tree plantation. Over the years, the youths and community have been found planting native trees at their homestead, roadsides, fallow lands, and school premises and char lands. So far, through this tree plantation campaigns youths and community people have planted thousands of native trees. The young youths and students take efforts to make their village green one. By saving their lunch money and with the help of other people they buy and plant native trees in front of everyone’s house. They chose fruit, herbal and other native trees which are scarce in their area.
Agriculture is also a known polluter when it comes to using chemical and chemical runoff. BARCIK from its inception has been making efforts to mobilize farmers adopting sustainable agriculture that gives room to indigenous knowledge related practices and does not require using chemical fertilizers and harmful pesticides. Farmers in BARCIK’s working areas thus make organic manure and prepare pesticides from the native plants to apply in their fields which also reduces their production cost as they do need to buy chemicals from the markets. The number of farmers adopting sustainable agriculture is increasing day by day. The farmers particularly women protect and conserve uncultivated food plants which enable them to consume as foods and use as medicines. Some women in the working areas of BARCIK are found to conserve those uncultivated plants in plots and they regularly nourish those plants. BARCIK organizes campaigns to conserving and protecting the biodiversity by preventing biodiversity depletion actions. The youths and community people in the working areas conduct campaigns to raise voice against hunting birds and other wild animals, excessive use chemicals, deforestation and plantation of exotic aggressive plants. One of the youth leaders realizing the importance of biodiversity and ecosystem thus said, ‘Going through different publications and newspaper I came to learn that birds are decreasing day by day. Observing our surroundings we see there are no tree, river-canals compared to the near past. Where birds will make their nest? Thus, for making a safe and open place for all types of bird species we make a committee and all members vowed to make safe shelter for birds. We will not allow anyone to hunt birds, we also never harm birds. We will do our best for making a bird friendly environment.’
The role taken by the youths and community people in BARCIK’s working areas to protect the environment and keep the ecosystem sound has been appreciated and encouraged. The constant training support from BARCIK has played role in the transformation of the young people to ‘Environment Ambassadors’ being armed with knowledge on climate change, diversity, environment and related issues. Thus, including other actors the youth have taken pivotal role to save the environment, protect and conserve biodiversity. They planted trees in the school premises, roadside, got involved in forestation, conducted campaign to create awareness about environment and biodiversity, declare their college and school campus as ‘green campus’ and protect birds and other life forms. If they continue doing these works someday we can hope of a better future and better living environment.