Meghalaya forest and environment minister James K. Sangma met a group of prominent citizens on forests, environment and climate change with a view to create environment leadership paradigm for Meghalaya.
In a continuous effort to engage and promote participative governance with people-centric agenda in mind, minister James K. Sangma on Tuesday met Naba Bhattacharjee, Morningstar Khongthaw and Nicholas J Kharnami.
The minister met the prominent citizens of Meghalaya for a discussion on new development and growth strategy for forests, environment and climate change in the state.
“The idea behind this is to reach out to the people on ground zero who are passionate about the environment and understand the subject in a practical manner,” said Team James Sangma in a statement.
Sangma said, “I want to create an environment leadership paradigm for Meghalaya through participative governance where people’s views and suggestions are considered for a better future.”
“With Covid, it has jolted all of us and has opened up the vulnerabilities of the systems which need to be tackled with a sense of urgency,” he said.
Naba Bhattacharjee, who is a retired forest officer, suggested, “We need to follow the traditional values and ethos of the tribal people in the state in order to preserve and protect our forests.”
“The value system and belief of the Khasi, Jaintia and Garo people needs to be restored if we want to protect the environment,” he said.
Morningstar Khongthaw, founder of the Living Bridge Foundation, known for maintaining living root bridges in Rangthylliang village in Pynursla said, “The need of the hour is to have a practical curriculum where students are hands-on when it comes to the study of the environment.”
“Students should be able to touch, see and grow plants and trees and not just read about them in a classroom,” he further said.
He added that spreading awareness in the state about the value of preserving living roots bridges through different traditional skill set and art form would help in securing “our heritage and culture”.
Nicholas J Kharnami, RJ and founder of Partners of Plaw Iew said, “We have lost our traditional values due to globalization and to take better care of nature and the environment it is important that we go back to our roots and value system.”
He suggested that economic activity of the people has to be taken into consideration to ensure sustainable livelihood and to protect the environment.
James Sangma stated that the Government is looking at bio patents for living root bridges in the state through a technology called Baubotanik. He also added that he is proposing the Government to introduce climate change curriculum in schools as he thinks the world is fast turning into a bio economy where sustainability will have to be the norm going forward.
“We are a young state and I am looking at this as an opportunity to reverse deforestation and turn this into a regenerative economy,” he highlighted.