Taking Sustainability Thinking to Schools


Wipro’s Earthian initiative reinforces its belief that if change is to be accelerated, it should start from schools. Three years in operation since 2011, Earthian has so far involved thousands of schools across India in not just talking about the merits of sustainable living, but through inter-school competition, it is able to engage students through intense projects.

Anurag Behar, Chief Sustainability Officer at Wipro and CEO for Azim Premji Foundation & Vice Chancellor, Azim Premji University says: “We started thinking of a program by which we can engage with young people and that’s what the Earthian is about. It’s been quite an extraordinary journey; it’s our deep commitment to move towards better education and a sustainable world.”

In the first edition, nearly 1000 schools and colleges participated in writing a critical paper on one among different sustainability themes. Twenty entries are selected for a more comprehensive engagement to run over a three year cycle.

The second edition in 2012 went international with schools in Europe and the Americas taking part. The third edition took up water as its theme. The teams in over 600 schools were required to carry out a series of interesting activities around the measurement of water demand and water quality. Drawing from their empirical observations, the teams then got down to writing a paper that blended actual data with conceptual articulation on the challenges of water and its inter-linkages with the other dimensions of climate change, agriculture and biodiversity.

Designed jointly with a network of its partners, Earthian involves students and teachers in a varied set of learning activities: measuring the ecological footprint of school campuses, outbound learning about forest ecology and communities, place-based learning. The model uses the ‘Theater-in-Education’ approach to internalize sustainability learning.

Wipro has also launched an internship platform for the winning colleges that seeks to develop meaningful summer internship projects in areas like water, forests and product life-cycle analysis. It intends to expand this program in scope and scale.

Earthian tries to break new ground through experiential learning by tapping into the passion and interest of Wipro employees who volunteer as mentors for schools in their areas. It hopes Earthian creates a quiet revolution, ushering in changes in thinking and mindsets as well as in actions and behaviors.

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