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What is 2041? 2041 is an initiative founded by Sir Robert Swan, the first person in history to walk to both, the North and South Poles. With a mission to preserve Antarctica as the only spot untouched by industrialization and commercialization, Sir Robert Swan is promoting the use of renewable energy and sustainable development. The fact that this site talks about protecting the environment did not attract me as much as did the fact that there are still some people who truly care. Strongly attracted by its purpose, I wanted to help contribute to its cause.

2041 Project in India The project in India is to do with the Educational-Base (E-Base) located in Pench Tiger Reserve, Madhya Pradesh. The Pench Tiger Reserve consists of more than 750 sq. km. of land, creating the wild and natural habitat for the animals. It is famous for having the highest number of tigers in a sanctuary in India, while being home to many other animals such as ‘Gaur’ (Indian Bison), Langur, Sambar Deer, and many others. It is a prime spot for tourism and is encompassed by an air of natural beauty.

E-Base in India Sir Robert Swan wanted this initiative to proliferate on a global scale, improving conditions of countries all over the world. Amongst countries in North America, Europeand Africa, India is a country where there are massive changes taking place in the hope of a brighter future. With support from the Ashok Piramal

Group and the Wildlife Conservation Trust, Sir Robert Swan inaugurated the E-Base in Pench on 21st November. This E-Base is just like the one set up in Antarctica by Sir Robert Swan. Powered completely on renewable energy, this E-Base educates children about their environment. In their aim to accomplish their mission to promote sustainable development, this E-Base is located amidst the natural beauty in the education centre of the Pench Tiger Reserve. Conducting workshops once every month, the Pench E-Base hopes to become the education hub for locals regarding sustainable development for a brighter future.

Workshop 1: Renewable Energy I attended my first workshop in December 2011. This was 2041’s second workshop and so was on the topic of ‘Renewable Energy’. Since it was my first workshop, I was introduced to the workers of 2041 and the way the workshops were conducted. It was a great learning experience as I was able to extend my love of interacting with students of all ages.

The workshops were intended to not teach the students but rather to empower the students. It started off, with us informing the students about the basics of renewable energy – what renewable energy is; what its sources are; how does it help in this world, etc. After this we made them participate in physical activities such as winding springs to make toys work, lighting a small bulb by rotating a windmill, etc.

These activities helped the students learn about renewable energy from a hands on perspective.

Workshop 2: Solar Energy My second workshop for 2041 was on ‘Solar Energy’ and was conducted in January 2012. This was a twoday workshop where students from nearby schools were informed about solar energy as a prominent form of renewable energy. Through diagrams, charts and videos, the students also obtained a better idea of the practical use of solar energy.

The structure of this workshop saw the students learn about the use and importance of solar energy in modern times. After teaching them the basics, the students were made to complete some worksheets on solar energy, which were then given to their school-teachers.

After their worksheets were completed, the children followed me to the open field with their eyes closed. To show them the practical use of solar energy, we brought a solar panel bowered battery connected to a lamp. Having been in the field and obtained enough sunlight to convert into energy, the lamp lit up slowly, as the students opened their eyes, This demonstration fascinated the students greatly and showed them the use of solar energy. No pollution, no odour, no possibility of clothes catching fire, solar panels are a great source of energy, especially for villagers.

Workshop 3: Biodiversity Conservation After a fairly long break from my 2041 workshop in January, my third workshop was held in June 2011. By now, we had set up a fair connection with the schools and students who attended the workshops. This workshop on ‘Insects’ was part of a series of workshops on Biodiversity Conservation and was aimed to inform them more about their immediate surroundings.

Since this was a topic that the students and villagers already knew about, the workshop was attended to in large numbers. The workshop taught the students about the role insects play in our environment, from decomposing to generating nutrients; important things without which the world would not function.

The most interesting part of this workshop was the activity where the students had to find plastic insects hidden amongst others outside in the open. After a while spent running around looking for insects, the students sat down and saw live insects that we had captured.

Workshop 4: Pollution We often hear about how rural areas are non-polluted with a clear blue sky. However, this particular village, situated near many refineries and plants, is an unfortunate victim of pollution. To inform them about the transitions their environment was going through, the topic for my fourth workshop in July 2012 was ‘Pollution’.

Unlike the other workshops, this one was conducted outside in the open field. Although suffering from pollution, the students realized how clean their air was as compared to the air in urban cities, as they were shown images of different cities.After the slideshow and the presentation informing the students about the differences, we went for a trek to a part of the Reserve. The trek initiated discussions which helped the students realize the important of a clean and green environment.