About the sustainable handprint
“Through our actions, we add substance and vigour to the quest for sustainable living.”
- The Ahmedabad Declaration 2007: A Call to Action, 4th ICEE
Excessive consumption of natural resources and unsustainable lifestyles are consistently increasing the pressure on biosphere. Human impact on the Earth has tripled since 1961 and our human footprint now exceeds the planet’s capability of regeneration by about 25 percent. (“Ecological Footprint is a resource management tool that measures how much land and water area a human population requires to produce the resources it consumes and to absorb its wastes under prevailing technology” ). For last 20 years humans are consuming the natural resources faster than they can be renewed. To avoid irreversible damage the consumption rate should reduce to balance the Earth’s capacity to regenerate and absorb waste. The unsustainable trends need to be stopped and we need to change our lifestyles along with development models to ensure sustainable future.
It is vital that we instigate change in order to improve living standards of all and reduce the impact on planet. Choices that we make now will shape our opportunities in future and those of future generations. Technologies to lighten human footprint exists and newer and better models will follow. But availability of alternative models and vision for sustainable future is not enough, what we need is ‘action’. Education is a key driver to achieve this transformation. Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) encourages a shift from viewing education as a delivery mechanism to a lifelong, holistic and inclusive learning process. ESD not only creates awareness but also builds capacity and decision making ability of a community. ESD calls for action!
Handprint is a measure of ESD action; action that is directed to decrease the human footprint and make the world more sustainable. Handprint is a new tool being developed by Centre for Environment Education (CEE), India to help measure action at different levels. One needs to ask what one does at individual, community, national and global level. The handprint analyses positive impact on the three aspects of sustainability:
environment, society and economy. Various questions cover each aspect, investigating on amongst others your use of resources, your social engagement and your awareness of sustainable investments. While the footprint is the negative effect you leave on global resources, handprint is your positive efforts towards sustainability.
The Handprint concept reflects the spirit of the 4th International Conference on Environmental Education (ICEE) and the commitment to action towards sustainable development. The concept embraces the conference recommendations and will carry forward the spirit of hope, enthusiasm and commitment to action. It will guide the various ongoing and new initiatives of CEE. The concept is at the nascent stage with immense potential to growth.
Sharing the story behind Handprint Logo
It is Srija's hand that shapes the sustainable handprint's logo. Srija, visiting the Holy Mary School in Hyderabad , Andhra Pradesh (AP), gave her handprint when she was participating in a project of the CEE AP, involving taking action for sustainability. She was 10 years at that time. Sirja, who inspired this idea, like many million other children, needs to live in a world that is more sustainable. Every action towards sustainability can count towards creating a better world for all to live in.