Bathinda: The Dept. of Botany, Central University of Punjab, Bathinda (CUPB) celebrated World Environment Day by organizing a National Conference on Climate Change. The Chief Guest and Guest of Honour of this programme were Dr. Vandana Prasad, Director, Birbal Sahni Institute of Palaeosciences, Lucknow and Shri Manoj Chandran, IFS, Chief Conservator of Forests, Dehradun respectively. The Conference conducted in collaboration with the United Nations attracted 1492 participants from all over the country.
During the conference, Professor Raghavendra P. Tiwari, the Vice-Chancellor of the Central University of Punjab, opined that an effective way to address environmental problems of the 21st century is to bring sustainability to a personal level. Prof. Tiwari added that reducing carbon footprint to achieve carbon neutrality is a collective effort, and shifting responsibility to the government is not a solution for all the damages we are inflicting to our mother earth. He also highlighted the importance of afforestation and shared CUPB efforts done in this direction.
Speaking on this occasion Dr. Vandana Prasad, Director, Birbal Sahni Institute of Palaeosciences, Lucknow, spoke on ‘Climate Change: Evidence from past records’. She discussed various methods to study past climate and highlighted the importance of these proxies, including pollen grain analysis and study of tree rings to study the climate during the last 10,000 years, especially during various civilizational discourses like Harappan Civilization. Shri Manoj Chandran, IFS, Chief Conservator of Forests, Dehradun, spoke on ‘Ecosystem Restoration of Temperate Grasslands’. He highlighted how grass taxonomy and collection became his passion in life, although he is a forest administrator by profession and did not have any formal training in plant taxonomy. To date, his private collection includes more than 800 species of grasses from throughout the Indian subcontinent. He highlighted various environmental damages inflicted by ornamental grass species used in lawns introduced first by Britishers. Lawns not only demand copious amounts of freshwater but also does nothing to restore a damaged ecosystem. With bee populations on the steep decline everywhere globally, he highlighted the dire need to cultivate indigenous grass species.
An International Quiz was also conducted as part of this Conference in which participants attended 15 questions on the theme of environment. Ms. Vidhi Sharma (UP), Ms. Nirmala (Rajasthan) and Mr. Jayakrishnan V.M. (Kerala) won first, second and third prizes, respectively. Prof. Tiwari congratulated all the winners as well as the participants.
The programme commenced with the welcome address by Prof. R.K. Wusirika, Dean In-charge Academics. Dr. Felix Bast, HoD, Dept. of Botany conducted this programme. Faculty, scholars and students from different departments of the university also attended this National Conference.