SrushtiAnkur (EcoBuds) Activities

Hearing the call of the Lord of History for serving and protecting His creation, our Mother Earth, SrushtiAnkur (EcoBuds), ‘Budding Friends of Nature’ since 2016, is engaged with awareness building among the youth especially the students and masses and creating public opinion on the various environmental issues. The modus operandi is working together with organizations and civil society groups by building alliances and networking on issues such as CRZ violations, SEZs, Land grab, excesses of extractive industries and three linear projects at the eco-fragile western ghats.

Awareness workshops and sessions on Eco-spirituality were given to more than 40 schools in Goa. Seminars and workshops were conducted for various groups to bring about awareness among the masses and especially the young minds about the relationship and the reconciliation we need to have with the creation. `We are encouraging the schools to establish eco-clubs and wherever the eco-clubs are established we are helping them to operationalize and activate the clubs by going beyond the token activities undertaken in the schools like vanamohatsavas. The students have shown considerable interest to be part of SrushtiAnkur

(EcoBuds) a green programme.

(EcoBuds) a green programme. The sessions were primarily given to the X Std students on Eco-consciousness and then the schools were provided with SrushtiAnkur programme for the year with specific environmental activity for each month from June to January and finally the environmental audit in the month of February.

Various campaigns were carried out through Social media on the eco-friendly celebrations of festivals and celebration of the World Environment Day. The response from the students was quite good in following the eco-friendly norms and spreading the awareness. Children adopted trees and plants as their siblings and friends and tied rakhis to trees and celebrated Rakshabandhan in a unique way. Children also had awareness on eco-friendly Naagpanchami, Ganesh Chaturthi, Diwali, Christmas & Holi. Children from various supplementary learning centres prepared greeting cards on Ganesh Chaturthi. Some of them also prepared clay idols of Lord Ganesha which are environment friendly. Eco-friendly Diwali celebrations without bursting fire crackers was supported and promoted by the EcoBuds across the State of Goa.

Alternative Energy Initiatives in the Province

Alternative Energy Initiatives in Goa Province

As part of the Goa Province Ecological Proposal in 2016, responding to the need of having models to showcase to the students and general public to promote alternative energy, Sch. Nigel Alphonso chipped in with his technical expertise to install solar panels at St. Britto Jesuit Residence and then in St. Britto High School to take a step forward with the SWADES Green Initiatives. The newly installed solar power plant at St. Britto High School powers the school computer laboratory of 42 computers, fans and lights along with the new pre-primary building. A live model for the students to see and learn.

To begin with, there are no more power cuts that cause a big hindrance to the computer classes and more importantly, half the school’s daily power consumption is taken care of through solar power that is free and most of all renewable, hence good for mother earth. There are a lot of individuals and groups approaching us now for consultations and guidance. Some of them have gone ahead with this alternative green model. We are encouraging various Jesuit communities in the Province to go green too.

Loyola School Margao Goa - Solar Panels

This is replicated at Loyola High School, Margaon and then through group metering we have connected Pedro Arrupe, Institute, Raia, Jesuit House, Panjim and Loyola Hall Mirarmar. The panels are installed at Raia. Subsequently the project was replicated at St. Paul’s Institutions, Belgaum and Xavier Training College, Desur-Belgaum. More recently Xavier Centre of Historical Research at Porvorin-Goa is also brought under the Alternative power generation. Fr. Shawn D’Souza has started a course on Solar Technologies at St. Xavier’s Technical College, Khanapur to train the school and college dropouts.

SrushtiAnkur (EcoBuds) in Belgaum

Walking with the Excluded

We have reached the other parts of the Province especially conducting EcoBuds seminars and workshops in Belgaum since 2022. Ever since I have been transferred to Belgaum from June 2023, we had series of programmes conducted for the students during the course of the year in Belgaum and some schools in Goa.

On July 5, 2023, St. Paul’s Institutions in Belgaum organised “Walking with the Excluded” event to commemorate the second death anniversary of Fr. Stan Swamy. Students and staff from St. Joseph’s Canossian Convent High School, Divine Providence Convent High School, and St. Paul’s P.U.College performed skits, mimes, dance dramas, and songs along with the cabinet members of St. Paul’s High School with powerful messages on care of environment and justice for the excluded depicting relationship between Jal. Jungle & jameen with the marginalised.

The feast of St. Igantius our founder was celebrated keeping the environmental concerns to be addressed. The Ignatian theme, ‘Finding God in All things and All things in God’ was chosen so that the two Universal Apostolic Preferences of showing the way to God and the sacredness of creation where God’s immanence and transcendence nature and our responsibility of not harming the creation any more was depicted by the children of our Institutions through a short video named God’s presence and the care of our common home.

Eco-friendly Rakshabandhan

Eco-friendly Rakshabandhan

At St. Paul’s, the students are encouraged to celebrate festivals in an eco-friendly manner, and thus, our journey began with “Vruksha Raksha Bandhan,” a special initiative coined by our Eco Buds. Vruksha Raksha Bandhan is a unique tribute to the vital role trees play in our lives. Tying rakhi on trees is a simple yet profound gesture, symbolizing our profound connection with nature.

Our rakhis are handcrafted using natural materials like cotton, jute, or wool, alongside seeds and grains, steering clear of synthetic and plastic elements. A rice batter paste serves as an eco-friendly adhesive, aligning with our sustainable values. The essence lies in fortifying the bond between the human and plant worlds, highlighting our interdependence with Mother Nature and all of creation. We’ve encouraged students from diverse schools and colleges to adopt trees as their siblings, celebrating with their own handmade recycled rakhis.

This unique festivity deepens our connection with the environment we coexist with. Traditionally, Raksha Bandhan celebrates the bond between siblings. At SrushtiAnkur, we extend this beautiful bond to encompass the entire creation, especially Mother Earth. Our students and staff wholeheartedly crafted eco-friendly rakhis, symbolizing their love for the flora and fauna that sustain us.

Preparing eco-friendly rakhis

Though all the units of the St. Paul’s Institutions celebrated the Rakshabandhan in an eco-friendly way, there were about 200 participants, both students and parents from different schools and States who engaged themselves in preparing eco-friendly rakhis and submitted pictures and video clips of this unique celebrations. We at EcoBuds celebrate all the major festivals in an eco-friendly way. Through write ups, video clips and inviting students to participate in various competitions, we create awareness among the students and general masses and urge them to be environment friendly especially while celebrating these festivals.

Eco-spirituality seminars and workshops

Eco-spirituality seminars and workshops are conducted for various groups from all walks of life. Besides conducting sessions on Eco-spirituality to students from different schools both in Belgaum and Goa, a group of sisters from Saligaon, Goa got themselves through a five days course on Eco-spirituality in the month of December 2023. They have registered themselves as EcoBuds to carry the activities across the country in their schools and in other apostolic endeavours.

PARYAVARUN : A Marathon of Impact for a Greener Tomorrow

PARYAVARUN : A Marathon of Impact for a Greener Tomorrow

Inspired by the green initiatives of St. Paul’s Institutions, the Parents-teachers association came forward to organise a Run named Paryavarun on January 28, 2024 for raising awareness about promoting environmental consciousness under the theme “Go Green.”

With over 2300+ participants, the event showcased outstanding achievements, recognizing winners across various categories with T-shirts, Medals, and Recognition Certificates. The event was telecast live on the social media sites of St. Paul’s Institutions. This was the first time a marathon was organised for students from various categories along with their parents and general public.

Formation of Xavier Retreat House Eco Spirituality Group

Formation of Xavier Retreat House Eco Spirituality Group

Recently the plant lovers and nature enthusiasts from diverse backgrounds came together at Xavier Retreat House, Baga-Goa to be part of the discussion and interaction on Eco-conciousness and how we can oprationalise it by contributing towards a green XRH campus.

Marking a significant step towards this Eco-initiative, XRH, Baga together with SrushtiAnkur organised Eco-Spirituality workshops on two weekends in the month of March 2024. Over 55 active participants from Goa and neighboring States convened at the sprawling sea-facing campus in Baga. Facilitated by the Jesuit Fathers, the sessions delved into the connection between spirituality and ecology, urging participants of all faiths to contemplate their relationship with the natural world.

Fr. Simon, a prominent advocate for environmental conservation, spearheaded interactive discussions on human-nature interconnectedness. His insights illuminated the imperative of nurturing harmonious bonds with the environment. In view of the coming elections, the group got together and prepared a Manifesto-People’s charter of demands as a sign of the citizen -centric democracy. Among the many points, Environment and Sustainable Development was highlighted. The manifesto will be taken to the contesting candidates to accept the people’s demands enshrined in the manifesto and endorse the same.

First Eco-spirituality workshop held at XRH Baga Goa