Dr. Ravi Rajan of University of California (USA) Teaches TERI University Students the Science of Calculating Risks in the Environment
He encouraged the TERI U fraternity to research methods of risk mitigation in areas like erosion of biodiversity, critical bio-diverse zones under threat and climate change.
New Delhi (I-Newswire) October 1, 2013 - A casual visitor to TERI University is quite likely to bump into some subject expert or another from some well-known foreign university or the other. These visiting professors are invited to TERI University to conduct specialized modules for different departments. The best part is that, thanks to the concept of institutional seminars, a student studying/ researching in other disciplines also gets the opportunity to interact with these luminaries. The 4th of September 2013 provided precisely such an opportunity to everybody on the TERI University campus. Dr. Ravi Rajan of the Department of Environmental Studies, University of California, Santa Cruz, USA, who is currently on sabbatical as a senior research fellow at the National University of Singapore, spoke to students on the intriguing subject of 'Risk, Environment, and Society'. A visiting Senior Fellow at TERI University, Dr. Rajan is currently conducting a 4-week MDP on the same subject at TERI U.
To get the ball rolling, Dr. Ravi Rajan spoke briefly about some aspects of the classical approach to environmental risk management and the problems of implementation of the risk paradigm. What immediately struck a chord with the audience was the way Dr. Rajan went about calculating environmental 'risks' and his scientific approach to risk mitigation. My main aim is to encourage students to work on filling the gap between policy and research," elaborated Dr. Rajan on the outline of the MDP he was conducting. "There are some critical issues pertaining to pollution and disaster management which haven't been researched. These issues can be systematically addressed in a logical manner using science and probability estimates, in sync with policy makers.
Dr. Rajan thinks that public policy is essentially a trade-off between climate change and complex systems; it cannot be made without dialogue, and should not be implemented without the consent of the local communities. As expected, during the Q&A session, most questions by the students of TERI U were related to environmental issues in the Indian context. When asked to assess the current Indian ecosystem on risk mitigation on a scale of 1 to 10 - (1 being the least and 10 being maximum), Professor Rajan quickly responded with a 3.
"A policy vacuum, slippage in government commitment, thrust of economic development, encroachment of prime ecological zones, mining lobbies, illegal practices and lack of enforcement of laws... the list is quite long in the Indian context. India's situation is among the worst in the world; and though India had the potential to emerge as a superpower, the poor protection of biodiversity and food security has caused this backlog. Ecological illiteracy is a risk that India should be concerned about. Starting from the primary level to higher education, ecological literacy must be enforced to ensure sensitivity towards the environment and risk awareness."
He encouraged the TERI U fraternity to research methods of risk mitigation in areas like erosion of biodiversity, critical bio-diverse zones under threat and climate change. This seminar, though short, was a very interesting one," said student Girish Varma, Environmental Studies and Resource Management (ESRM), TERI University. "It introduced us to a largely unexplored field of study of risks that potentially accompanies a new process introduced in a system."
"It was an issue I hadn't really thought about in detail earlier," added student Yamini Srivastava, Environmental Studies and Resource Management (ESRM), TERI University. "But the talk by Dr. Rajan brought to light the nuances of risks related to public health and other issues. I am looking forward to the course and hope that I get to utilise this opportunity to learn more about it."
The course that Dr. Rajan is conducting has commenced just a couple of days ago at TERI University and is an extended MDP, open to academicians and practitioners in the broad domains of environment and development.
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Published On:October 1, 2013
Print Release:Print Release
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