The Centre for Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences (CEOAS), School of Physics, University of Hyderabad organised a one-day public outreach programme in the Appojiguda and Chandanagar villages, Monabadad Mandal. The programme aimed to foster community engagement and raise awareness of the pressing global issues of impacts of environmental and climate change on public health, agriculture and livestock, and also to spread sustainable development goals to the general public. This initiative sought to bridge the gap between academia and the local community. It served as a one-of-its-kind platform for sharing knowledge, expertise for promoting dialogue and inspiring collective action towards a sustainable future. The faculty of CEOAS, students of M.Sc., I.MSc and PhD scholars from CEOAS participated in this programme.
The outreach programme focused on communities whose livelihoods were directly influenced by environmental and climate change factors. The Centre successfully facilitated interactive sessions with the public, including farmers, school students, teachers, local administration and stakeholders. One of the prime themes of the outreach programme was to create climate change awareness, such as increasing temperatures, flash floods, lightning, droughts, and agriculture productivity. Comprehensive information about the causes, impacts, and mitigation strategies associated with climate change was disseminated. The academic community of CEOAS presented posters on various topics that covered diverse impacts of climate change on the local community, the importance of waste management, the importance of rainwater harvesting, extreme events preparedness etc. The Head of the Centre, Prof. M Jayananda interacted with the school students and delivered a talk on sustainable development. Prof. Chakravarthi, Dr Dandu Ramu, Dr Srilakshmi, Dr Kishore Kumar Grandhi, Dr S.K Parcha, Dr Aliba Ao conducted the essay writing and painting competitions for the school students. The students actively participated and prizes were distributed to the winners. Through informative presentations and discussions, the community members gained insights into the impacts of climate change on ecosystems, agriculture, water resources and livelihoods. Another integral component of the outreach programme was the exploration of the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The local communities were made aware of the global challenges and how to promote sustainable development and resilience.
Community members were given the opportunity to identify their local priorities and challenges and solutions were provided accordingly, thus making them agents of change. The programme also laid the foundation for ongoing collaboration between academia and the village communities, thus ensuring efforts to address sustainable development in the long term in the context of climate change.
The initiative by CEOAS, University of Hyderabad exemplifies the transformative potential of community engagement and education in tackling global challenges such as climate change and advancing towards sustainable development goals. Through collaborative efforts and shared commitment, academia and local communities can work together to build a more sustainable, resilient, and equitable future for all. Dr Kishore Kumar Grandhi has coordinated the public outreach program and public engagement with funding support from the Institute of Eminence (IoE), University of Hyderabad.