The Interdisciplinary Studies (IS) curriculum on Sustainability introduces undergraduate students to a social-ecological systems (SES) perspective of sustainability. Along with engaging in theoretical concepts, students are required to engage with the sustainability of SES in the real world around them.
As part of the minor curriculum, students undertake a three-week faculty-guided field practice aimed at enabling students to get exposure to addressing sustainability challenges in its integrated social and ecological dimensions.
In May 2022, this field practice component was facilitated by the Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and Environment (ATREE) at their community conservation centres situated in Agasthyamalai in Tamil Nadu and Vembanad in Kerala. During the field practice, students were required to reflect and record daily, in a field journal, their learnings from the Field in connection to concepts learned in class.
Later, a writing workshop was conducted by Krishna Anujan, an ecologist and environmental writer. During this workshop with Krishna, the students used the entries from their field journals and wrote popular pieces on topics of interest.
Five of these pieces will be published by Nature inFocus over the next few weeks which cover a range of interesting topics — from clam collectors in Vembanad to religion and ecology in Agasthyamalai, disappearing fireflies, mudpuddling by butterflies, and more.
Where are all the fireflies?
Sharda CSR, an ecologist and student, Azim Premji University, in Nature inFocus, ruminates about the bioluminescent insects and the reasons for their drastic population decline.
Fixing the nitrogen cycle
From waging wars for natural nitrogen to producing it artificially, humanity has a complicated history and a worrisome future with this element, writes Harshada R, student, Azim Premji University, in Nature inFocus.
Can religious beliefs aid in conservation?
Aarya Patil, a young conservationist and student, Azim Premji University, in Nature inFocus, compares and contrasts two scenarios where religion played a role in the proliferation and deterioration of the natural world.
A forest in a city
Aadya Thammaiah, a young ecologist and student, Azim Premji University, shares the field diary of her visit to a manmade rainforest in the city of Alappuzha, Kerala, in Nature inFocus.
The clam collectors of Vembanad lake
Ria Sojan, student, Azim Premji University, explores in Nature inFocus, a large community on the shores of Kerala’s Vembanad Lake that depends on black clams for its livelihood. Is there a future for these bivalves and their earnest harvesters?