Environment activist Honoured

SYED MIRAZ AHMED of Guwahati honoured with the Rotary Young Achiever Award 2013

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Syed Miraz Ahmed, a content developer, poet, photographer, online journalist, environment activist and a research associate with the Centre for Development and Peace Studies- Guwahati was honoured with the Rotary Young Achiever Award 2013 on Saturday September 28 along with ten others as an appreciation for his work in the area of environment and sustainability activisim using technology and media and secondly for promoting the genre of Citizen Journalism & New Media by demystifying technology.

It is evident that Climate Change is a big challenge and bigger is its humanitarian implication in the growing economies like that of India. A huge information and knowledge deficit exists in the areas of environment and climate change. Despite a very vibrant media and advancing technological platforms, the space available for humanitarian issues, most critical, like health, education, livelihood and environment- is alarmingly limited- both in television and in the mobile media.

With an overarching focus on environment and climate change awareness primarily among the youth he involved in a strategic, constructive pilot affiliate intervention programme with the Television for the Environment and Television Trust for the Environment (an independent, international not-for-profit media organization founded in 1984 by Central Television, UNEP and WWF in the United Kingdom popularly known by its collective name tve) in bridgeing the informational gaps that exist in the urban climes among school, college and university students under the programme ‘Community Screenings for Environment Awareness’. 

Ahmed screened several impactful documentary films on Climate Change and Sustainability funded by UNEP, WWF and other major donors for school, college and university students in Guwahati in an attempt to educate people through the medium of films. He engaged the audience post screenings in dialogues and discussions on the prevailing issues of environment and humanitarian concerns affecting Assam in particular. The discussions also involved teachers, academicians and visiting resource persons. Few films that deserve mention are Changing Climate: The Science, Changing Climates: The Politics, Changing Climates: The Future, Damning the Mekong, Green Fish, Hands On: Green Currents, Blue Sky Dreaming, Pulp Aid, Still Waters and Mobile Harvest- India. The second expanded phase of this direct reach approach of environment activisim is due in a few months time.

Citizen Journalism has succored in creating a space for itself beside traditional media. While basic methods of news writing applied in citizen journalism news writing are same as that of traditional news writing; the only thing that most strikingly differs and creates a niche for itself is the speed with which the news is delivered. Since the platform on which Citizen Journalism functions is the Internet, with the use of ultra modern media tools (New Media) for the collection and dissemination of news items, information can be out for public view much before the television 'breaking news' phenomena and catchy news paper headlines the day next.

Ahmed's association with the Assam Times Foundation offer him ample opportunity to advocate Citizen Journalism & New Media by training and informing commoners, students, working professionals from diverse backgrounds, non-governmental organizations, community based organizations and even journalists of North East India about the conviniences that technology provides under normal circumstances and even during times of conflict for the collection and dissemination of news for the expansive media space that exists.

The half day event titled Celebrating the spirit of the New Generationheld in keeping with the Rotary International theme at the ITA Centre, Machkhowa had thirty participating youth who spoke about their vision of India under the theme Youth Speak: How I want my India to be in 2025.The session was judged by Dhruba Jyoti Hazarika, Secy, Tourism and Dr. Tondra Borbora, Lecturer. Present in the programme as Chief Guest was the General Manager of the State Bank of India (Local Head Office), Mahendra Aditya Sahu.

To inspire the audience with their experiences were the Tarun Saikia-Manish Deka duo (who scaled the Mount Everest), Rituraj Phukan (General Secretary, Nature's Green Guard Organization who visited the Antartica to gain firsthand knowledge of the vagaries of Climate Change) and the brigade of Young Achievers representing various fields who were awarded for their contribution to the society through their vocations.

The event also featured several rounds of cultural extravaganza on the theme: Empowering the New Generation that enthralled the audience present.