Union Government flags off "Science Express Climate Action Special" : The largest on-wheel climate change awareness programme

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Ahead of crucial climate change summit which is to be held in Paris the Union government has flagged off  'Science Express Climate Action Special' (SECAS) from Delhi as part of its initiative to sensitize the masses, especially children and the youth, about the issue of climate change.

Union Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Shri Prakash Javadekar, Union Minister of Railway, Shri Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu and Union Minister of Department of Science and Technology, Dr Harsh Vardhan flagged off the train from Safderjung Railway Station.

Facts about "Science Express Climate Action Special"

  • The Science Express Climate Action Special will travel across the country, covering about 19, 500 kms, initially for about eight months, halting at 64 locations in about 20 states.
  • Some of the prominent cities that the Express will halt at include – Jaisalmer, Patiala, Ambala Cantt, Pathankot, Haridwar, Allahabad, New Jalpaiguri, Bilaspur, Vishakhapatnam, Rajamundhry, Secunderabad, Rameshwaram, Palakkad, Nizamabad, Valsad and Gandhinagar.
  • Three coaches of the Science Express have their electricity supplied from flexible solar power panels installed overhead of these coaches. Through each of such solar powered coaches, 1700 litres of diesel can be saved per year and if these techniques are adopted, 100 million litres of diesel can be saved by the Railways every year.
  • “Science Express” is an innovative mobile science exhibition mounted on a 16-coach AC train, which has been custom-built for Department of Science & Technology (DST) by Indian Railway. The train would cover specific topics like adaptation, mitigation, India’s action on mitigation, international climate change negotiations, nature conservation, innovations in India, science lab, biotechnology applications and others.
  • The Science Express—a joint initiative of the ministry of environment, forests and climate change (MoEFCC), the ministry of railways and the ministry of science and technology—has had an eight-year run.The unique mobile expo was launched in October 2007 by  Department of Science & Technology (DST) and since then it has travelled about 122, 000 kms across India in seven phases of 6-7 months duration each.
  • More than 1.33 crore (13.3 million) people, primarily students and teachers have visited “Science Express”.  It has thus become the largest, the longest running and the most visited mobile science exhibition in India. 
  • Last year it's theme was  “Biodiversity of India” in which it showcased the myriad “Biodiversity of India” but this year the theme has been shifted to  “Climate Change” as it will affect the biodiversity of not just India, but the entire globe as well.
  • Science Express Climate Action Special (SECAS) running across the country will sensitise people among various sections of the society, especially youth, students and teachers on how Climate Change can be combated through mitigation and adaptation
  • The exhibition will convey a strong message about Climate Change and will also be a good opportunity to generate dialogue and discussion on the impact of Climate Change and possible strategies on mitigation and adaptation for enhancing sustainability of India’s development path.

The broad themes covered in each exhibition coach are as follows:-

  • Coach 1:- Understanding Climate Change -Insights in the climate as a system, the greenhouse gas effect and the underlying reasons for climate change with key message that the current change in the climate is due to human activities.
  • Coach 2:- Impact of Climate Change -How temperature rise, monsoon variations, sea level rise are predicted to affect vital sectors like water, agriculture, forests and biodiversity, and human health and ways to reduce these.
  • Coach 3&4:- Adaptation -Concepts of adaptation and examples from day to day life, adaptation strategies and stories from field. Adaptation options in urban and rural contexts and the adaptation actions India is taking.
  • Coach 5 & 6:- Mitigation -Concept and definition with examples, emphasis on restoring balance, enhancing sinks and reducing emission through Renewable Energy (RE) technologies. Various programmes implemented by India and low carbon strategies and ambitious goal to increase RE footprint.
  • Coach 7:- International Negotiations on Climate Change-Introduction to UNFCCC, IPCC and internationally agreed action &targets. Explaining concept of equity and common but differential responsibility, Kyoto protocol & other key outcomes of major COP, etc.
  • Coach 8:- Handprint -What can one do at school, on roads, at home and in offices and focus on concept of lifestyle choices with the key message 'Increase your Handprint. Decrease your Footprint'.
  • Coach 9&10:- Exhibition put up by the Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Government of India, covering themes like Biotechnology for bio-resources and nature conservation with emphasis on Tiger Conservation and Chemical Ecology and India's research and development initiatives in field of Biotechnology.
  • Coach 11:- Exhibition put up by the National Innovation Foundation (NIF) showcasing select innovations, demonstrating the ingenuity of common people and an innovative project which uses augmented reality techniques. Exhibition on themes like Innovations in S&T, Science Education, DST Scholarships & Schemes, Careers in S&T, etc.
  • Coach 12:- A Kids Zone is set up for children from Std. 4 and below to participate in fun-filled activities, games and puzzles in science, mathematics and environment.
  • Coach 13:- The Joy of Science (JOS) Hands-on Lab in this coach is a space where students from Std. 5-10 can perform experiments and activities to understand concepts in environment, science and mathematics in an interesting manner. A training facility is also set up for orientation of teachers here.

 For the first time, solar panels have been installed on the roof top of coaches 11-13, which is a collaborative effort of DST and Central Electronics Limited (CEL).DST has entrusted Vikram A Sarabhai Community Science Centre (VASCSC), Ahmedabad, with the task of managing the SECAS across India. VASCSC's team of qualified, trained and highly motivated Science Communicators travelling with the train explain and interpret the exhibition, answers queries, facilitate the visitors and conduct complementary activities.


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