Three Ministers jointly flagged off the 9th phase of Science Express Climate Action Special (SECAS) from Safderjung Railway Station here today. While Minister of State (Independent Charge) of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Shri Anil Madhav Dave and Union Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Harsh Vardhan were present at the railway station, Union Railway Minister, Shri Suresh Prabhu, joined the flagging off event through videoconferencing.Addressing the gathering, Shri Dave said that in future, the Science Express should reach out to 6.5 lakh villages of the country. He emphasised that till the train is transformed into a peoples’ movement and a vehicle to motivate people to take individual actions and initiatives to fight climate change, it will not succeed in its endeavours on the ground and will only be reduced to becoming a point of discussions in seminars. “What should each individual do, what should the governments do, what should the society do, everyone’s role has to be determined”, Shri Dave pointed out. The Minister highlighted that transparency in work and every pie of taxpayer’s money must be utilized in the right measure and past efforts have to be continued to ensure that the money reaches the people.Minister of Railways Shri Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu said that Climate Change is a big threat for the mankind and we can tackle this through collaborative efforts. Under the leadership of the Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, India played a key role in initiating Climate Action Plan during Paris meet. He also said that Science Express will not just convey the message about climate change, but also generate dialogue and discussion on this burning issue. Science Express will embark on its journey of over 19000 km to cover 68 locations across India till September 8, 2017 and is expected to attract 30 lakh visitors. Climate Action Special will spread awareness on this key issue and augment our efforts to ensure a better future.
Speaking on the occasion, Dr Harsh Vardhan said that four more such trains must be run in the coming years to develop the train into an even bigger movement. The Minister also said that the importance of Climate Change can be gauged from the fact that it is the only theme that has been chosen for two consecutive years for Science Express. Recalling his visit to San Fransisco to represent India at two meetings on Mission Innovation and Clean Energy Ministerial last year, the Minister said that 21 big nations of the world acknowledged that led by the Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, India has taken unparalleled initiatives in the field of Clean Energy, Mission Innovation, or Climate Change and that India has the ability and the strength to lead the world. He added that the role of school students is most critical in making the Science Express a peoples’ movement. Recounting the statistics, the Minister said over 1.5 crore visitors and students from 33, 801 schools have visited the Science Express till now. The Minister also lauded the role and contribution of all departments and agencies at the Centre and States, as also the educators aboard the train in the running of Science Express.Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Shri Ajay Narayan Jha, Secretary, Department of Science & Technology, Shri Ashutosh Sharma, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Dr. Amita Prasad, Member, Railway Board, Shri Ravindra Gupta were among those present on the occasion. Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Shri Ajay Narayan Jha gave the welcome address and Additional Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Dr. Amita Prasad delivered the vote of thanks.
After today’s flagging off, the SECAS will be open for public viewing at Delhi Cantonment Railway Station on February 18-19, following which it will embark upon its journey across the country. SECAS II will run from February 17 to September 8, 2017 (See Schedule), over 19, 000 km during which it will be exhibited at 68 stations across India. The exhibition will convey a message about Climate Change and will also be a good opportunity to generate dialogue and discussion.At each halt of SECAS, activities are planned to engage visitors across different age groups to reinforce its message. An exciting and much sought-after Outreach Programme is also conducted in local schools/institutions, along with activities on the railway platforms. In addition, informative take-away material has been made available for wider distribution amongst schools and visitors.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.
The exhibition is open to all, but primarily targets students and teachers. More information is available on the website www.sciencexpress.in. For visit to the exhibition, an email can be sent to [email protected], or the team aboard the train can be contacted on 09428405407. School students can participate in the JOS Lab in small batches of up to 20 students, by prior registration.There is no entry fee for visiting the exhibition. Items such as mobiles, cameras, bags, match-boxes, cigarettes, beedis, tobacco, water bottles, any liquid, and any sharp/ pointed objects. During its run across the country, the Railway station of the respective city will be the venue for visiting the train. The timing for visiting the train is from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm.
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 Railways. This unique mobile exhibition was first launched in October 2007 by DST. Since then, it has made eight tours of the country, travelling about 1, 42, 000 km and exhibiting at 455 locations. Over its 1602 exhibition days, Science Express received an overwhelming response and 1.56 crore visitors. SECAS has become the largest, the longest running and the most visited mobile science exhibition.Climate Change is an important environmental issue, with many short-term and long term impacts. From shifting weather patterns that threaten food production, to rising sea levels that increase the risk of catastrophic flooding, the impacts of climate change are not just global in scope and unprecedented in scale but they also more severely affect the poor and marginalized people. However, there is very little understanding about climate change and its impacts. The state-of-the-art exhibition on board the SECAS aims to create awareness among various sections of society as to how climate change can be combated through mitigation and adaptation.Science Express, redesigned as SECAS, intends to contribute towards increasing understanding of the science of climate change, the observed and anticipated impacts, and different possible responses. The previous 3 phases of Science Express were rolled out as a joint initiative of DST and MoEFCC as ‘Biodiversity Special’ and showcased the myriad biodiversity of India. Thus it was rational to shift the focus to the theme of climate change, as it will affect the biodiversity of not just India but the entire globe as well.
Of the 16 coaches of SECAS, exhibitions in 8 coaches developed by MoEFCC. These exhibitions have been exclusively devoted to information, case studies and material related to various aspect of climate change, the underlying science, impacts, adaptation activities, mitigation solutions and policy approaches in a manner that is easy to understand and interesting for not just school students, but also the masses. Exhibits and activities have been put up by DST and DBT in other coaches.Science Express Phase I to IV showcased cutting-edge research in Science and Technology being carried out worldwide. Phase V to VII was based on the theme of biodiversity and as ‘Science Express Biodiversity Special (SEBS)’, it showcased the rich biodiversity of India and its conservation measures. Phase VIII as ‘Science Express Climate Action Special (SECAS)’ highlighted the global challenge of climate change.SECAS II is a unique collaborative initiative of Department of Science & Technology (DST), Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change (MoEFCC), Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Ministry of Railways and Vikram A Sarabhai Community Science Centre (VASCSC). MoEFCC has asked Wildlife Institute of India (WII) to make a contribution to the initiative.The Paris Agreement entered into force on November 4, 2016. The Paris Agreement’s central aim is to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change and to strengthen the ability of countries to deal with the impacts of climate change. The first session of the Conference of the Parties serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Paris Agreement (CMA-1) took place in Marrakech in November 2016. The Conference successfully demonstrated to the world that the implementation of the Paris Agreement is underway and the constructive spirit of multilateral cooperation on climate change continues.