New Delhi, Oct 8 (UNI) With Doordarshan as its mentor, Earth Matters has been successful in reaching rural audiences bringing about wide public awareness and educating the masses, says Mike Pandey, winner of India's prestigious Rajiv Gandhi Wildlife Conservation Award.
''Doordarshan as the national channel has a vast outreach with about 850 million viewers across 150 countries. With such vast reach out, Earth Matters has been most powerful and effective public interest series in India and has been successful in reaching rural audience bringing about wide public awareness and educating the masses.'' According to Mr Pandey, Doordarshan has a value based and dedicated time slot for telecasting wildlife programmes. Similarly, all channels should contribute by broadcasting such public interest programmes like wildlife, environment and climate change. Not only should they contribute by having a time slot for the same but should also give such messages in their popular serials watched by thousands of viewers.
Earth Matters, an interactive programme on environment and wildlife, receives 2800 letters per episode from audience ranging from seven-year-olds to teachers to professors. Adding a feather to the cap is the fact that the programme receives letters from jail inmates in Ambala and Rajasthan besides viewers as far off as Saudi Arabia and North Africa.
Speaking about the popularity of the programme, Mr Pandey told UNI ''Presently there are about 120 Earth Matters clubs all over India.
The channel also receives constant demand from schools and colleges for copies of the programme since it provides people with relevant information in a way they understand.'' Presently he is working on six episodes on climate change which will be telecast on Earth Matters. The episodes focus on climate change and agriculture, climate change and melting glaciers, climate change and health, climate change and coastal communities and adaptation to climate change.
Emphasising on the need to educate the masses, Mr Pandey said ''Education is needed where it matters the most - the rural areas.
Metro cities do not constitute India. Their is need for such programmes that are filling the vacuum on a crucial issue of environment and wildlife." Describing Earth Matters as a thoroughly researched programme, which is its main strength, Mr Pandey said, ''When people see, it gets imprinted in their minds and leaves an impact. It is more like a visual educational tool.'' ''It is one of the most powerful programme as it fulfills an unearthing need of providing information about wildlife and environment. Climate change is a global trend and there is a need to show and sensitise people on how they can make a difference by changing their lifestyles. Its about all of us.'' Recently British Council had introduced scholarships for six films on climate change with which Mr Pandey was associated. These films will be shown in rural as well as urban areas on various channels.
Mr Pandey's outstanding contribution in the field of environment and wildlife conservation through his hard hitting films such as ''Shores of Silence - Whale Sharks'', ''Vanishing Giants'' and the latest ''The Vanishing Vultures'' have not only sensitised the masses towards wildlife but have also been responsible to bring about legislations in the country.
Mike Pandey is the only Indian to have won three Green Oscars in addition to a host of prestigious International and National Awards.
Now, with the Rajiv Gandhi Wildlife Conservation Award, he feels very honoured and motivated to carry on making more environmental films to sensitise the masses.
''I am humbled and moved by this recognition. I feel honoured that my country has selected me for this award. It provides great motivation to carry on working with greater responsibility,'' said Mr Pandey.
''The award comes as a recognition that my work has been able to make a difference, for which a lot of credit goes to the environment and wildlife series Earth Matters being telecast on Doordarshan.'' As the presenter and director of the series Earth Matters, he takes the viewers on a journey across India looking at some of the biggest issues that are facing the planet and the human race at the same time looking at the many wonders that nature has.