India: Teaching botanical love

?Unscrupulous exploitation of natural resources and the environment degrades the quality of life; it destroys cultures and sinks the poor in misery? (GC34, Decree on Justice). The Madurai Province sponsors first class research at the Rapinat Herbarium of Tiruchirapalli, the most important centre for botanical studies in Tamil Nadu; the results are published twice a year in the bulletin ?Shola?. This research is also used at the Anglade Institute of Natural History in its ?green ministry? of popular education courses. Situated at 2000 metres in the Pallni Mountains, the Institute offers free three day courses on environmental themes. Over 16 years, more than 50,000 people have taken part, including students, teachers, peasants and tribals, or indigenous peoples, who are today the custodians of the forest. The participants see the riches of the virgin forest close up, but also face its exploitation and its destruction, and learn methods for better use of the soil. All come to love the botanical heritage of the region. ?We need to promote attitudes and policies which will create responsible relationships to the environment of our shared world, of which we are only the stewards? (Decree on Justice). [HL00204]