My mother had completed a course of growing vegetables and other fruits for kitchen use and I always wanted to learn that because I knew the ones sold in the market contain a lot of pesticides to make grow faster and look bigger. However not everyone was aware of this, hence I decided to tell my neighbours about this also. But due to their busy lives and work schedule, they did not have time for planting them. So I decided to grow mint and tulsi plants for them as they as most commonly used.
Why did I choose to plant tulsi as my CAS activity:-
I wanted to learn how to plant as I was very curious about it
I will be able to learn something new
I can help others around me and my family to live a healthier lifestyle
The learning outcomes I met were:
L2 Demonstrate that challenges have been undertaken, developing new skills in the process-
As I am in 12th grade academics takes up most of my time at home and my school hours are long hence I do not have time to do any other activity I want to. Hence making time for planting tulsi was challenging for me as I would have to ensure that while doing this activity I would not miss out on my homework or studies. Another challenge I faced was that I would have to learn how much water to give it and I would have to continuously check up on the plant. If I would forget to give it water then it would die. I have not done something like this before so I did not have much experience, but to overcome these challenges I put up reminders on my phone to remind me to water it on time and with my mom’s help, who knew about plantation, I could estimate how much water should be given. I think after undertaking this challenge I improved my time management skills and it showed I was concerned about the society hence I am glad that I undertook this activity and could overcome the challenges I faced. I discovered a skill that I previously thought I did not have which was patience and dedication. After a few days of planting tulsi, I did not need the help of my phone to remind me when to water the plant and the plant grew very slowly but I did not give up. It is important to learn new skills as they may not only help in the task I am currently doing but can also help me in my academics.
L3 Demonstrate how to initiate and plan a CAS experience
At first, to organize myself I made a daily schedule I would follow. I made sure I would have time in between my studies to give water to the plant and check if the plant does not have any pests in it. Usually, I am not that organized in my schedule, I do things spontaneously and study at the time which is convenient to me, however, I knew that plants need a lot of care and attention and if I miss one day then it would harm the plant so I had to be organized. It was not that difficult for me to plan the activity as I had the help of someone experienced but following the schedule was a big obstacle as I am not used to doing that. After the activity, I developed organizational skills and I learnt that after some time it was easier for me to follow a schedule and be systematic. This would help me in the future as we have many submissions in school and I also play sports so balancing my academics with both of these things would require good planning and self-management skills. Even when I go to college I would not have my mother’s help at home so I would have to do most things on my own so planning beforehand would really help me. It is important to know how to plan and initiate activities because if I don’t plan then there would be an imbalance created in my life and I would lack behind in one thing or the other. Initiating is also important as without that I would not be able to learn or experience new things or be independent.
L4 Show commitment to and perseverance in CAS experiences
This activity was difficult initially as I had a lot of work from school and this terms results would contribute towards my predicted score. Also, after coming home I had extracurricular activities like going to the gym, tuition for Indian competitive exam preparation and art class. I would also have to have a lot of commitment and dedication as plants usually take a lot of time to grow and they need a lot of care. I was also avoiding the use of pesticides hence I would have to ensure my plants did not have insects on them. I would have to water it continuously and I could not give up because it was growing slowly, I would need to be patient to get my results. I am used to being persistent as I am learning a new sport (kickboxing) and it takes time and commitment to be good at something. It is important to show perseverance and commitment as without both these things I would not be able to excel at anything I do and to be good at something dedication and perseverance is the key.
L6 Demonstrate engagement with issues of global significance
Several reports suggest that high levels of pesticides in food can lead to the development of diseases such as cancer, kidney and lung ailments. Children have developing organs, prone to catching infections and diseases. If pregnant women eat foods that have a high content of pesticides then it may affect the fetus. This is a global issue as everyone consume food that they think is good for their health but they are not aware of the harmful effects or have no option but to eat what is there. Growing tulsi and mint leaves is just one step towards helping the community but if collectively everyone is aware about this then this problem can be reduced. Knowing about this global problem has helped me think about those around me and contribute towards the society. After working in this CAS activity I found out that not only consuming food with pesticides harm people but when someone uses pesticides then the environment around them is also affected, this makes me feel that trying to work to reduce this problem will not only help people but also the environment.
L7 Recognize and consider the ethics of choices and actions
After finding out that direct exposure to pesticides causes cancer, burns, and irritations I realised that using them was very harmful. Those who lived within 500 meters of places where methyl bromide, captan and eight other pesticides had been applied, were more likely to have developed prostate cancer. Usually farmers think that using pesticides will produce more healthier plants and they will be able to sell more however they are not aware about these effects hence I decided to inform the farmer at my farmhouse and the gardener about these effects and asked them not to use pesticides while growing vegetables at the farm. Most of the vegetables used at my house comes from my farmhouse hence avoiding pesticides will reduce the side effects cause by it. I also asked my farmer to eat the vegetables without the pesticides as it may affect him because he lives at the farmhouse and is prone to exposure. Avoiding useage of pesticide while growing these plants at home would help me protect my family members from direct exposure. Doing this makes me feel good as making others aware about this helps in ensuring that they are not affected by any diseases. Before this activity the I did not know that using pesticides would harm people to such a large extent. I did know that consuming them is harmful but I did not know to what extent hence my opinion before that pesticides were not that harmful and that it was okay to consume them has changed.
The learner profile characteristics I developed during this activity were:
Caring: I cared for my family members and society hence it led me to think about the harmful effects of eating food that is grown using excess pesticides.
Inquirer: Growing basil and mint leaves made me think about how much time will the take to grow, how much water do they need for germination and if there was any particular soil/weather that they would grow in.
Knowledgeable: I got to learn how to plant the leaves. I found out that there are particular seeds for Tulsi and that I need to keep Tulsi in lots of sunlight while mint was to be kept in a comparatively cool place.
Overall, this CAS experience has taught me a lot of things aside from just learning how to plant. I have experienced challenges and have developed new skills. This experience has made me a more dedicated person. It has helped me get better at managing time, being patient and also committed to an activity. It has made me think about not only myself but also those around me and being caring about them. Using this experience as a reflection, I think I can achieve a lot of things with the same amount of dedication and management.