Sunita Narain

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Sunita Narain
A headshot portrait of Sunita Narain
Narain in 2009
Born1961
New Delhi
NationalityIndian
Alma materUniversity of Delhi
OccupationEnvironmentalist
Awards
Websitecseindia.org/page/sunita-narain

Sunita Narain (born 1961) is an Indian environmentalist and political activist as well as a major proponent of the Green concept of sustainable development.[1] Narain is director general of the India-based research institute for the Centre for Science and Environment, director of the Society for Environmental Communications, and editor of the fortnightly magazine, Down To Earth.

In 2016 Narain was named on Time Magazine's list of 100 Most Influential People. She appeared alongside Leonardo DiCaprio in the documentary Before The Flood (2016), discussing the impact of climate change on the Monsoon in India and how it affects farmers.

Early life[edit]

Sunita Narain was born in 1961 in New Delhi,[2] and was the oldest of four sisters. Her father Raj Narain, who died when Narain was 8, had been a freedom fighter, and then established a handicrafts business. Her mother, Usha Narain, took over the business and raised the siblings. The income from the business provided the family with a confortable lifestyle.[3][2] In 1979, Sunita Narain joined the student anti-logging activist group Kalpavriksh. she told Marcello Rossi of the Smithsonian magazine that this gave her a new direction in life, as she realised that "the crux weren't the trees, but the rights of people over those trees".[3] She completed her graduation by correspondence from University of Delhi (1980–83).[4]

Career[edit]

A group of people around Sunita Narain, who is showing a tree logo for the Harithkram eco-club
Sunita Narain launching the Harithkram eco-club logo (2014)

Narain began working with the Centre for Science and Environment, one of India's first environmental Non-governmental organizations whilst still a student at the University of Delhi, working with the founder Anil Agarwal.[3][4] Narain became the Deputy Director of the CSE in 1993, and was appointed as the Director in 2000.[3]

Under her leadership, Centre for Science and Environment exposed the high level of pesticides present in American brands of soft drinks such as Coke and Pepsi.[5]

Narain atttributes blame for the climate crisis to the fossil-fuel based economies of Western countries, and advocates that India should seek an alternative route to economic growth.[3] Under her leadership, Centre for Science and Environment exposed the high level of pesticides present in American brands of soft drinks such as Coke and Pepsi.[6]

In 2012, she wrote the 7th State of India's Environment Reports, Excreta Matters, an analysis of urban India's water supply and pollution.

In 2016 Narain was named on Time Magazine's list of 100 Most Influential People.[7] Novellist Amitav Ghosh wrote for Time that "A paper that she co-authored in 1991 remains to this day the foundational charter of the global climate-justice movement ... Narain has also consistently opposed the kind of elite conservationism that blames environmental problems on the poor."[7]

Narain appeared alongside Leonardo DiCaprio in the documentary Before The Flood (2016) and talked about the impact of climate change on the Monsoon in India and how it affects farmers.[8]

In 2008 Narain delivered the K R Narayanan Oration[9] on "Why Environmentalism Needs Equity: Learning from the environmentalism of the poor to build our common future".[10] In 2020, she served on "A future for the world's children?", a WHO-UNICEF-Lancet Commission, co-chaired by Helen Clark and Awa Coll-Seck.[11]

Personal life[edit]

Narain was injured in a traffic collision while cycling near the All India Institute of Medical Sciences on the morning of 20 October 2013. Her bicycle was hit by a car while she was cycling to Lodhi Gardens from her home in Green Park. The car driver did not stop and Narain was taken to AIIMS by a passerby. She sustained facial wounds and orthopaedic injuries.[12] She was discharged 11 days later, after having reconstructive surgery on her nose, and two metal rods implanted to support her broken wrists.[13]

Awards[edit]

In 2004, Narain received the Chameli Devi Jain Award for Outstanding Women Mediaperson, for " for bringing environmental issues to the mainstream".[14] The folowing year, she was awarded the Padma Shri by the Government of India.[15] and the Centre for Science and Environment, under her leadership, was awarded the Stockholm Water Prize.[16]

She was granted an honorary Doctor of Science by the University of Calcutta in 2009.[17] and as conferred with the Raja-Lakshmi Award for the same year from Sri Raja-Lakshmi Foundation, Chennai.[18] In 2016, Narain was named on Time Magazine's list of 100 Most Influential People,[7] and received the International Association for Media and Communication Research Climate Change Communication Research in Action Award[19] She was an Edinburgh Medal recipient in 2020.[20] Narain has also been awarded honorary doctorates by the University of Lausanne, and the University of Alberta.[21][22]

Publications[edit]

  • Towards Green Villages (1989)[23]
  • Global Warming in an Unequal World: A case of environmental colonialism (1990)[24]
  • Towards a Green World: Should environmental management be built on legal conventions or human rights? (1992)[23]
  • Green Politics: Global Environmental Negotiations[25]
  • Dying Wisdom: Rise, Fall and Potential of India's Water Harvesting Systems.[26][27]
  • The State of India's Environment, The Citizens' Fifth Report
  • Making Water Everybody's Business: the practice and policy of water harvesting.[28][29]
  • Conflicts of interest: my journey through India’s Green Movement (Penguin Random House India, 2017) was praised by reviewer Runa Sarker as "an excellent record of [Narain and the CSE's] efforts and the outcomes, and how it has shaped policy", although what Sarker felt that in some respects the book failed to address the complexities involved, and that how "the conflicts of interest deeper and wider than projected" in the book.[30]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Narain, Sunita (28 March 2017). "'Why I don't advocate vegetarianism': Indian environmentalist Sunita Narain explains her position". Scroll.in. Archived from the original on 20 November 2018. Retrieved 29 March 2017.
  2. ^ a b Jain, Reshma (26 May 2022). "'We need to build ideas for how India can have affordable growth that is sustainable': Sunita Narain". Socio Story. Archived from the original on 3 July 2022. Retrieved 3 July 2022.
  3. ^ a b c d e Rossi, Marcello (15 September 2017). "How an Environmental Activist Became a Pioneer for Climate Justice in India". Smithsonian Magazine. Archived from the original on 23 June 2022. Retrieved 3 July 2022.
  4. ^ a b Pathak, Nilima (30 November 2006). "Sunita Narain vs the state". Archived from the original on 2 July 2022. Retrieved 16 October 2020.
  5. ^ "Pesticide cocktail in Coke, Pepsi brands". The Economic Times. Archived from the original on 24 February 2022. Retrieved 30 July 2020.
  6. ^ "Pesticide cocktail in Coke, Pepsi brands". The Economic Times. Archived from the original on 24 February 2022. Retrieved 30 July 2020.
  7. ^ a b c Ghosh, Amitav (21 April 2016). "Time 100 Most Influential People: Sunita Narain". Time Magazine. Archived 22 April 2016 at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ Thekkethil, Dileep (1 November 2016). "Sunita Narain features in documentary 'Before the Flood' co-produced by Leonardo DiCaprio". The American Bazaar. Archived from the original on 2 October 2018. Retrieved 24 December 2018.
  9. ^ 2008 K R Narayanan Oration, The Australian National University, Canberra, 16 September 2008 Archived 25 September 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  10. ^ "Net Traveller: Environmentalism and Equity". Archived from the original on 25 December 2018. Retrieved 24 December 2018.
  11. ^ [1] Archived 23 May 2020 at the Wayback Machine World Health Organization, press release of 19 February 2020.
  12. ^ "Environmentalist Sunita Narain injured in a road accident". The Hindu. 21 October 2013. Archived from the original on 25 December 2018. Retrieved 24 December 2018.
  13. ^ "Sunita Narain back home, guilty car yet to be traced". 2 November 2013. Retrieved 4 July 2022.
  14. ^ "Sunita Narain presented Chameli Devi Jain Award". Zee News. 30 March 2005. Retrieved 4 July 2022.
  15. ^ "Sunita Narain". Archived from the original on 7 January 2008. Retrieved 21 January 2008.Archived 7 January 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  16. ^ "2005: Centre for Science and Environment under the directorship of Sunita Narain, India". Stockholm International Water Institute. Retrieved 4 July 2022.
  17. ^ "Honoris Cause". Archived from the original on 8 August 2011. Retrieved 9 September 2010.
  18. ^ Maitreyi, M.L. Melly (15 August 2009). "Raja-Lakshmi award for Sunita Narain". The Hindu. Archived from the original on 19 August 2009.
  19. ^ "Climate Change Award 2016". International Association for Media and Communication Research. 2016. Retrieved 4 July 2022.
  20. ^ "Sunita Narain awarded the Edinburgh Medal". Edinburg City Festival. 18 November 2020. Retrieved 4 July 2022.
  21. ^ "Archive - Doctorats honoris causa 2010: Sunita Narain". Université de Lausanne (in French). 2010. Retrieved 25 July 2022.
  22. ^ Pratt, Sheila (2 March 2012). "Ceremony honouring Nestle exec disrupted by protestors at U of A". Edmonton Journal. p. 5.
  23. ^ a b "Reilly, Narain to Speak at WEFTEC". Water Environment & Technology. 17 (10): 48–49. 2005.
  24. ^ Anil Agarwal, Sunita Narain (31 December 1990). "Global Warming in an Unequal World: A case of environmental colonialism". India Environment Portal. Centre for Science and Environment. Archived from the original on 2 August 2013. Retrieved 25 December 2018.
  25. ^ Green Politics: Global Environmental Negotiations Archived 11 February 2021 at the Wayback Machine, Anil; Sunita Narain, Anju Sharma, Centre for Science and Environment (1999)
  26. ^ "Dying Wisdom: Rise, Fall and Potential of India's Traditional Water Harvesting Systems". Archived from the original on 29 June 2011. Retrieved 15 September 2017. Archived 29 June 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  27. ^ State of India's Environment, Volume 4, Anil Agarwal, Sunita Narain, Centre for Science and Environment (1997)
  28. ^ "The No-Nonsense Guido International Development". Archived from the original on 29 June 2011. Retrieved 15 September 2017. Archived 29 June 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  29. ^ Maggie Black, New Internationalist (1 October 2007)
  30. ^ Sarkar, Runa (2018). "'Sunita Narain: Conflicts of Interest: My Journey through India's Green Movement'". Decision. 45 (2): 203–6. doi:10.1007/s40622-018-0187-7. ISSN 0304-0941.

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