Issue 15

Issue XV: Editor’s Note

Adapt to restore ecosystems and protect communities. Mobilize major climate finance. Collaborate and accelerate actions that keep the 1.5-degree target within reach. These are the COP 26 focus areas at Glasgow’s UN Climate Change Conference (COP26), between October 31 – November 12, 2021. As global leaders discuss the doable, we feature interviews with doers. Ordinary Indians responding with urgency to climate change. Each of them has worked on one particular aspect of environmental consciousness in India for over a decade and in some cases, decades. All of them with one thing in common – a can-do spirit that is creative, resilient, and inclusive. Meet them in Issue 15 of Open Axis.

In a 15 min video chat with Right Livelihood 2021 Award winner, environmental lawyer Ritwick Dutta, Meera Anand’s interview helps us understand what social justice means in the spirit and letter of the law. With some granular details of cases fought by him that might leave you bemused.

For Mongabay – India, S. Gopikrishna Warrier interviews conservationist and environmental journalist, Bittu Sehgal, the founder of Sanctuary Asia, a leading magazine for wildlife science and conservation.

Ramon Magsaysay Awardee and social entrepreneur Harish Hande, since the 90s has been implementing ways in which sustainable energy and poverty reduction can speak for each other. Cefil Joseph Soans catches up with Harish to ask about his effort during the pandemic, what SELCO Foundation’s first Integrated Center is doing after a decade and the possibilities of solar.

After 5 years of community conservation with rural youth across the 8 states of the North-East, the Green Hub fellowship programme is in Madhya Pradesh in 2021. Devanshi Daga in a video interview with award-winning wildlife filmmaker and Founder Green Hub, Rita Banerji, finds out how this empowers youth from far-flung areas.

From animal rights to mining bans, activist, lawyer, and co-founder of the eco-action group, Goa Foundation, Padma Shri Norma Alvares speaks with Ishita Ahuja on climate change and a growing animal rights movement.

Rohan Chakravarty mixes green humour, with his love of films, in a new book: Naturalist Ruddy: Adventurer, Sleuth, Mongoose. But how did he come up with it during the pandemic? In a video chat with Devanshi Daga, he opens up about his artistic journey, a love of birds, and drawing people to the wild.

With heatwaves and floods, water shortages, and power cuts, India’s cities are witnessing governance challenges in the time of climate change. Rishita Chaudhary speaks to Pradip Krishen, who has led eco-restoration projects on degraded urban landscapes, working also with municipal corporations in state capitals. The latest one, opened just this October to the public. 

Linking climate change and culture through youth-led action, Vinod Nambiar has been leading a revival initiative from his village home in Kerala. This includes potters, percussionists, and an ongoing film festival on vanishing cultures. Anushree Pratap chats with him to understand the links

Science administrator and biologist Dhriti Banerjee, speaks to Mongabay-India on becoming ZSI’s first woman director. The 105 yr. old Zoological Survey of India is the nation’s premier taxonomic research organization.

Sonal Dugar’s interview with Probir Banerjee inaugurates the Open Axis Podcast. With more beaches receiving the “blue flag” certification in India as a mark of cleanliness and safety, he talks about his work in environmental management and protecting clean water in Pondicherry.

Paromita Roy, an urban planner who has worked across continents and state governments, talks to Aritro Sarkar about her experience working on making our streets more pedestrian and renewable energy-friendly. Until recently, she was also helping lead the transformation of India’s railway stations.

– Devanshi Daga, Meera Anand, Ishita Ahuja, Rishita Chaudhary 

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