Sunita Narain an Indian environmentalist was born in 1961 in New Delhi, India. She is also a political activist in India and a major supporter of the Green concept for sustainable development. Narain is the director general of a research center based in India, the Center for Science and Environment, director of the Society for Environment Communications, and editor of the biweekly magazine, Down To Earth.


Narain began working with the Science and Environment Center in 1982, where she worked to help its founder, Anil Agarwal. Anil Agarwal is an environmentalist from India, a mechanical engineer at IIT Kanpur and works as a science correspondent for Hindustan Times. Agarwal is the founder of the Center for Science and Environment, a Delhi-based research institute currently led by Narain while completing her studies at the University of Delhi.


In 1985 she jointly edited the Indian State Environment report and then proceeded to study issues relating to forest management. For this project, she traveled throughout the country to understand the management of human natural resources.

In 1989 Narain and Anil Agarwal wrote a book entitled ‘Towards a Green Village’ which contained the issue of local democracy and sustainable development. Over the years working at the Center, she has studied the relationship between environment and development and worked to create public awareness about the need for sustainable development.


Over the years, Narain also developed the management and financial support systems needed for the Center, which has more than 100 dynamic staff members and program profiles. In the early 1990s, she was involved with global environmental problems and she continued to work as a researcher and advocate. Her research interests are very diverse starting from global democracy, with a particular focus on climate change, to the need for local democracy, where she has worked both in the management of forest-related resources and water-related problems.


Sunita Narain and her Green Movement

Narain now remains an active participant, both nationally and internationally, in civil society. She is currently responsible for the management of the Center and plays an active role in a number of research projects and public campaigns. She also serves on the boards of various government organizations and committees and has spoken in many forums around the world about her concerns and expertise.


The awards for Sunita Narain

All her efforts and struggles to defend the environment finally paid off, namely in 2005 she was awarded the Padma Shri Award, the fourth highest civilian award in the Republic of India, by the Indian government. She also received the World Water Prize for rainwater harvesting work and built a paradigm for community-based water management.


In the same year, in 2005, she also headed the Tiger Task Force under the direction of the Prime Minister, to develop a conservation action plan in the country after the disappearance of tigers in Sariska. She advocated an agenda of coexistence with local communities so that conservation benefits would be shared. In addition, in 2016 Sunita Narain has named the Time Magazine list as one of the 100 Most Influential People.


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