Introducing the participants of the first Emerging Leaders Forum
Since childhood, Allan has dedicated himself to developing his tools for building environmental & social resilience. Initially studying environment & development alongside A levels in Economics, Music and Mathematics, Allan has a Masters in Urban Planning & 5 years of experience as a town planner and local government administrator in the UK, championing public over private benefits. Moving 2 years ago to Auroville, an international intentional township, Allan has been engaged in assisting community decision making processes, trying to coordinate farming activities with water security in mind, and implementing consent-based approaches to collective management (drawing from Sociocracy 3.0) at Auro-Orchard, a 44-acre organic farm.
My name is Andres and I come from the mountains of Colombia, South America. Since youth, I felt a deep aspiration to spend time in nature, and explore all types of ecosystems. This attraction towards nature – added to the realization that ecosystems were threatened by human impact-, brought me to study Ecology for 5 years at University. I worked there coordinating a group in Environmental education and managing recycling programs with local communities. I also did research in mountain ecosystems “Bosque Alto Andino” that became pyrogenic due to human impact and worked in environmental outdoor education with children in many different natural areas.
Currently, I’m co-founder of a “sustainability – human unity” project in Auroville, India (https://joyofimpermanence.in/ ) I was also fortunate to encounter yoga since very young, at a yoga retreat in 1999, when I was 14 years old. Since then, I’ve had the opportunity to study with many teachers and yoga schools including 2 years of Ashram life in India, studies in Krishnamacharya lineage at Krishnamachar Yoga Shala Mysore, Dharma Yoga Center, Ashtanga Yoga. Also had the opportunity to study Vippasana Meditation, Pranic living, Chamanism, Native American Vision Quests, Sufi Whirling among others. I’ve been sharing those yoga teachings that transformed my life since 2009, after sustained constant practice since 2003.
After spending the majority of 2019 in London focused on bringing awareness to the unfolding Climate Crisis through my involvement with Extinction Rebellion (XR) and feeling burnt out, I shifted to South India (early 2020) with aspirations of volunteering on the land and discovering new “radical” ways of being, which living in an intentional community might offer.
With these intentions but not much of a plan, I arrived in the experimental township of Auroville, where I’ve been for two years, participating in and facilitating workshops/circles, restoring degraded landscapes, and collaborating on inspiring projects – building a vegan café for a local woman and various permaculture projects – resourcing myself and connecting more deeply as I continue to shape my contribution to the community as a steward of our beautiful planetary home.
Deepak Srinivasan is a Bengaluru based community media practitioner, artist and design educator with 16 years of trans-disciplinary practice and over 7 years of university facilitation and mentoring for UG and graduate art & design programs. Deepak has engaged with diverse urban and rural communities through his work and interest in socio-cultural histories and eco-cultural heritage in pursuit of alternative ways to social development models of engaging South Asian communities. Deepak’s work has spanned inquiries in the public sphere by critically engaging with public spaces and urban living through a diverse lens, ranging from gender, ecology, media and cultural history, urban communities & urban history, public art, community media, social engagement, sustainability and narrative design and museum engagement. Through his journey through various contexts, communities and media, he would like to think of his body of work as critical art and design practice and has more recently begun to term it social design practice.
Hannah Della Bosca
Hannah is an abstract artist and environmental humanities researcher. Her academic work spans issues of human and more-than-human identity, community, and resilience. She is currently working on a PhD in multispecies justice, focusing broadly on insects and specifically on ants.
Janet is an empathy architect who designs intentional experiential interventions through art, facilitation and science. She likes living in an Imaginarium of intricate puzzles.
Manik is the co-founder of Shoonya and Eywa Environmental Service Foundation. Shoonya works with market-based solutions to enable the diversion of waste from landfills and the reclamation of landfills. While Eywa focuses on empathetic leadership development for the waste management sector. Manik is currently an Aspire Circle WASH Community Leader, co-chaired by Mrs Naina Lal Kidwai and is also a mentor for startups at the Climate Collective. Previously, Manik has served as a Sayajirao Gaekwad Fellow, a program initiated by the Chairman of Bank of Baroda in 2017.
Dr Michael Chew is a participatory action researcher, photographer and environmentalist whose work explores creativity in social change. He draws from interdisciplinary perspectives with degrees in Participatory Design, Mathematical Physics, Social Theory, Art Photography and Social Ecology. He co-founded grassroots NGOs Friends of Kolkata, and Friends of Bangladesh to run international volunteer programmes and North-South solidarity work and has run participatory storytelling projects across Asia. After completing a design-based action-research PhD in 2020 exploring how participatory photography can inspire youth environmental behaviour change across cities in Bangladesh, China and Australia, he currently undertaking a Rotary Peace Fellowship at Chulalongkorn University.
Michael was born to a German mother and a Spanish father. He grew up in the South of France and explored as much as the classic world has to give: he went to University; got master’s degrees in law, business, finance and economy to become a lawyer specialising in the tax system. Realizing quickly it wasn’t his thing; he got a master’s in management and worked for an energy multinational company. Again, it wasn’t clicking; the power of money, career and prestige was not comforting his deep need for meaning and connection to something of a higher sense.
In 2010, fed up with what the system was offering him, he quit everything and went travelling to Asia looking for answers to his existential inquiries. He found “by chance” Auroville on his path… here they would say that Auroville called him. He immediately felt home there… the only place which allows him to simply be himself and not hide behind a mask of hypocrisy. While discovering volunteer work in Auroville during one year in the office for volunteers, he was surprised to discover how satisfying this activity was. This led him to the question “how can volunteers seem to be happier than employees in regular companies?”. It is with this question that he started a PhD research on the impact of volunteerism on the meaning of work in the 21st century regarding the place of money and career. During this research he continued to get more and more involved in Auroville, taking part in numerous different activities mostly around community building and community living. In 2016, he decided to settle in Auroville because it seemed to be the only place on earth offering the space to realize his discovered dream: creating a community incubator based on the principles of impermanence, self-sufficiency, sustainability, DIY, community spirit and experimentation on construction, energy, economy, and collective intelligence. This project actually started with the EDE held in Auroville in December 2016 where he designed the economy week. He continued then his journey with YouthLink where he is currently working: organizing with Kavitha Selvaraj certified EDE courses and projects incubators (including communities).
Rukmini Iyer works at the intersection of business, leadership, peacebuilding and eco-sensitive systems design. She is an avid writer and uses her writing as a medium of generating public discourse around peacebuilding, religion and non-violence. She is a student of Yoga and philosophy and enjoys spending time in nature, creating nature mandalas, and reading/watching space fiction.
Sacha is a passionate environmentalist with a keen interest in intersectional topics such as queer ecology and international solidarity movements including social justice and anti-war activism. He loves to swim in the ocean.
He currently researches imagined futures in the context of climate change at the University of Sydney. Sacha graduated RMIT with a Bachelor of Environments and Society and UNSW with an Honours in International and Political Studies focusing on the sociology of international environmental law.
Sally Jensen is a Sustainability Educator working in Climate Change at Noosa Shire Council in Queensland, Victoria. She began her career designing and delivering programs at CERES Environment Park in Melbourne and then delivered a sustainable schools program to school communities that supported them to embed sustainability into the campus and curriculum. She moved to Indonesia in 2015 to work at Green School in Bali and received notice that her PhD has been successfully completed. Her research examined sustainability education settings and analysed the kinds of thinking and teaching involved in understanding and communicating sustainability concepts effectively. As a mum, eco-writer, lover of yoga and meditation, Sally is working on her first book to translate her findings and experience into a useful expression that advocates the importance of imagination in human consciousness as an essential part of creating and living out sustainability.
Sourabh has 13+ years of experience in various roles of creating value in various segments in the development sector, with a primary focus on technology, start-up ecosystem, digital literacy, climate change, environment, water conservation, green initiatives, social causes and livelihood related issues. He loves reading books, travelling and photography.
He runs a small organization called The Dead River Project Foundation, the main focus is to spread awareness, connect communities & identify solutions to protect our water bodies.
I am Srilakshmi. I live in a village outside of Bangalore. I am trained in community development with a specialization in public health. For the last twenty years, I have worked in various capacities as a researcher, community facilitator, trainer and as community member. My interest in working with health and local governance has taken me on many paths. In the last few years, it has brought me closer to nature – through my healing of personal traumas and in the process finding a life purpose. I am currently involved in climate education with children, exploring identities and relationship to nature, agroforestry, community lake rejuvenation projects, food security and nutrition. I am exploring my relatedness to nature as a “sustainable self”. I am beginning to see the deep connection that I have to everything around me. I receive in many abundant ways and live hard to make myself available to the service of other beings in nature.
A naturalist, she loves to study and explore the relationship between nature and culture. She designs heritage education modules for school and college students, and heritage enthusiasts. She curates and conducts heritage awareness programmes and has worked on publications for promoting heritage. She is working on documentation and conservation of sacred groves,associated natural and cultural heritage in the Western Ghats, India. She is actively involved in projects of traditional crafts revival. She has mentored a number of students and interns working in the field of heritage. With her husband and seven year old daughter, she is exploring ways towards sustainable and harmonious living with nature through experiments in organic farming and permaculture.”
Yamini (he/they) is an educator, environmentalist and activist who is trying to reevaluate how environmental education can inspire a better, more inclusive world. His hobbies include being outside, frisbee roaming around and writing. Yamini is facilitating another workshop in February, titled ‘What is Environmental Justice in India’ – you can sign up here
I find myself a very positive, humble and passionately driven Proud Nationalist.
In my very own small lifetime By Choice, I’ve become the Founder of SuP-EcoApp, to contribute to the country in my own way by encouraging, celebrating and appreciating the eco conscious community of India for their Positive Sustainable Activities. With Eco coins we are rewarding Individual Social Responsibility (ISR) and this way we wanted to take climate action In India.
Inner Climate Academy (ICA)
ICA is a project of Social Entrepreneurship Association, a unit of the Auroville Foundation.