#WildWomenInterviews with Janaki Lenin: Episode 17
Harini Nagendra is a Professor of Sustainability at Azim Premji University, Bangalore. She’s a prolific writer of scientific papers and the author of two books – Nature in the City: Bengaluru in the Past, Present, and Future and Cities and Canopies.
Harini began her career studying forests using satellite maps. Although she still continues to look at how forests change over time, most of her focus now is on managing urban commons – lakes, parks, and roadside trees.
Most people wouldn’t consider nature existing within cities. For Harini, however, nature is anything that exists outside of humans, be it a rocky outcrop or a potted plant. These little oases of natural life forms are essential for human well-being. Not only do places of nature reduce air pollution, soot, heat, sulphur dioxide, and lessen the impact of climate change, they also keep people sane.
Conservationists thought the commons belong to no one, so everyone exploits it in a free-for-all. They cite Garrett Hardin’s Tragedy of the Commons to justify their demands for bringing forest land under state control. Through her work with the Nobel Prize-winning economist Elinor Ostrom, Harini says people not only come together to use the commons but also to regulate how it is used. She says working with communities to protect natural resources is the only way forward. To maximise profits, corporates exploit without checks, and the state cannot impose its writ without cooperation from the people.
Watch the interview to hear Harini talk about the importance of the urban commons.
Watch more #WildWomenInterviews With Janaki Lenin here: