Policy advocacy and Grassroots Action recognized at the TN Khoshoo Memorial Award and Lecture 2010

“Live simply that others may simply live”, said Dr RK Pachauri Chair of the Nobel peace prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and Director General of The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), quoting Mahatma Gandhi to sum up his thoughts on ‘The Scientific and Ethical Dimensions of Climate Change’ at the T.N. Khoshoo Memorial Lecture at New Delhi. “Environmental protection and economic welfare are compatible, but not under the present unsustainable model of economic development”, he said, outlining a view of possible future action.

From L to R: Dr C Gladwin (Director, ATREE), Mr Rajiv Khoshoo (son of the late Dr TN Khoshoo), Dr Kamal Bawa (President and founder trustee, ATREE), Mr Joss Brooks (Director, Pitchandikulam Bioresource Centre, Auroville, Puducherry), Dr RK Pachauri (Director General, The Energy and Resources Institute, Delhi; Chairman, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change; and Director, Yale Climate and Energy Institute, Mr Girish Sant (Trustee (Prayas), Coordinator, Prayas Energy Group, Pune)
Joss Brooks, the founder of the Pitchandikulam Bioresource Centre in Puducherry was felicitated with the T.N. Khoshoo Memorial Award for his work on restoration projects in Tamil Nadu. Sharing the stage with him was Girish Sant, co-founder of the Pune-based Prayas, who received the award as part of the Prayas (Energy Group) for its policy-influencing work in the energy sector.

Prayas Energy Group does analysis-based advocacy to further public interest in the electricity sector. Prayas has played a significant role in shaping transparency and accountability of electricity regulatory commissions and continues to intervene in regulatory cases in the state of Maharashtra, appellate tribunal and in the Supreme Court. Prayas, along with the World Resources Institute (WRI) in Washington, coordinates Electricity Governance Initiative, which is a global coalition of civil society groups that aims to improve governance in the power sector.

Joss Brooks established Pitchandikulam in 1973 to restore the green cover over the Auroville Green Belt. Brooks is involved in restoration projects in Tamil Nadu, including the city of Chennai. A 12-acre garbage dump at Otteri in North Chennai has been transformed into a green lung of indigenous vegetation. In 2005, the Pitchandikulam team began work on a master plan for a 350-acre wetland site at the Adyar estuary. Over the following years, the typical urban wasteland environment of debris, garbage and sewage has changed into an example of species regeneration, practical environmental education and citizen/ government collaboration. The Adyar Poonga wetland restoration project is still underway, evolving into a crucial initiative to cleanse and transform the other polluted waterways of Chennai.

Professor Kamal Bawa, President of ATREE recalled Dr. Khoshoo’s close association with TERI in its early years and noted his seminal contribution in laying the foundation of environmental governance in the country. Raj Khoshoo, son of the late Dr. T.N. Khoshoo launched the T.N. Khoshoo Ecology and Environment Award for Schools 2011, which will recognize creative, impactful action taken by students in advancing environmental sustainability. It will start with schools in Delhi and Bangalore and expand to other cities.

The TN Khoshoo Memorial Award and Lecture is one of the pivotal activities of the Khoshoo Endowment Fund, set up in memory of the late Dr Triloki Nath Khoshoo, India’s first Secretary of the Department of Environment and environmentalist of international repute. The Khoshoo Endowment Fund recognizes outstanding contributions in the fields of ecology and environment in India. It has been set up by the Khoshoo family, along with partners who share its values of socially just conservation and environmentally sustainable development -- Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (ATREE), and Institute of Rural Research and Development (IRRAD, a Sehgal Foundation Initiative).