What I do at Greenpeace:
I work as a Sustainable Agriculture Campaigner at Greenpeace. I campaign for a sustainable future in Agriculture to ensure safe and healthy food for all. As a campaigner, I do research, build networks of farmers and other stakeholders, facilitate discussions and also protest at times in a non-violent peaceful way to urge the Government to invest more on ecological agriculture – research, extension and incentives and also to shift chemical fertilizer subsidies (which has reached insane proportions, posing threat to ecology and food security) to promote ecological farming.
Life before Greenpeace:
Before joining Greenpeace, I was working with an international agricultural research institute. The experience there helped me to understand the dynamics of mainstream agriculture research from close quarters. As I came to know more and more about industrialized chemical intensive agriculture models and their impacts on ecology and socio-economy, I started to feel the urge to work for promoting sustainable ecological agriculture in the country. Greenpeace offered the right platform.
I have a mixed academic background. I was trained as an Agriculture journalist as part of a post graduate programme at MANAGE, an institution under Ministry of Agriculture, Govt. of India. Before that I studied Agriculture science from Kerala Agriculture University. As a hobby, I also studied web development, video production and a bit of graphic designing. Later I also studied Public Administration and policy.
During the start of my career, I worked as a journalist, produced some videos, developed some websites and also worked as a project leader of Kerala Chief Minister’s official web portal and live webcasting (a first of its kind initiative in India during that time).
My most memorable experience at Greenpeace, yet:
There are many.
In 2009, we did a peaceful demonstration outside the Indian Parliament to highlight the issue of chemical fertilizer subsidies and impact on soil health and food production. We were arrested and removed. Two years down the line, in 2011, we were invited by the Finance Ministry to the pre-budget consultation to listen to what we have to say about fertilizer subsidies and soil health. The issue got reflected in the budget speech, though concrete solutions are yet to come.
In Feb 2011, when a Member of Parliament (MP), whom we have never met talked about our work on “Living Soils” campaign in the Parliament and questioned the Agriculture Minister, forcing him to speak out, we realized that our efforts are making the right impact. Afterwards when I met him, I understood that he has been a silent follower of our campaign ever since we did a social audit in Vidharbha, way back in 2009. It was a truly fulfilling experience to know that our dogged efforts are inspiring even elite leaders, leading them to champion the cause.
Read some of Gopi’s blogs