Shivani Shah

Page - August 28, 2014
Shivani Shah, who studied Economics and Sociology in college, has spent most of her time in Mumbai. And for her, that’s home because despite all the madness that defines it, it’s the place she misses the most.

 

1. When and how did you first hear about Greenpeace?

It's really hard to remember, maybe at some point in college, over coffee and many discussions on social and environmental issues.

2. What were you doing before you joined Greenpeace?

Almost immediately after college, I started working for the Kids for Tigers programme run by Sanctuary Magazine and then, the magazine itself where I worked for a few years. For a short while then, I worked with the Coastal and Marine Programme at Ashoka Trust on Research in Ecology and Environment (ATREE).

3. When did you start working with Greenpeace?

May 2008.

4. Why did you decide to work with Greenpeace?

Greenpeace just seemed like the right platform to work on large-scale environmental issues. It was not only the scale of the issue the organisation worked on, which I was drawn to, but the fact that it is independent, and that made it possible to challenge anyone who was compromising the planet for power or profits! I had done some bit of writing on wildlife and conservation in the Indian subcontinent, but I wanted to do more than writing while I could. The more I read, the more I realised the scale of issues, and just how interconnected these are with everything around us. 

5. Please describe in detail the work that you currently do at Greenpeace?

As a campaigner my work involves research, writing, strategy, speaking with or challenging relevant stakeholders in the government, or corporates. 

6. What has been your most memorable moment at GP?  

February 9, 2010, when Jairam Ramesh, the then Minister of Environment and Forests announced an indefinite moratorium on Bt brinjal, the first genetically modified food crop, which was being considered for environmental and commercial release in India. This decision came after a series of consultations, conducted by the minister across India. Greenpeace like other organisations had brought a number of serious concerns to the forefront including those on irreparable environmental damage, serious threat to health, and placing farmers on a treadmill of debt and disparity. Greenpeace had been working on the issue for a number of years and had played an instrumental part of bringing concerns to media attention and out of the closet. I think I felt overwhelmed at the thought that change is really possible and that I could play a role in the change I wanted to see. The fight isn't over, but the fact remains that no GM food is cultivated in this country, says a lot. And I think that empowering moment was the most memorable for me.

7. What do you like about working for GP?

The fact that it is really independent. I am hard-pressed to find another organisation working on environmental issues, at a global scale that does not think even once before challenging the government or corporate alike for holding people and the planet at ransom. 

8. Personally, how do you feel working here has changed you as a person?

In so many ways both personally and professionally, that I find it difficult to describe. But mostly, it has made me stronger and a lot more resolute.

9. If you were to describe your day at work, how would you describe it?

Each day is so different and with so much to learn. From research, strategy, filing RTIs and filing accounts to speaking with members in the government, corporate and media.

10. What would you say to someone who is considering applying for a job at GP?

If you can give more than money, and if that’s your skill and time, that’s invaluable. Greenpeace is a very open culture in which it really embraces all kinds of people, and with all kinds of skills. It’s an organisation, which provides the opportunity to marry profession and passion.