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We are pleased to introduce Debolina Banerjee, Sage’s Climate Justice Policy Analyst!

Please tell us what you do?

Debolina researches the environmental impacts of unorganized industries . In addition, Debolina works with grassroots activists and marginalized communities in India organizing for social justice around food, sustainable agriculture, clean environment, community development and women’s empowerment.

What did you study?

She holds a Master’s degree in Applied Environmental Studies in Planning from the University of Waterloo and a Master’s Degree in City Planning from the Indian Institute of Technology. She also holds a Bachelor’s Degree (B.Arch.) in Architecture from Nagpur University.

What does climate justice mean to you?

Growing up in India, I’ve experienced both sides of climate and environmental issues. On one hand, communities have immense traditional knowledge of living with nature, yet on the other hand, new practices and lifestyles in the name of ‘development’ are moving away from it with little regard to the impacts. Being in the architecture and planning field, I’ve also witnessed the impacts of development and have come to believe that any planning policy has a direct impact on both people and the environment.

In most cases, it is the most vulnerable communities who face the brunt of such decisions – whether it’s the marginalized farm workers in delta islands reeling from a natural disaster, or large village communities under threat of displacement due to environmental impacts from the construction of dams, or survivors of toxic gas leakage fighting to hold corporations accountable for the clean-up of toxic soil and ground water – everybody has an equal right to fair involvement in the decision making process, and a right to protection against environmental crises, irrespective of their income, race, nationality, gender or any form of discrimination.