K. Ramnath Chandrasekar
I have observed that, a vast number of students in India have very little access or exposure to India’s natural heritage and complex environmental issues. It doesn’t come as a surprise then that, students grow up as young adults who are unaware of, and are indifferent to environment conservation. The situation becomes alarming when many of these students enter the country’s Forestry service, Administrative service and other important Government positions. They are the ones who decide the fate of my country’s natural and cultural heritage.
When I understood this eight years back, I realised that pursuing a career to document stories in picturesque locations does very little to change this scenario unless it is complemented with sustained efforts to work with diverse stakeholders of the community and providing them direction to take part in environment conservation.
My name is Ramnath, an environmental educator. I have been enthralled by nature since childhood. Since then, I have invested time and energy to build skills through experience that will enable me to make a difference through communication, leadership and education. During the last ten years, I have traveled across India to capture inspirational stories that facilitate people’s understanding of India’s rich natural and cultural heritage. At the same time, my team and I spearheaded nature and conservation education programs to reach out to thousands of students through Youth For Conservation (YFC), a non-profit initiative founded by Shekar Dattatri, an internationally acclaimed wildlife and conservation filmmaker.
From these and other rich experiences, I have been able to communicate the need for conservation very effectively. Today, I work in a space where visual storytelling education and leadership converge. I strive to pursue projects that inspires and empowers India’s youth to become ambassadors for nature and environment . My strong belief is that, if students are guided to be compassionate towards nature through repeated engagement during their 15 years in school, there will be more communities of environmentally conscious citizens practising sustainable lifestyles and taking part in conservation. With accelerated economic development, they are needed now in the millions more than ever. This is what I work for.
I am currently a Leadership Fellow of the Asia Pacific Leadership Program Fellowship, 2017-18 at the East-West Center in Honolulu, Hawai’i. My curriculum vitae contains the list of projects I have worked in photography, filmmaking and conservation education, along with a few awards and recognitions I received for my work.