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From Meera Bhavan to the United Nations

Divya Nawale (Pilani, ‘03) works with United Nations Framework Convention on Climate change (UNFCCC), providing policy engagement support to the Fashion Industry Charter for Climate Action. Previously, she worked with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) in Indonesia and the Philippines, where she carried out several programs on clean energy, energy transition, and energy efficiency programs across Southeast Asia.

Laurels and Glory Saat Samundar Paar

In 2009, I was chosen by Polar Leader Robert Swan OBE as a young environmental champion to join him and the 2041 Foundation on the International Antarctic Treaty Expedition. I was amongst few Indian women to touch the Antarctic continent and the youngest woman from India on record then. I then embarked on a career in climate action and sustainable development, which has also taken me to all the seven continents. In 2018, I was invited back on the same expedition as one of the Directors leading 80 participants to Antarctica, to understand the impacts of climate change and working with the team to make the entire expedition "Carbon Neutral". In 2017, I was chosen as an Arctic Youth fellow by Ecologic Institute, where I presented my research on sustainability in Arctic cities at the Arctic Circle Assembly in Reykjavik, Iceland.

In 2020, I was recognized as one of Asia’s Top Superwomen in Sustainability. I also sit on the Board of advisors for several non-profits worldwide, including Nirmaan in India, where I have helped launch projects that engage youth in re-forestation, lake conservation, and empowering young girls on climate action by setting up kitchen gardens in low-income government schools.

An ardent ocean explorer, I have dived in the Great Barrier Reef, the Atlantic Ocean, and Andaman Sea. I also advise Woman in Ocean Science (WOS) to inspire young women to embrace careers that can help save oceans, polar regions, and our planet.

From giving my first public presentation on PETA, and talking about saving animals during the Report Writing course in Pilani, to sitting in an office high above in the Climate Tower (using Passive Haus technology) of the United Nations Climate Change Secretariat Headquarters in Bonn, Germany has been an eventful journey. I feel very grateful that Pilani gave me a sense of wonder for our planet and instilled in me the culture of striving for the best solutions to any problem.

Sustainable Living and High Thinking!

I first started embracing a sustainable lifestyle back in 2008. This included using my own reusable coffee mug, and switching to a cloth bag for grocery shopping. Over the last 7-8 years, I have tried to be a conscientious person to keep improving my lifestyle to eliminate plastic and embrace natural products using the 7 R’s.

I started composting when I moved to the US and learned about waste management. I’ve been to several landfills, and recycling centers across the world as part of my profession and seen the reality on the ground. I don’t think of myself as an environmentalist or activist, but as a humble enabler of solutions for an eco-friendlier world.

Go vegan!

Being vegan is one of the easiest and simplest actions one can take. I have been vegan for over 12 years now, and it has done wonders for my health. As per the UN, almost 20% of the greenhouse gas emissions on the entire planet right now come from animal rearing globally.

I know people have a fixed lifestyle and might not be very comfortable making amends to it. But one can at least try. For example, having Meatless Mondays can be one of the ways to start making a difference!