Fellows Network

Nirmala Nair

School of Practical Sustainability, Director

Cape Town, South Africa

For Nirmala the move from Sustainability work to resilience was not all that clear cut. Working on the ground, with diverse groups of communities, seeking simple, practical solutions made her realise that homogenised globalised notions of sustainability simply wont work locally especially dealing with unpredictable nature of changing climate related issues.

Since the last few years Nirmala has been working in the area of climate change and local resilience. She has worked in Indonesia, with Samdhna Institute. Currently she is working as an external consultant to Bhutan’s National Adaptation program of Action (NAPA II) through Tarayana Foundation.

Her entry into Bhutan was through a conference she organised In 2011 for ZERI/ Blue Economy on New economic Innovations and Gross National Happiness (GNH)

Nirmala has expertise in social activism, community organizing and systems thinking. A yoga teacher and an Ayurvedic practitioner, she believes that sustaining life is all about learning to live the dynamic balance of our unique inner and outer eco-systems.

She is passionate about food gardens, medicinal plants, healthy soil and regenerative local eco-systems. In September 2012, Nirmala launched  School of Practical Sustainability with an aim to combine her mindfulness work with exploring simple practical solutions – solutions that embody local wisdom and designed to be resilient especially in the face of ever changing climate chaos.

Link for the article: http://www.kuenselonline.com/will-paris-wake-up-to-common-sense/


Selected Publications
On January 25, 2014, Nirmala wrote an opinion piece, We must work with nature to beat floods, for the Jakarta Post newspaper.

On December 10, 2013, the day of Nelson Mandela’s memorial service in South Africa, Fellow Nirmala published Tears for Nelson Mandela: A Personal Story in the Jakarta Post newspaper.

Nirmala originally wrote this poem in September 2004 as an input for a panel discussion on values and personal belief systems required to implement sustainable development at the South Africa + 2 Johannesburg Conference. She also shared it at the 10th anniversary ZERI World Congress in Tokyo and at a workshop in Bandung, Indonesia with Fellow Any Sulistyowati to an overwhelming response. She writes: “It seems to trigger some deep memories that we have lost in the pursuit of creating a development industry.” The poem has been web-published on many other sites and translated in many languages, including Japanese and Danish.

Selected Video
Nirmala was interviewed by reinsurance / insurance company Swiss Re through their Open Minds project regarding her views on development, change in the world, and engaging in new ways; the interview is entitled A New Way of Seeing the World, July 2013

Updated December 2015.