Fellows Network

Nirmala Nair

School of Practical Sustainability, Director

Cape Town, South Africa

As a sociologist, and systems inspired permaculture designer, Nirmala’s expertise is in developing strategies on the ground to enhance a deeper connection to life and wellbeing.

Nirmala has been consulting on integrated local solutions focusing on resilient systems through regeneration and rehabilitation. The first and foremost of them being healing the soil-water-food-web. She has travelled, worked and consulted in many parts of the world including India, Indonesia, Bhutan, South Africa and Zambia.

Currently she is working on a story project highlighting the importance of the interconnectedness of life at the local level that is being eroded with the onslaught of hyper-specialization, over digitalization and unnecessary technological intervention.  

She is the founder of  School of Practical Sustainability – a non- institutionalized platform to share reflections and possibilities of moving away from a hyper-globalized world to recreating smaller, diverse community settings bringing back common-sense and local knowledge to rebuild broken communities. She works through mentoring, teaching and trainings with the communities she gets invited to work with. 

She is a certified permaculture designer trained with Geoff Lawton of Permaculture Research Institute, New South Wales. A trained yoga teacher and an Ayurvedic practitioner, Nirmala’s tiny garden in her Cape Town house enables her to fine tune the teachings of the soil-water-food-web connection to healing life and one’s sense of wellbeing.

Published Articles 

Kuensel, Bhutan National Daily, 2017


Durban Post, 2017, “What Stops Us from Staying Healthy”https://www.pressreader.com/south-africa/post/20170802/282024737341799

Keunsel Bhutan National Daily, 2015, “How will the age of Anthropocene fare for Bhutan”http://www.kuenselonline.com/how-will-the-age-of-anthropocene-fare-for-bhutan/

Keunsel Bhutan National Daily, 2015, “Will Paris wake up to common sense?”http://www.kuenselonline.com/will-paris-wake-up-to-common-sense/

The Jakarta Post, 2014, “Scaling up NGOS – best practice or big lie?”http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2014/02/15/scaling-ngos-best-practice-or-big-lie.html

The Jakarta Post, 2014, “Working with nature for flood control”http://m.thejakartapost.com/news/2014/01/25/we-must-work-with-nature-beat-floods.html

Myth of Sustainable Development – Poem http://www.sustainabilityleadersnetwork.org/the-myth-of-sustainable-development/

Local Action for Biodiversity communication education- Process evaluation tool kit Commissioned by City of Cape Town and ICLEI, 2011-2011 http://studylib.net/doc/10392764/evaluation-design-toolkit

SABC Sacred Secrets of Nature, 2015,  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5qn6d6rBvfg

SABC, “I am Woman Series” 2016 http://www.iamwomanseries.com/our-stories/season…/episode-8-nirmala-nair/

Updated October 2018