What is lost is as important as what can be salvaged and what can be done to get right back up.
A passionate environmentalist, Sanjeevani Yonzon Shrestha is also a conservationist, educationist, writer and a humanitarian responder. She has been worked extensively in the past 20 years in the field of environment, committed to engaging societies and people from all walks of life to nature conservation and transformation in the way environment education is taught in Nepal.
She actively promotes interactive, hands-on and outdoor conservation education with her team at Nepal Prakriti Pathshala (NPP) or Nepal Nature School at Wildlife Conservation Nepal (WCN). The team has been able to create milestones in the field of environmental education in Nepal. Her achievements include establishing successful examples of local curriculum execution in Nepal especially in areas of great ecological importance and habitats of endangered animals. Currently, about 4,000 students every year study this curriculum in Rasuwa and Chitwan and more recently in different municipalities of Kathmandu valley. She has also trained over 600 teachers across Nepal on conservation and interactive environmental education.
Another landmark achievement has been her active and lead involvement along with her team in developing and implementing the Green School Program Concept for the Government of Nepal. This concept enables all the 3500+ schools of Nepal to adopt environmentally friendly principles through action.
As a Natural Resource Management Specialist she is also involved at WCN in developing low cost community based innovative solutions to mitigate and adapt with climate change while creating viable local business solutions in the villages of Makwanpur, Rasuwa, Chitwan and Nawalparasi impacting more than , 2000 households through community forests.
She has also worked as a disaster responder after the disastrous earthquake in Nepal in April 2015. Along with the team at WCN, she has raised funds and voluntarily built six temporary schools, provided food, medical and other livelihood essentials with support from different sectors for more than 800 households in Kathmandu, Lalitpur, Bhaktapur, Rasuwa and Dhading along with two community centers in Rasuwa benefitting 600 households of Gatlang Village in partnership with local UNDP’s district project.
She has brought out more than 15 books for teachers and text books for children on environment, climate change, waste management, global warming and local curriculum.
In this edition of Business 360, Sanjeevani shares with us her the five things that have impacted her work and life.
One life philosophy I adhere to, in both my personal and professional life is to be fair. I try to be just and fair in any given situation, especially making decisions big and small.
Women in general inspire me: women like my mother, my grandmother, my mother in law, Oprah Winfrey, Anuradha Koirala, women who started the Chipko movement on tree protection. Women who have to put much more work than men and yet it does not diminish their zeal for life and achieving life goals… all these women inspire me.
Crucial Life Decision
My decision to study Environmental Science as the first batch in Nepal and not pursue higher studies abroad laid the foundation for what I am today. I knew what I wanted in life: to work with and for nature every single day because then you get to enjoy life’s best blessings each day.
Nature is the most important aspect to a happy and healthy life on earth and we are all a part of nature. And yet humans forget this connect and continuously try to create something that is not natural which ultimately has adverse effect on every living being, including us. This is why conservation is so important; conserving our natural heritage so that we can reverse negative global processes like the Global Climate Change. There is so much to learn from nature and therefore the younger generation must be provided with the environment so that they can find that nature connect, and also innovate through the inspiration from nature.
Also if COVID 19 has taught us anything, it is that life can be very simple and it needs to be sustainable. Sustainable development is the only way forward. Development without natural sustainability is not the way forward at all. We must immediately change gears on how we do business and transition to a circular economy model if we are to survive the shocks of climate change and global pandemics.
With my team, I am at the moment trying to provide platforms to promote green products, institutionalize environmental education and empower women in green entrepreneurship and advocate for policies regarding them.
Two events of the recent past and current time – the earthquake in 2015 and Covid 19 – has taught me real life lessons about coping with loss with new energy. I now realise that life comes with no guarantees, it is about counting your blessings today. What is lost is as important as what can be salvaged and what can be done to get right back up. Life is about choices, we must make them mindfully and justly so that we have no regrets.