Written by Anagha S

I am Anagha S, a life science postgraduate, from Mysuru, Karnataka, India. I grew up in Bangalore, Karnataka, India utill I was 11 years old before moving to Mysuru, Karnataka, India, where in both cities I have been to wildlife sanctuaries. My older cousin is a highly involved cat conservationist, he inspired my father to take me to a few sanctuaries nearby many times. In bangalore, there is Bannerghatta National Park, and near Mysuru there is Bandipur National Park and Ranganthittu Bird Sanctuary where every summer my family members, including me, have enjoyed watching birds and boating there in the Kaveri River. My high school teacher V. Ganesh always taught us about photography and urban bird watching along with our textbook reading. I had mentioned choosing Zoology and Botany and wanted to get into an environmentally focused PhD. I also use an electric bike to save petrol and to use cheap transport, which has been an eco-friendly option for almost 20 years now. I have had it repaired and am currently using the same electric bike. My mother’s refrigerator is 25 years old and our TV set is more than 30 years old. We just keep changing laptops every 5 years only if it is required. I am inspired by Baba Amte, a conservationist in Maharashtra, India.

 I was inspired by Prof B V Shyamala to take up Botany, Zoology and Chemistry as my majors in my Bachelor’s degree. She was my prof at university teaching Evo Devo Eco and she also taught us about chemicals and the destruction they cause to the environment. I read a book called Silent Spring, by Rachel Carson about this and was inspired to take up small tasks like; storing reusable polyethene bags and disposing of them at plastics recyclers, turning off the faucet when I am not using it, turning off lights when no one is in that room, keeping a routine of washing cloth pads (disposable pads are filled with chemicals that are irritants to skin) etc. I have another eco-friendly aim that I want to spread the word about which is the use of cloth pads that I’ve been practicing since 2016, it is sustainable and cheap. While I chose this, my older relatives were against using menstrual cups. Despite this, I stuck to these eco-friendly, sustainable products. 

I went to bird watch in nearby lakes with enthusiasts from Mysuru, and recently bought a camera to support birding. I was an intern at CES, IISc, Bangalore, India. I faced many objections about this because it is low income and workload was considerably less. I have stuck to my resolution that I’m trying to be an educator and conservationist. 

I have had one scientist I went to work at an institute in Bangalore, Karnataka, India, who passed away due to his illness. I was jobless and so many people told me to leave what I want to do in conservation studies. I could not go abroad to study and there was much delay in registering to do a PhD. I had attempted TISS, for MA in elementary education, and scored 39, 3 scores less than I needed to get selected. Hopefully, I’ll use the score that I got anyway, it could be useful. 

I am on my track and I keep myself updated by spending time with friends or at camps or on web pages online. My cousins and I have opened a Gilivindu Children’s library, Mysuru, Karnataka, India in 2020. In it, I want to include topics that are on the environment and it is a space where growing up reading such books is special and uniquely developing an identity in oneself. It is for the privileged, inclusive and underprivileged. 

I cling to doing all this because of my friends Zeeshan A Mirza, K. Marathe, Prof K Kunte, Dr Gururaj, Dr Suhas HV ; my family members Dr Arjun gopalaswamy, Swati Skanda Sambrani, Skanda Subramanya and many colleagues. I’m also inspired towards “conservation art” since 2018, when my artwork got featured in one of the conservation art pages in 2020, and also some nature photography. All of these people inspire me to keep on working on myself and the environment.