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time 100 2016 sunita narain
Courtesy of Centre for Science and Environment

Sunita Narain

Apr 20, 2016

Sunita Narain's ideas have shaped some of the key debates of our time. A paper that she co-authored in 1991 remains to this day the foundational charter of the global climate-justice movement.

As an activist, Narain is a pioneer. She and the organization that she heads, the New Delhi–based Centre for Science and Environment, have been campaigning to reduce the Indian capital's dangerous air-pollution levels for almost two decades. Despite resistance from many quarters, some of their key recommendations have been embraced by the courts.

Narain has also consistently opposed the kind of elite conservationism that blames environmental problems on the poor. Instead she has advocated policies that recognize India's forest dwellers and indigenous peoples as essential custodians of their environments. Hers is a voice that urgently needs to be heard in this era of climate change.

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