Founder and CEO of Ladybird Environmental Consulting LLP, Dr. V. Shubhalaxmi shares a special rapport with Mother Nature. This Navi Mumbai-based social enterprise interfaces with corporates to help them meet their CSR obligations. Ladybird provides innovative environmental CSR solutions with help of environmental NGO partners. They specialize in ecosystem plantations, citizen science, environmental education, wildlife research, training, online courses, nature interpretation centers and NGO management. In this exclusive interview, Dr. V. Shubhalaxmi tells us why environmental education is a must.
- Tell us a bit about your family background and childhood.How did you fall in love with Mother Nature?
I had a very simple upbringing. During those days, we didn’t have many toys like kids today have. Secondly, there were more open spaces. The best part was playing with friends in the open. Observing different kinds of plants, making nests for small birds and getting drenched in rain was fun. Sadly, today’s children are more confined to their homes and electronic games.
- Do you agree that organizations like BNHS can do more to create awareness with due government support and encouragement?
In India, Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) is a pioneer in environmental awareness. Although it is an independent organization, it has also contributed towards environment conservation by conducting courses, workshops etc. We need more such independent institutions to do their bit for mother earth.
- Why and where are we lacking as far as environmental conservation is concerned?
Environmental conservation should start from home. The poor cannot relate to the topic of environmental awareness. The educated, urban, rapidly-growing, middle-class section should take the initiative. Small steps like using cloth bags instead of plastic can go a long way in curbing pollution.
- How did the idea of anall-women knowledge partners team take birth?
CSR is a multi-stake holder program as the requirements differ with each client. I wanted to have a versatile and multi-talented team. When I started searching for such persons within my network, I realized it was turning out to be a women’s team. That’s why I chose the name Ladybird for the firm.
- Tell us about your upcoming mobile course ‘Gardening for Wildlife’.
In a project for Tata motors, I created a butterfly habitat. That’s when the idea of such an online course struck me. I wanted people to learn how to practice gardening in concrete jungles.
- Any other new projects/ books in the pipeline?
I have developed an app for those visiting the Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP). The project is very close to my heart as I have developed an app for those who wish to explore BNP on their own. It is an offline mobile app and has three trails with an audio guide. There will be 20 points along with commentary. So now, one can explore nature at his convenience.
- How do you maintain work-home balance?
I have a supportive family. Online services have become a blessing for working women.
- Giving unconditionally comes easily to women, just like Mother Nature. How can we involve more and more women in conservation efforts?
Let us start the conservation efforts with “I”. We need to understand that every step we take leads to carbon footprint. It is important to bring down consumption. Save water, ask house cleaners not to keep the tap running while washing utensils and keep a small compost in the house by segregating dry and wet waste – these small steps can go a long way.
Pics by Farooq Sayed