A collection of stories of our present, pointing to a common future we must make

Conflicts of Interest by Sunita Narain, published by Penguin India, to be released in Delhi today

“We had to fight the ‘established’ science of diesel in our fight for clean air; the ‘established’ science of pesticides in our work on toxins and food safety; the ‘established’ science of conservation in our effort to bring a new way to manage wildlife so that people also benefit. The list is long. But the war is about the mind.”

– Sunita Narain, Conflicts of Interest.

New Delhi, November 21, 2017: “In India, there are so many things that need to be done and all needed to be done yesterday. How do you prioritize? How do you choose to not respond to a call of distress?” asks Sunita Narain in her new book, ‘Conflicts of Interest’, which will be released here today by Penguin India.

Sunita Narain, one of India’s foremost environmentalists, is a writer, activist, researcher and head of the New Delhi-based research and advocacy think-tank, Centre for Science and Environment (CSE). Beginning her journey in the early 1980s, Narain has been at the forefront of environmental activism in the country – working on issues ranging from air pollution to soft drinks, and from tigers to climate change.

“As diverse as these issues may sound, and as disconnected, they stem from similar causes and affect communities in similar ways. But again, each problem is a world in itself and requires so many resources, so much motivation to be dealt with, especially when what you are dealing with are established ideas and societal strongholds,” says Narain.

‘Conflicts of Interest’ is both a glimpse into India’s green movement as it emerged in the 1980s and as witnessed by Narain, as well as a blueprint for the course of action the country must take in face of, and if it is to deal with, emergencies such as climate change and depleting resources. An insider’s view, the book, even as it moves from chapter to chapter, from one environmental challenge to another, presents to the reader a clearer picture of the whole, chalking out a plan for the country’s future by discussing what has worked for its people, its environment and what hasn’t.

Narain’s expertise on the environmental issues and challenges she lays bare in the book comes from the various roles she had assumed in the past – from being the chair of the Tiger Task Force in 2005, appointed by the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh; member of Prime Minister’s Council for Climate Change; member of the Supreme Court-appointed Environment Pollution Control Authority (EPCA) that has played a crucial role in getting emergency measures implemented to control air pollution in Delhi, and many more.

“In a place where environmental issues are often left as afterthoughts and amidst conflicting ideas, driven by conflicts of interest, the book tells stories of our present, pointing to the common future we must make,” adds Narain, a Padma Shri awardee and recipient of the World Water Prize for work on rainwater harvesting.

For details of the book release, please visit www.cseindia.org

For more details, interviews, review copies etc., please get in touch with Vrinda Nagar of the CSE Media Resource Centre at vrinda.nagar@cseindia.org / 9654106253