Kitayun Aspi Rustom

Ashoka Fellow
,
Fellow Since 2005
Centre for Environmental Research and Education (CERE)

Citation

This profile was prepared when Kitayun Aspi Rustom was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2005.
The New Idea
Through their Center for Environmental Research and Education (CERE), Kitayun Rustom and Rashneh Pardiwala bring fresh tactics and new professionalism to India’s environmental movement. One stream of their work is a direct, focused legal campaign to improve and enforce legislation for environmental protection. In this effort, they partner with rural organizations and communities to advocate for new laws and make the most of the laws that already exist. Another campaign supports a longer-term struggle for environmental protection across India through high-quality education. Here, Kitayun and Rashneh push beyond schooling for awareness and help students put their understanding of environmental issues to work, from building plant nurseries to partnering with local protection organizations.
These two environmentalists have pioneered a powerful balance between legal, educational, and advocacy campaigns, resulting in a powerful program whose elements complement each other remarkably well. Without immediate efforts for environmental protection in courts and halls of government, schooling on the topic would be futile, because in a short time there will be little if anything left to protect. Likewise, if the small victories in local battles for protection are to have greater meaning, a nationwide change in thinking is required, which can be obtained only through consistent and rigorous education.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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