Welcome to the latest issue of the OICSD newsletter featuring quarterly updates on our research, scholarships and seminars.

Wishing you a happy Christmas and good health, peace and joy in 2022. As we near the end of another challenging year, a huge thanks to all our supporters and well-wishers for engaging with OICSD’s hub events over the past year. We look forward to continue shaping discussions around India’s sustainable development, forging interdisciplinary links to shed new light on sustainability and what it means to us in our everyday lives. This term, the OICSD hosted a series of seminars: on India’s energy challenges; the lives of waste pickers in Mumbai; water security, gender and development and more. Join us as we share our research updates, spotlight the work of our alumna Gabriella D’Cruz and link back to some of our best events this year.

Spotlight: Gabriella D’Cruz, OICSD alumna and BBC’s The Food Chain Global Youth Champion 2021

We’re immensely proud to share that OICSD alumna Gabriella D’Cruz won The Food Chain Global Youth Champion Award 2021, hosted by BBC Radio 4’s Food and Farming Awards, for her project on seaweed farming in Goa. Gabriella is a marine conservationist based in Goa, India, who received the Oxford-Indira Gandhi Graduate Scholarship in 2017 to pursue an MSc in Biodiversity, Conservation and Management at the University of Oxford. Before her master’s degree, Gabriella spent 8 years working with coral reef ecosystems and cetaceans (whales and dolphins). For the past four years, Gabriella has been engaged in researching India’s seaweed forests.  

She runs a company called The Good Ocean, which has launched India’s first pilot seaweed and mussel farm this year. They hope to replicate these seaweed farms along other parts of the West Coast in India. “Seaweed forests are very similar to coral reefs in the sense that they are almost like cities of the sea where they aggregate a lot of biodiversity,” said Gabriella in an interview with Mongabay India. “They are feeding grounds, breeding grounds and have a lot of nutrient cycling. As powerhouses of the sea, working on rebuilding or helping to sustain these are important for the general health of the oceans. Seaweeds are climate-smart algae. They absorb significant amounts of carbon, reduce ocean acidification and act as nutrient scrubbers.” 

Research Highlights

Health risks of extreme heat

In this BMJ editorialOICSD Research Director Prof Radhika Khosla, Research Associate Dr Anant Jani and Prof Rafael Perera discuss the health risks posed by rising temperatures, and the need for the healthcare system to adapt to increasing healthcare demand in a warming world while placing vulnerable populations at the heart of global efforts.

Bending towards water justice: pathways for reconciliation, inclusion and transformative actions

In this article published in the International Journal of Water Resources Development, R. Quentin Grafton, OICSD scholar Safa Fanaian, Gabriella Sacco and Luis Liberman argue that in order to achieve water justice, we need the individuals, institutions and communities to collectively work towards common goals. The article explores the need for ‘truth-telling’, reconciliation and inclusion as a way of correcting for past injustices, and the need to actively restore what was lost or taken through coercion or ignorance. 

Events at a glance

Through the course of this year, the OICSD has hosted nearly 25 online and in-person discussions on range of topics related to sustainable development in India.

India’s Energy Challenge in an Unequal and Warming World
Tejal Kanitkar, Associate Professor at the National Institute of Advanced Studies, Bengaluru, explored India’s energy landscape with relevant global comparisons. Prof Kanitkar discussed the potential directions for the country’s energy sector in general, and its power sector in particular.

Forest restoration and nature-based climate solutions frequently fail because they are not grounded in social science
Prof Forrest Fleischman of the University of Minnesota showed how tree-planting initiatives often fail because they are not grounded in a social scientific understanding of the dynamics of land systems. In collaboration with Oxford Centre for Tropical Forests. 

Seeing Mumbai and India through its Detritus

Saumya Roy and Keshava Guha on the lives of waste pickers in Mumbai’s Deonar dumping grounds, one of Asia’s largest landfills – drawing from Roy’s recent book Mountain Tales
In collaboration with the Oxford India Society.

Water Security in South Asia
Water security has risen as a policy priority as the climate crisis and global health pandemic have converged. Professor Rob Hope, Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment, University of Oxford discussed the risks and trade-offs to meet policy goals in the context of irrigated agriculture, industrial demand, river pollution, and delivering safe drinking water to all. In collaboration with the High Commission of India, London.

Institutional Activism and Girls’ Education in Rural India
A discussion with Akshay Mangla, Associate Professor at the Said Business School, and Barbara Harriss-White, Emeritus Professor of Development Studies, on how street level bureaucrats engage in institutional activism while integrating disadvantaged girls into the education system.


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