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Radha Gopalan


Radha Gopalan has over 17 years experience as an environmental consultant. She has worked at Montgomery Watson-Hazra and Environmental Management Centre in Mumbai and at CH2M HILL in Oakland, California and in Dubai. Radha has extensive experience in environmental planning, groundwater and soil remediation, carbon assessment and development of strategies for carbon management, environmental and social assessment of development projects, industrial pollution control and pollution prevention, environmental monitoring, and hazardous waste management. She has also worked with various industrial sectors to develop sustainable practices for resource management and occupational health and safety. Radha has experience in institutional planning and development of learning materials and training for small and medium enterprises. As a project manager in the international consulting firm CH2M HILL, she was the Environmental Officer and part of the Sustainability Framework Development team for the City of Masdar under construction in Abu Dhabi. She has worked extensively in India, South-East Asia, South West Asia, United Kingdom and the United States.

For over 7 years she has been using her field experience to make Environmental Science learning more practical and meaningful for high school students at the Rishi Valley Education Centre (RVEC), Madanapalle, Andhra Pradesh. She has also been deeply engaged in issues around livelihoods and food sovereignty working with small and marginal farmers in the semi-arid region of Rayalseema in Andhra Pradesh. As Coordinator, Rishi Valley Special Development Area Programme (RVSDA) Radha was responsible for planning, day to day engagement with the local rural community of small and marginal farmers (across 32 hamlets in two Panchayats) to enable ecological conservation while ensuring inclusive, sustained and sustainable growth of all stakeholders. Responsibilities also include facilitation and negotiation, on behalf of the community, with State, District, Mandal and Panchayat level Government agencies, NGOs and Banks. During the course of this work, a small farmers cooperative was established which now provides livelihoods for over 80 farming families from milk and agricultural produce. The experiences from the community are developed into learning materials for the students at the RVEC. Several student projects were conducted around issues and challenges that the community faces in the semi-arid dryland ecosystem where the school and community are located.

Radha is currently a Co-producer Member of the Food Sovereignty Alliance (FSA), India. This is a network platform that includes adivasis, small farmers, pastoralists, dalits and co-producers (consumers proactively engaged in the food production process) actively engaged in issues around asserting food sovereignty.

Radha is currently a visiting faculty at Azim Premji University, Bengaluru with the School of Development. She is part of the team that developed the curriculum for the M.A. Development Programme with a specialisation in Livelihoods and in Sustainability. At present she is a member of the team that is developing an online course on Sustainability.

Academic Qualifications
  • Ph.D., Environmental Science and Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, Powai, Mumbai, India, 1994
  • M.Sc., Environmental Toxicology, Madras University, 1986
  • B.Sc., Genetics, Chemistry and Zoology Osmania University, 1984
Areas of Interest
  • Multiple knowledge systems and diverse ways of learning; Indigenous food systems and cultures and their role in adapting to climate change.
  • Democratic systems of governance and their role in natural resource management.
  • Innovative pedagogical approaches in learning and understanding sustainability particularly around food and food systems.
Research Interests
  • Biological remediation of groundwater and soil.
  • Use of integrated living systems in management of water and wastewater.
  • All of the areas of interest listed above.
Publications and Writings
  • Gopalan, R., Sekharan, K., Banerjee, M. EIA Methodology for India, In: Environmental Impact Assessment for Developing Countries, Ed. A.K. Biswas, S.C. Agarwala, Butterworth Heinemann, Oxford, 1992.
  • Gopalan, R., Swaminathan, T.S., Punekar, N.S. and Veeramani, H. Study of iron removal from ferric citrate medium by pure and mixed cultures of iron resistant microbes. Biotech. Lett., 15(4), 433-438 (1993)
  • Gopalan, R., Veeramani, H., Studies on microbial chromate reduction by Pseudomonas sp. in aerobic continuous suspended growth cultures. Biotechnol. Bioengg., 43(6), 471-476 (1994)
  • Gopalan, R., Veeramani, H., Studies on microbial chromate reduction by Pseudomonas sp. in aerobic continuous suspended growth cultures. Biotechnol. Bioengg., 43(6), 471-476 (1994)
  • Gopalan, R., Veeramani, H., Chemostat studies on iron removal from ferric citrate medium by aerobic culture of Aeromonas sp., Environmental Technology., 15, 895-900 (1994)
  • Gopalan. R., Veeramani, H., Development of a Pseudomonas sp. for aerobic chromate reduction. Biotechnol. Techniques., 8(7), 521-524 (1994).
  • Preparation of Case Studies on Alternative Technologies for Freshwater Augmentation in India, compiled for Danish Hydraulic Institute, Denmark towards preparation of a Sourcebook of Alternative Technologies for Freshwater Augmentation in Asia by UNEP, 1995.
  • Panneer Selvam, L., Kapoor, S., Modak, P., Gopalan, R., INDIA Review of the Effectiveness of Environmental Assessments in World Bank-Assisted Projects, Fiscal 1990-97. Environment Sector Management Unit, South Asia Region, World Bank, 1999.
  • Modak, P., Gopalan, R., Koh, A., Green Productivity, Process and Plant Engineering, Vol. XVII, No. 1, 19-25, April-June (1999).
  • Gopalan, R., Sustainable production and consumption of food - Is it a viable option? -In: In Search of Annapurna: Meeting the Evolutionary, Ecological & Ethical Needs of the Community. Ed. Prabha Krishnan, Pub. Trust for Re-education and Understanding True Health, Mumbai, 2000.
  • Gopalan, R. Sustainable Production and Consumption of Food - An Agenda for Action, Economic and Political Weekly, India. April 14, 2001.
  • Gopalan, R., A Study of the Performance of the Indian IT Sector. Conducted for Nautilus Institute for Security and Sustainable Development California Global Corporate Accountability Project. In: Dodging Dilemmas? Environmental and Social Accountability in the Global Operations of California-Based High Tech Companies, Zarsky L, Roht-Arrhiza, N and Brottem L. May 2002.
  • Gopalan, R. Remediation of Chromium in Groundwater - A Technology Review. Journal of Indian Water Works Association. April-June 2004.
  • Gopalan, R., Tossell, R., Mavis, J., Martins, K., Hendrickson, N. Comparative results of Ex situ Treatment of Hexavalent Chromium via Chemical Reduction and ion exchange. Batelle Conference: Remediation of Chlorinated and Recalcitrant Compounds. The Fourth International Conference. May 24-27, 2004, Monterey, California.
  • Gopalan, R. Holistic Approach. Down to Earth. September 30, 2011.
  • Gopalan, R. Poor Implementation of FRA. Economic and Political Weekly. Vol. 46, No. 20, May 14, 2011
  • Gopalan, R. Foreground Local Contexts. Economic and Political Weekly. Vol. 49, No. 12, March 22, 2014
  • Gopalan, R. PDS and the Rise of NCDs in Rural India. Economic and Political Weekly. Vol. 49, No. 14, April 5, 2014
  • Kalyanram K., Gopalan, R., Kartik K. Tensions in Livelihoods - A Rural Perspective. In: Handbook of Career Development - International Perspectives. Eds: Arulmani.G., Bakshi, A., Leong, F.T.L., Watts. A.G. Published by Springer, New York. February 2014.
  • Gopalan. R. Livelihoods and the Commons - the backbone of life in the Drylands. Biodiversity (Official Publication of the Biodiversity Conservancy International), Volume 15, Nos. 2-3. Drylands Special Issue. June-Sept. 2014.
  • Gopalan R. Grain Gamble. Down to Earth. September 1-15, 2015.
  • Gopalan R. Food Sovereignty - The Future of Food. A Reader on Food for University Students. Ed: In Press.

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