Radha Gopalan

Areas of Interest & Expertise

  • Systems View of Life
  • Place-based Education
  • Food Sovereignty
  • Politics of Food Systems
  • Urbanisation and Sustainability
  • Democracy and The Commons


Radha Gopalan is a visiting faculty at the School of Development. 

She was trained as an Environmental Scientist and has a PhD in Environmental Science and Engineering from IIT, Mumbai. For over 20 years, Radha worked in environmental consulting both in India and overseas. The projects she was involved in included environmental and social assessment, cleaner production technologies, hazardous waste management and remediation of soil and groundwater, urban planning and sustainability reporting. 

Radha then decided that she wanted to teach and learn with children and young people. She has been developing resources to make natural history and science learning more practical and meaningful for school students. Radha is deeply engaged in issues around food sovereignty which emerged from working closely with small farmers in semi-arid regions of Andhra Pradesh. She is a Member of the Kudali Intergenerational Learning Centre and the Food Sovereignty Alliance, India both of which focus on using popular education to understand how we can work towards social and ecological justice. 

Radha regularly collaborates with various researchers on diverse topics including political ecology, urban biodiversity and sustainability. Her interest in science education brought her to being one of the editors of iwonder…, the University’s science magazine, aimed as a resource for middle and high school teachers. Radha is a senior mentor and course designer with GenWise and works with school children to strengthen understanding of the interconnectedness of all life forms. 

Radha sees her long-standing study of yoga as central to uncluttering’ and bringing a semblance of balance in her life. She lives in Thiruvananthapuram where she is trying to re-wild’ their home, engage actively around sustainability, the urban commons and try and create democratic, learning spaces, particularly for children and young people.

Certificate Courses

Book Chapters

Gopalan, R., Sekharan, K., Banerjee, M. (1992). EIA Methodology for India, In: Environmental Impact Assessment for Developing Countries, Ed. A.K. Biswas, S.C. Agarwala, Butterworth Heinemann, Oxford, 1992

Gopalan, R., Sustainable production and consumption of food – Is it a viable option? (2000). 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. 

Kalyanram K., Gopalan, R., Kartik K. Tensions in Livelihoods – A Rural Perspective (2014). 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. Food Sovereignty: The Future of Food (2018). In: Farm to Fingers: The Culture and Politics of Food in Contemporary India. Ed: K. Bhushi. Cambridge Univ Press. 

Selected Publications

Modak, P., Gopalan, R., Koh, A. (1999). Green Productivity, Process and Plant Engineering, Vol. XVII, No. 1, 19 – 25

Gopalan, R. Sustainable Production and Consumption of Food – An Agenda for Action. (2001) Economic and Political Weekly, India. April 142001

Gopalan, R. (2002). A Study of the Performance of the Indian IT Sector. 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. (2004). Remediation of Chromium in Groundwater – A Technology Review. Journal of Indian Water Works Association. April-June 2004

Gopalan, R., Sathaye, S. (2013). Educating to be a Part of not Apart from the Environment. J. of the Krishnamurti Schools. Issue 17, January 2013.

Gopalan. R. Livelihoods and the Commons – the backbone of life in the Drylands.(2014). Biodiversity (Official Publication of the Biodiversity Conservancy International), Volume 15, Nos. 2 – 3. Drylands Special Issue. June-Sept. 2014

Gopalan R. (2015). Grain Gamble. Down to Earth. September 1 – 152015.

Gopalan R. (2016). Towards Food Sovereignty. Samudra Report. No. 72. January 2016

Gopalan R. (2016). The Winter of our Disconnect and the Neglect of Soil. Analytical Monthly Review. January 2016

Gopalan R. (2016). An Agro- Ecological Way Through the Sugarcane Problem – Before We Quickly Resort to GM Crops. The Wire. May 122016 

Gopalan R. (2016). Science and the Scientist in a Changing Climate. Economic and Political Weekly. Vol. 51, No. 28, July 92016.

Adi Narayana N., Apparao.S, Charanya R., Murugamma V., Gopalan, R., Ramdas, S.R., Srikrupa R., Yadgiri G. and Yellaiah Ch. (2017). The Milk Crisis in India – the story behind the numbers. Food Sovereignty Alliance, India and CAW, Coventry University, UK

Gopalan R. (2018). Getting to the Soul of the Soil. iwonderScience Magazine, Issue No. 4. January 2018. Azim Premji University.

Murugamma. A., Anandrao., Charanya. R, Adinarayana. N., Nookaraju, S., Gopalan, R., Ramdas, S.R., Satyamma, Ramarao, S., Vaikunta, S., Shyamamma, Food Sovereignty Alliance, India. Rev. Abraham, M., Maliekal, A., Valsangkar, S., Catholic Health Association of India. Ibrahim, G., Thar, R., Jain, A. Nirmala Niketan College of Home Science. (2018) Exploring the Potential of Diversified Traditional Food Systems to contribute to a Healthy Diet. Food Sovereignty Alliance India, Catholic Health Association India. 2018. Published by Catholic Health Association India. 

Gopalan, R. (2018). Powering (Human) Life on Earth. iwonder… Science Magazine, Issue No. 5, November 2018. Azim Premji University.

Gopalan, R. (2020). Structure and Spontaneity. A Fine Balancing Act. J. of Krishnamurti Schools. Issue 24. January 2020.

Gopalan, R. (2021). Plant-based Diet isn’t Best for Nutrition and Combating Climate Change. The India Forum. July 152021.