Shalini Ramanathan

Shalini Ramanathan is a project developer with Africa Clean Energy and is based in Nairobi, Kenya.

A review of Wangari Maathai’s autobiography Unbowed

October 2004 was an exciting time to be a tree-hugger in Wangari Maathai‘s home country of Kenya. When she was announced as winner of that year’s Nobel Peace Prize, many of my environmentally inclined friends and colleagues were eager to help her figure out what to do with the giant megaphone she had just been handed. Earnest volunteers with ideas and expectations streamed in and out of the downtown Nairobi office hurriedly established to handle the crush of publicity, clutching notes on what they thought the new Nobel laureate should do. She already knew exactly what she wanted to do: …

How much more gorgeous do I have to be?

Kenya’s president sells out national parks for politics

If pieces of land could speak, that's the question the 155 sq. mile Amboseli National Game Reserve in Kenya might be asking itself. The Game Reserve was, until earlier this month, a National Park -- it was run by national authorities. President Kibaki, breaking half a dozen laws and procedures, degazetted Amboseli. He downgraded it to a Game Reserve, and gave control and management of it to the Maasai people who live in the area. The Maasai have no training or background in wilderness management or infrastructure maintenance.

Bollywood, are you reading this?

Indian movies need to take up the plastic-bag fight

Plastic bags may be banned in the Indian state of Maharashtra due to concerns that by clogging the city's drains they contributed to the floods that swept the coast last month and brought life to a halt in buzzing Bombay. There are protests from the predictable quarters; apparently, 20,000 people in the state are employed to painstakingly manufacture thin bags that are good for carrying one coconut for ten yards before stretching out and leaving you with a bag with a hole in it but no coconut.