Events & Media

The Bren School of Environmental Science & Management
at the University of California, Santa Barbara



"Rainforest Etiquette in a World Gone Mad"

Suprabha Seshan, Ecologist
Gurukula Botanical Sanctuary, Kerala, India

Thursday, Nov. 10, 2011
4:30 p.m.
Bren Hall 1414

"Suprabha focuses on restoring natural habitats through integrated conservation practices — those that account for existing links between plants, climate, lands, humans, and livelihoods. She seeks to create a healthy alliance between people and the environment." - Mary Collins, host and Bren PhD student

Co-sponsored by the Bren Student Environmental Justice Club

In this talk, Subrabha draws on her twenty years of experience in the forests of southern India to share the lives of plants, animals, and humans, as well as her mountain home in the Wayanad District. She invites an exploration of a life in community with non-humans,and of the two contrasting aspects of nature that ecosystem gardeners work with: resilience and fragility. The forest and its myriad inhabitants can return, but only when certain conditions are met and only with the right kind of help. This is critical: with the right kind of help, the forest and its beings grows outward again. The truth, however, is that 93 percent of the Western Ghat mountains are already destroyed. The remaining habitats are fragmented badly. Suprabha calls attention to the beauty of these mountain forests and their precarious toehold in an India where the environment is frequently sacrificed to economic interests. The questions that drive the sanctuary’s work echo through her presentation: What must we do to bring the forests back? What is it to listen to the natural world? What do the plants have to say? Whom do we love?

Suprabha Seshan is an ecologist and educator at the Gurukula Botanical Sanctuary (GBS), a forest garden in the Western Ghat mountains of Kerala, India, dedicated to the preservation of plant species, restoration ecology, and environmental education. She won the 2006 Whitley Award (UK’s top environmental prize), and has traveled widely speaking about the ecological basis for a healthy planet that maintains wild plants, wild animals, and their wild environments. Suprabha is currently on a speaking tour through Europe and the United States, sponsored by writer Arundhati Roy and singer-songwriter KT Tunstall, both sanctuary supporters.

NOTE: Community colloquia are generally talks of broad interest geared toward a diverse, sophisticated audience. Their purpose is not only to enhance knowledge and understanding, but also to bring people together and promote interaction that will strengthen the community.


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