Nivedita Pande, Environmentalist

London, Canada

“I was born and raised in the suburbs of Mumbai, India when most parts of the country faced acute water shortages, especially during the months of summer. The taps ran dry and when they did provide water, it was only for a couple hours a day and not safe to drink straight from the tap. Like most families in the early 90s, my parents could not afford purchasing water or a water purifier; hence, every morning began with my family boiling water and storing it in huge drums. Thus, it was imbibed in me to treat water as a privilege and a precious commodity, and to respect the finite nature of the resource. However, as a 10-year old, I wondered why we fell short of water each year when the globe resting on my father’s desk looked mostly blue! This fuelled my desire to pursue a career in environmental studies. After completing my bachelor’s in geology, I left Mumbai to pursue a master’s degree in hydrogeology and environmental geoscience in Germany. During that time, I also briefly worked in the Netherlands on geothermal energy technology. As I explored new countries, I saw that every country had their own set of water and environmental challenges. Each year, the news reported growing issues with drought, water quality and water conservation across Europe. When I moved to Canada in 2019, I was shocked to find boil-water advisories being issued to several communities just like I had seen as a child in India 20 years ago. These communities are the First Nations of Canada that have been deprived of the basic need of water for decades. For the past five years, I have been working in the environmental software sector supporting environmental data management. In today’s world, whoever has data has the power, and managing this power efficiently is crucial to providing decision makers and stakeholders with the right knowledge to help alleviate environmental issues. Today, as I fill my glass of drinking water straight out of the tap, I am reminded that water is a global issue - one that is not limited to developing countries. Each one of us can be an agent of change by doing our part in making environmentally conscious decisions in everyday life, and by electing governments that prioritize policies that are inclusive of minorities and marginalized communities. As I volunteer with initiatives that advocate for a cleaner environment and safe water, I no longer view water as a privilege; it is a right.” Nivedita Pande, Environmentalist


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