What do you explore in your PhD-project?
I am a part of the NaturICE research project that explores the plural values of human-nature relationships in glacierized environments. The project aims to identify the ways societies interact and engage with glaciers and how these relations are affected due to climate change and the ensuing glacier retreats. Within this broad focus, I will be studying ‘growth’ and ‘development’ as aspects of changing societal-glacier interactions in the Hindu Kush Himalayan (HKH) region, especially in India and Nepal.
What is your background? What did you do before starting your PhD at LUCSUS?
Before starting my PhD at LUCSUS, I was a master’s student in the LUMES programme (Lund University’s international master’s programme in Environmental Studies and Sustainability Science). Before that I was working as a research assistant at Azim Premji University’s Centre for Climate Change and Sustainability. I also have experience working in an environmental justice NGO in Bangalore, India, where I was a research associate and amongst my many responsibilities, I compiled litigations for urban environmental and sustainability issues that were filed in the High Court of Karnataka, India. I have also worked as a freelance illustrator, highlighting climate injustice issues in India through my art.
What made you want to apply for PhD studies at LUCSUS?
Having done my master’s degree in the LUMES programme, I was constantly exposed to the very relevant, interesting, and progressive research that was done at LUCSUS. The teaching was inspiring and encouraged me to explore my own potential as a researcher. This, along with the focus on collaborations and transdisciplinarity that I had the privilege to learn about and experience within the LUMES programme encouraged me to apply for a PhD at LUCSUS. Additionally, the NaturICE project really caught my eye as it focuses on several topics that are of personal and professional interest to me.
What excites you most about your work as a PhD student?
As a PhD student in the field of sustainability science, I have the opportunity to broaden my knowledge on an array of different topics ranging from glaciers, climate justice, degrowth, decolonialism, to the philosophy of sciences. As someone who enjoys constantly learning new things about the world, finding new and radical ways to contribute to climate justice, and learning how to be a better researcher, my work as a PhD student truly excites me. I am also very excited to work with my fellow PhD students and with my supervisors who are all extremely supportive and kind.
What do you hope your research can contribute with to society?
Understanding how societal-nature relationships in glacierised environments are changing due to glacier retreat is important and immediate. Our findings from this project can hopefully be used to create a different, unique, pluralistic, and vibrant narrative regarding the ways glaciers are discussed and encountered in the larger climate change discourses.
Sahana is a doctoral student at LUCSUS. She holds a bachelor's degree in economics and sustainable development from Azim Premji University (Bangalore, India) and a master's degree in environmental studies and sustainability science from Lund University. Prior to starting her doctoral studies, Sahana studied the role of Kerala's urban employment guarantee scheme in improving urban commons and human well-being. She has also previously worked at an environmental justice NGO and as an illustrator. Her current research is within the NATURICE project exploring the changing plural values of Himalayan communities due to glacial changes.