Anya is the Executive Assistant to the Director at the San Francisco Department of the Environment. She has worked in outreach and pollution prevention and managed programs and projects for the department for 4 years. Prior to working in the environmental field, she received her MBA and worked as a marketing consultant to education non profits in India and the US for 9 years. On realizing that environmental education is the need of the hour, she leveraged her passion for the environment to develop a career in the green sector. Anya serves as the Membership Chair on the WEN Board.
How did you become involved in your current career?
I was very passionate about environmental conservation from a very young age. Unfortunately, at the time, the scope for environmental work in India was limited. But when I moved to San Francisco, I attended SF Green Festival and found others like me. I interned with the department to find out what the work was like. It was not an easy move after 10 years of experience. I worked my way up in the department and I am glad I made the shift.
What environmental issues are of most concern to you?
Barbara Brenner, the hell-raiser of breast cancer elimination movement said, all social justice issues are connected. Of those, I see environmental justice as the most crucial issue we must invest in. Now more than ever, the environment seems to be playing a large role in social inequity. Through zero waste, pollution prevention, renewable energy, cradle to cradle processes, environmental justice can be achieved, thus alleviating a lot of other deeply connected social issues.
What do you think are some challenges and opportunities facing women in the environmental movement today?
In the STEM fields of the environmental movement, women are facing the same challenges as their counterparts in other industries. There are many opportunities for women in the STEM fields and women considering the environmental movement should grab on to these whenever they can. In grassroots movements and environmental education fronts though, women have had a strong voice and it is being heard loud and clear.
What are your suggestions on how WEN members can become more involved in your sector and the environmental movement?
The environmental movement has something for everyone. It is something that binds us all. In politicizing and pigeon holing the movement, a lot of the meaning has changed over the years. But to be an environmentalist can also mean connecting with nature, buying less throw away products and investing in companies that do good. The Department has an amazing volunteering program that lets introduces you to the mind boggling world of environmental issues and gives you simple steps to be a more conscious earth resident.