Lauren Ladov

“I have a question,” Iliana said raising her hand and beckoning me over to her seat just before class ended. “Maybe you won’t be able to answer this,” she paused. “Well I’ll try, what’s up?” “So all this stuff with this environment and climate, is it irreversible?” Words piled up in my mouth, not sure...

  While working on farms and learning about seed preservation this past year for the Fulbright-National Geographic Storytelling Fellowship, I have really gotten to eat some amazing foods. If my hands weren’t in the soil or toiling with seeds, they were usually grabbing the nearest edible item. People talk about how amazing Indian cuisine is...

“This is a seed. The seed comes from the tree, the tree comes from the seed. It’s like the chicken and the egg. If people want to understand it, they will break the seed apart — they will actually kill it — to see the cells, the chromosomes and the genetics. There is another way to look...

Mayur does not know how to swim. “How could I? You can’t swim in this,” he says, pointing to the Arabian sea. “And it’s not like I can go to some private pool.” The tide on Mumbai’s Juhu Beach is low, revealing webs of plastic bags, bottles, and other detritus flanking each side of the...

Dipali, a young girl half my size, fetched me from a busy intersection in Dharavi, a locality in Mumbai with one of the largest slums in the world. While she led me to her after school program, we talked about her classes, how many languages she knows (4), and her extra-curriculum studies in coding.  She...

Dear Educators, I never learned what diversity really is. Maybe I was taught that it is the concept of having differences — like various opinions, races, ages. That might be what diversity looks like on the surface, but what does it mean? When we talk about diversity in ecosystems, we use the term “biodiversity” (shortened...

We determine the health of our economies and state of human progress through Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Under the theory of GDP, a forest is worthless until it is cut down. If greenhouse gases increase, so does the GDP.  Such a tool of measurement perpetuates and relies on killing ecosystems and keeping unhealthy citizens in...

The secret ingredient for amazing aloo parathas: freshly ground and toasted cumin (full recipe at end of article). Jayashree Saha smiles excitedly as she cups the cumin in her hand under my nose. The smell sends a smile across my face immediately. I met Saha at Bija Vidyapeeth, the educational farm managed by the agricultural and...

Dear Educators, Let’s Talk Water Have you and your students experimented with sprouting seeds in the classroom? Set up two growing stations with soil and seed. See what happens when one stations is watered and one is not. From your experiments, you’ll find that water triggers life. When astronauts go to space, they look for water,...

“I cut all the pictures out of my textbook…they were so…” My friend Anu doesn’t finish her thought. She doesn’t have to. I know the words that she can use, but they will never fully articulate the horrific, gruesome, tragic images depicting the event of the 1984 Bhopal Gas Disaster, considered by many to be the...

Dear Educators, I hope this message finds you well. I want to thank you for the work you are doing — sharing your knowledge and unyielding energy with your students. You are changing the world. And the world is changing quite a bit around us. While many of us had the opportunity last week to voice...

“All plants are medicine,” Dr. Raghubir Singh Rawat, the herbal gardener at Navdanya, exclaims proudly with a hint of mystery to his voice. Dr. Rawat bends down to examine a seemingly mundane but prolific weed, “this is used for eye health,” he says before popping the small white diamond-shape flower in his mouth. He stretches above his...

Not pictured: the dozens of hands cutting, sorting and hauling rice. The sweat-soaked saris and brows. The awe of witnessing the preservation of biodiversity.      ...

The first seeds I ever saved were marigold seeds. At the time, I was a garden educator at a small neighborhood environmental nonprofit in Camden, New Jersey. The Center for Environmental Transformation(CFET) is situated in the South Waterfront neighborhood, an old urban community enclosed by industrial facilities which not only restrict access to the nearby waterfront, but...