Clara Kollm

Clara Kollm (Chintan Environmental Action and Research Group - Chintan): During her undergraduate study, Clara worked abroad in Thailand and travelled widely in Southeast Asia. At the time of her fellowship, she was pursuing a B.S. in Environmental Science and Policy from the University of Maryland, College Park. While at UMD, Clara also completed a minor in International Development and Conflict Management and a certificate in Public Leadership. She also interned in Washington D.C. with a non-profit environmental law firm, Earthjustice. After her fellowship Clara wrote: "Being in India and learning about an international NGO is invaluable to me and my education. This experience ...has given me a greater appreciation for the human condition. This was my first experience with that level of poverty, and I predict that this experience will continue to influence my life choices.”

World Environment Day

07 Jun

I have successfully made it to Delhi and I started work right away! I arrived in the middle of the night and then worked the following day and all through the weekend because Chintan was very busy for World Environment Day, which meant that I was thrown right into the action.

Chintan’s main event occurred at a luxury mall about 45min from the office, and involved asking patrons to sign pledges on leaf stickers to support the environment. After they were signed, the leaves were placed onto two baron trees. By the end of the three days both trees were full of pledges!

This event was purely for outreach and did not specifically involve Chintan’s work with waste-picker communities. Despite the decent amount of patron participation, it was clear that both the staff and the patrons were split on the effectiveness of such an event. I was asked by one man if “I thought I was making a difference” and another asked me “Do you really think people will follow this pledge? What is the point?” While others were overjoyed to take a pledge and took pictures with the trees.

These skeptics echoed my own interpretation of event, and brought up important questions about how to best raise awareness for environmental issues. What do you think, do outreach events such as this really work?

Despite my skepticism the pledge signing was a huge success! People seemed to love the activity of placing a leaf on the tree to make it come alive, and the basil planting was a huge hit. Below is a short film about my three days at the mall that includes some great pictures and interviews. Enjoy!


Posted By Clara Kollm

Posted Jun 7th, 2011


  • Tori

    June 8, 2011


    Great work, Clara! It’s so exciting to see all of the things you’re already doing!

  • Carol

    June 8, 2011


    Well done!! I love the leaves on a tree, making the world a better place. And these are things we can all do!

  • Ankit

    June 8, 2011


    Good one & i must say you are creative!

  • Kristina

    June 9, 2011


    Looks like you’re off to a great start Clara! I think that even though people may question whether events like these actually make a difference, they really do work. Just by raising the question in people’s mind, you get them to start thinking about how they’ve acted in the past and what they might change about their habits in the future. Maybe someone did not realize before the different things they could do to better the environment. I think events like these are great because they raise awareness, even in the non-believers who are hesitant to admit that the pledge did make a difference. Good luck and keep doing what you’re doing— I can’t wait to read more about it!!

  • Jeanna Peha

    June 10, 2011


    I came across your blog and was impressed. You have some very good information in here. Where do you choose to research – just curious of course? Keep up the excellent journaling.

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