In a world where money rules and qualitative arguments are easily dismissed, how does the environmental movement build momentum? Our fifth climate expert interview is with Miriam Kugele, Global Senior Manager, Environment and Sustainability at the Aga Khan University (AKU). She shares how she communicates about environmental action to accelerate action and increase ambition.
After a childhood of climbing trees and playing outdoors in mountainous areas of the world, Miriam moved to Hong Kong on a UWC scholarship at 17. “Since then, I've mostly lived in ginormous cities, including many coastal cities in Asia. And there the environment takes on a whole new dimension where the ocean, the wind and other elements affect cities and people directly. But at the same time it’s easy to stay in a building and not see changes.
“We did social service at school and every weekend my group went out diving to monitor the conditions in a newly-designated marine protected area. There’s a whole ecosystem that few ever get to see. Our job was to make it visible, to gather data that became part of policy advice and education. Seeing the changes in the two years that I was involved was transformative.”
After a career in international development, the Aga Khan Development Network appealed to her as a nexus between development, academia and policy work. Based in Karachi, she is helping AKU to reduce waste, energy use and carbon emissions, invest in cleaner energy and assist suppliers and the global community to improve their environmental sustainability.
How do you make the case for sustainability?