J500 Media and the Environment

About Me: Simran Sethi by j500

The official bio is below, but the reason I’m here on this blog is because I created it. I teach environmental and sustainability communications courses at the University of Kansas School of Journalism and Mass Communications. I’m the School’s Lacy C. Haynes Professional-in-Residence, which means I teach, conduct research for my book, and work in the field. I’m also a courtesy faculty with the Environmental Studies department. I’m a freelance journalist the creator of Sundance Channel’s environmental justice series The Good Fight, and the author of an upcoming book on eco-elitism and the power of the prairie. All of these opportunities are amazing, but one of my greatest joys is bringing these experiences back into the classroom at KU.

I never expected to be an environmental story-teller: I have never taken a journalism class and failed the one class I did take on The Earth. I failed it because it focused on the shifting of tectonic plates and bored me to tears. To this day, I only care about tectonic shifts relative to how they impact communities. I saw the impacts of multi-national corporations on poor communities in India (after a long tenure at MTV News, making documentaries in the US, then being asked to join on-air and anchor the news for MTV Asia and create the news department for MTV India) and I knew I wanted to tell those stories. But I didn’t have the language to do it. So I went back to school to get an MBA in sustainable management, looking at the social and environmental impacts of business, and learning how to tell the stories I have the privilege of telling today.

This course is designed to give students the language and literacy required to tell stories about our environment – from how we eat to what we wear, from how we work to how we live. We don’t exist outside of our eco-system, and we all care about our future. In my mind, that makes each of us environmentalists, every day (whether we’re vegan or omnivores, treehugging conservatives or liberal businessfolks, we aren’t just one thing.).

What I hope is that, in this course, we start to see the ways in which we share values and desired outcomes, and we develop the language for bridging divides, inspiring people to action, and ensuring the sustainability of our natural resources for all.

The Official Bio:

Simran Sethi is an Emmy award-winning journalist and the Lacy C. Haynes Visiting Professional Chair at the University of Kansas School of Journalism and Mass Communications, where she teaches courses on sustainability and environmental communications. She is currently writing a book on eco-elitism to be published by Harper Collins in March 2010 and is the contributing author of Ethical Markets: Growing the Green Economy, winner of the bronze 2008 Axiom Award for Best Business Ethics book. Simran is the founding host/writer of Sundance Channel’s environmental programming The Green and the creator of the Sundance web series The Good Fight, highlighting global environmental justice efforts and grassroots activism.

Named one of the top ten eco-heroes of the planet by the UK’s Independent and lauded as the “environmental messenger” by Vanity Fair, Simran has contributed segments to Nightly News with Brian Williams, Oprah Winfrey Show, Today Show, CNBC, Ellen DeGeneres Show, Martha Stewart Show and the History Channel.  She is committed to a redefinition of environmentalism that includes voices from the prairie, the inner city and the global community.  Simran serves on the Sustainability Advisory Board in Lawrence, Kansas and is the Chair of the City’s working group on climate change policy, education and outreach.

Simran currently blogs about energy policy and life cycle analysis for The Huffington Post and Alternet.  She has been a featured guest on NPR and is the host of the Emmy-award winning PBS documentary, “A School in the Woods.”  She has lectured at institutions ranging from the Commonwealth Club and Cornell University to Lawrence High School and Temple Beth Haverim; keynoted conferences including Bioneers by the Bay, the Green Business Conference, and the North American Association For Environmental Education; and moderated panels for the Clinton Global Initiative University, Demos and the Climate Group.

Simran is an associate fellow at the Asia Society.  She holds an M.B.A. in sustainable business from the Presidio School of Management and graduated cum laude with a B.A. in Sociology and Women’s Studies from Smith College.  She is the 2009 recipient of the Smith College Medal, awarded to alumnae demonstrating extraordinary professional achievements and outstanding service to their communities.

-Simran Sethi


4 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Your Second Life avatar is pretty rockin’. Repost your video. I want to hear what you have to say (always)!


Comment by kimwallace

You are so inspiring and amazing!


Comment by julianat

Hello Simran – We met a couple of years ago on a NYC/SFO flight, and I rediscovered your card after clearing out my office. (hopefully my website will jog your memory if my name doesn’t ring a bell) Wonderful to see what you are doing; such exciting work!

Comment by Erica Sandberg

Hello Simran Sethi,
I am a student at Wartburg College in Waverly, Iowa and I was hoping to get an e-mail where I could contact you. I have a Go-Green project for my Oral Communication class and I was hoping to e-mail you with a few questions. It’d be great if you could e-mail me if you have time. My e-mail is jess_stadler54@hotmail.com. Thanks!

Comment by Jess

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