This month, we interviewed SanDiego350 volunteer, Sanjiv Nanda to share about their climate activism. Sanjiv is a member of the Transportation team and a leading member of the microtransit working group, and the After the Gas Tax climate chat planning group.
How did you first get involved with SD350, and when was that?
I was introduced to SanDiego350 by La Mesa Council Member Jack Shu in March of 2022, when my contract at SANDAG was coming to an end. I had worked on the 2021 Regional Transportation Plan and the Digital Divide Task Force at SANDAG, I wanted to continue to pursue important initiatives for our region, especially microtransit (electric shuttles that provide shared last mile transportation) that expands equitable access to underserved communities.
What drives your activism?
My inspiration comes from my father, who spent the last third of his life as an activist in India for the Azadi Bachao Aandolan (Agitation to Save Freedom) opposing globalization and the exploitation of the earth’s resources by multinational corporations. He believed in the Gandhian principle of making do with less.
His favorite quote was from Margaret Mead: Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.
What do you recommend to people who want to have a larger impact through the environmental movement? What do you prioritize in your own activism?
I am in awe of the level of activism, drive, and involvement of the large contingent of young people in SanDiego350. I see that they are driven by righteous action, as was my dad. Their energy energizes my activism.
My own skills lie in research, analysis, and writing. In the Transportation team I found numerous members who have studied deeply the science, policy and legislation related to vehicle miles travelled, greenhouse gas emissions, ‘clean’ fuels, hydrogen, and batteries. On microtransit, we did a Climate Chat and a Community Workshop with experts, we have published a white paper and two blog posts. We have recently submitted an op ed to the Union Tribune entitled Mileage Fees are an Equitable Replacement for Falling Gas Tax Revenues.
Is there anything else you would like people to know about you? Any fun facts?
I love to hike and explore the Borrego Badlands. I am a popular hike leader with the Anza-Borrego Desert Natural History Association (ABDNHA), where I like to rate my hikes on a Wow! scale. I write appreciations of awe-inspiring desert landscapes and the resilience of desert flora and fauna for The Sand Paper published five times a year by ABDNHA.