The serial eco-entrepreneur
Updated: Sep 2, 2019
Niranjan Upasani, Batch 2003-04
Humans of Ecological Society Pune
Ever since Niranjan Upasani was initiated into the world of ecology and sustainability at Ecological Society, Pune, his mind is always brimming with solutions to ecological problems. He has successfully worked on over 25 products, services and ventures for the ecology, and for the future.
Niranjan learnt the micro and macro perspectives of ecology from three sources: Sustainable Management of Natural Resources & Nature Conservation at the Ecological Society in 2003-04, entomology at the Bombay Natural History Society, and a course in ornithology by Satish Pande. He also credits his library of 1,200 documentaries (what?!) for helping him understand ecology even better, and he learnt the tricks of entrepreneurship at SP Jain college in Mumbai.
The Ecological Society course showed Niranjan and his batchmates the extent of destruction that humans have caused. For many, the burden of this information was so depressing that they dropped out of the course. It was hard to think about solutions. That’s when Niranjan decided that his work would have to revolve around solutions, even though he knew that converting awareness to business would be difficult.
Since 2004, Niranjan has initiated and successfully run many ventures, conducted many sessions, and created many products. Some were started while he had a full-time job as a Japanese language specialist. He became a full fledged eco-entrepreneur, or ecopreneur, in 2008. In the past 15 years, he has been a creator and executor at Ecoscapes (ecological trips for children), Sundara Vasundhara (urban biodiversity festival), Blueweiss Environment Enrichers Pvt Ltd, and innumerable sessions on subjects like Toxin Free Living, Amrit Mitti, urban biodiversity, wood work, rainwater harvesting, waste management, urban food gardens, and so much more.
The 46 year old is driven by the lack of innovation he has observed for ecological problems. But the birth of his son Prithvi made solution finding even more urgent and personal. He began looking at the future through the eyes of his little boy. His son is a symbol of the future that Niranjan is working for.
When Prithvi turned one in January 2013, Niranjan made a promise to him -- he would ensure that the rivers in Pune were so clean that Prithvi would be able to swim in them. And thus, Niranjan envisioned Jeevitnadi, the Pune-based NGO that now works on river rejuvenation. According to Niranjan, the river is a representative ecosystem, where people's actions are reflected. For him, it reflects the success or failure of all the solutions he works, whether they are rainwater harvesting or solid waste management.
As Jeevitnadi grew and more people joined, many new ideas of awareness and solutions were added. He’s thrilled that the Jeevitnadi team is fantastic. And he himself isn’t going to stop till the river is clean, neither will he accept any awards; the clean river will be an award in itself.
The Sustainable Living Integrated Solutions, which he runs with two partners since June 2016, is a platform where Niranjan has been able to incorporate all solutions that he has worked on so far. Not only are goods exchanged at the store, but it has also become an educational hub. Niranjan realised that many people don't have time to do the course. He firmly believes that transformation can also be through daily life solutions of ecology based living. Currently, he is leading workshops on the method of making idols from clay in your garden, the myth of shadu idols. You can reach out to him for one!
To be able to innovate, Niranjan makes a conscious attempt to expose himself to new people and different environments, and prefers not to meet the same group. He is worried that people concerned about the environment are not thinking about new ways to solve problems.
Niranjan insists, “It’s only when you have 100 ideas that one of them will succeed. And for this, we must have regular brainstorming sessions, where we evaluate ideas, create products and services, and support people who have good eco-solutions!”
You can find Niranjan at
Sustainable Living Integrated Solutions
Address: 1, Natraj Society, Near Pune People's Co-op Bank, Vithal Mandir Rd, Natraj Housing Society, Karve Nagar, Pune, Maharashtra 411052
Hours: 9.30AM - 8:30PM
Phone: 077200 37799
Photos 1, 2, 3 and 6 by Tushar Sarode. Photos 4 and 5 from Niranjan.