Meet The Young Woman Who Is Turning Conservation Heads All Over The World

Shyla Raghav is a Yale University student who is really turning heads among the global conservation community. A climate expert with Conservation International, Raghav played an integral role in getting the 2016 Paris Agreement signed by 195 countries. The Paris Agreement focused on outlining global cooperative efforts to address the issue of rising temperatures. Last year, President Trump backed the United States out of the agreement, so now Raghav is working diligently toward those same efforts within the private sector.

The Global Climate Action Summit in California is scheduled for this September and Raghav hopes the meeting will act as a major venue for negotiating some serious issues, something that seems to counter the stance the federal government seems to be taking.

Raghav grew up in parts of Saudi Arabia and Nigeria, and she attests that the effects of global warming are very much a real issue. In a recent report with InStyle, she said that during a recent visit with her family in Delhi, the smog and pollution were so heavy that the planes at the airport weren’t even able to take off due to the lack of visibility.

She’s a pretty experienced globetrotter, too. She traveled to Dominica in the Caribbean shortly after earning her master’s degree in environmental management from Yale. The purpose of her trip was to study global warming and its impact on smaller island nations. The interview with InStyle states that it was this study of small island nations, as well as other developing nations around the world that really drives her motivation to tackle climate change on a global level.

Raghav is very concerned with Trump administration’s decision to pull out of the Paris Agreement last year. One of climate change’s biggest hurdles is convincing big decision makers that the issue actually exists in the first place. Whenever something as large and influential as the United States government questions the issue, it acts as a major setback to the mission of negating the effects of global warming.

She believes that the impact of the decision runs deeper than people realize. Other countries who see the climate change as a serious issue are already investing in future energy projects and the United States is nowhere on that particular playing field.

However, Raghav is confident that it’s the concerned U.S. citizens that will have the biggest impact on future projects involving climate change.

“The toughest part of my job is convincing people to act on climate change when it may not seem like it’s in their immediate financial interest,” she said in her interview with InStyle. “People don’t realize that we haven’t done a very good job at fully considering the cost of inaction until disaster strikes. Then the cost of inaction looks like hurricane Maria or Irma. I think this is an issue of short term versus long term.”