profile image

Sangita Iyer

Broadcast journalist, Non-Traditional Environmental Educator & Film Producer (B.Sc., M.A.)

Sangita Iyer is a highly experienced award-winning nature & wildlife journalist, an independent documentary filmmaker, and a biologist. She received the Nari Shakti Puraskar (Woman Power Award) - the highest award for women making a difference in India - from the Honorable President, Sri Pranab Mukherjee on the 2017 International Women's Day, for her courage and dedication to exposing the atrocities against Asian elephants.

She is the Director and Producer of the epic documentary Gods in Shackles that exposes the truth behind glamorous cultural festivals in the southern Indian state of Kerala where temple elephants are exploited for profit under the guise of culture and religion.

Gods in Shackles has won 10 awards, including the Best Feature Documentary Award at the Cayman Island Film Festival, and was nominated at the United Nations General Assembly by the prestigious International Elephant Film Festival (UN, CITES, Jacksonhole Film Festival).

Sangita co-founded the Bermuda Environmental Alliance, a non-profit organization dedicated to educating the public on environmental issues, and providing practical solutions that would foster environmental stewardship. She has worked in the media for over a decade, and until September 2008 she was one of the most familiar faces of television news on Bermuda's ABC/CBS affiliate. Given this experience, she effectively harnesses the power of sounds and images in her environmental documentary films.

Sangita was the host, executive director, and producer of the Bermuda Environmental Alliance’s six-part series, Bermuda – Nature's Jewel, which received the 2012 Bermuda National Trust award for environmental awareness and is currently being used as an educational aid in Bermuda’s schools. A four-part miniseries was featured on Discovery Channel Canada’s Daily Planet, which draws more than four million viewers.

Sangita has received numerous awards including the "Founder's Award for Leadership, Sustainability, and Personal Development" in May 2013, and the "Award of Excellence" for her Masters' thesis documentary, Connecting the Dots: television news media and climate change, at the International Film Festival for Environment, Health, and Culture in Indonesia. In 2008 Sangita was named the "Best Broadcast Journalist" by the popular Bermudian magazine, and she also received the inaugural DeForest Trimingham Award – top environmental awareness award from the Bermuda National Trust for her 13-part documentary series Enviro Shorts. The series, which was commended by the Senate and the House of Assembly, is currently being used as an educational aid in schools.

In September 2012 Sangita was one of the few Canadians selected for The Climate Reality Project training by Al Gore, which further inspired her to write for The Huffington Post. She is a public speaker and has delivered keynote speeches, made presentations in schools, universities, and government departments.

Sangita holds a Masters in Environmental Education and Communication, a B. Sc. in Biology from the University of Bombay, India, and a post-graduate Diploma in Broadcast Journalism (Dean’s Honorary Role) from Humber College Toronto (Canada). Sangita has received numerous scholarships and awards. For details on her awards visit www.godsinshackles.com

"We stand at a critical moment in Earth's history, a time when humanity must choose its future. As the world becomes increasingly interdependent and fragile, the future at once holds great peril and great promise" (The Earth Charter, 2000).
Don't Torture Elephants in the Name of Andrea Booher via Getty Images

Don't Torture Elephants in the Name of Religion

Elephants are being commoditized by a select few clever craftsmen that make all the profit, while the masses are being led to believe that Gods will be happy. People need to wake up to the reprehensible fact that in the guise of religion and culture India's heritage animal and one of the gentlest sentient beings of our planet is being tortured for human entertainment and profit.
02/14/2014 05:21 EST
The Elephant Who Stole My ASSOCIATED PRESS

The Elephant Who Stole My Heart

Through my sojourns during my recent visit to Kerala, Lakshmi -- the most gorgeous 25-year-old female Asian elephant -- left an indelible impression. It was love at first sight. Lakshmi captured my heart and soul with her intense brown eyes, grace, and pious, but most importantly by opening her heart and showering me with unconditional love.
01/30/2014 12:32 EST
Seeing the Mistreatment of Elephants in India Was Getty

Seeing the Mistreatment of Elephants in India Was Haunting

This past December, I visited some of the most prestigious temples in a place called Trishur where captive male tuskers adorned in glamorous ornaments are paraded on the streets to the rhythm of traditional drum beats and horns. It was gut-wrenching to witness the plight of the captive elephants.
01/07/2014 12:31 EST
For Elephants, Indian Festival Season is Pure Getty

For Elephants, Indian Festival Season is Pure Torture

Elephants, those gentle giants, are one of the most majestic, intelligent and fascinating animals. In India alone, there are more than 3,000 captive elephants. In Kerala, festivals run from November through May, with May unravelling the most spectacular display of the majestic elephants to entertain people, but the most torturous season for these animals.
12/03/2013 12:12 EST
What's Brewing Beneath the GMO Food Labelling Getty

What's Brewing Beneath the GMO Food Labelling Battle?

If food items carrying genetically modified organisms (GMO) are safe, why is the biotech industry vehemently refusing to label, and in fact pumping in millions of dollars to defeat measures that call for conspicuous food labelling? This question, raised by nutrition experts and farmers, is more relevant now than ever before.
11/12/2013 12:08 EST
Do You Know How Much From Your Pocket is Being Diverted to Carbon Getty

Do You Know How Much From Your Pocket is Being Diverted to Carbon Costs?

The stakes are too high for us to carry on with our lives as though 'business as usual'. The long overdue policy and political changes could perhaps be brought forth by educating the public on the imperatives of carbon control in the atmosphere, which could spur political action. Human activities are generating greenhouse gases that are directly linked to the rise in global temperatures.
10/21/2013 05:31 EDT
Does Monsanto Deserve a Prize for AP

Does Monsanto Deserve a Prize for Agriculture?

If you thought our global food crisis can't get any worse, guess who's winning this year's Nobel Prize of Agriculture? Robert T Fraley, Executive VP of Monsanto is one of the recipients of this prestigious award (equivalent to the Oscars) on World Food Day October 16 for creating genetically modified organism (GMO).
10/14/2013 10:53 EDT
What We've Done to the Environment Is Haunting Us AP

What We've Done to the Environment Is Haunting Us Now

It's becoming clearer that what we are putting into the environment is returning to haunt us, resulting in unnecessary loss of lives, malnourishment, disease and starvation. Another key lesson is, the developed nations are not shielded from climate change, nor do they have the capacity to deal with a devastation of such cataclysmic proportion as the recent severe weather event in Colorado.
09/23/2013 05:10 EDT
When the Population Explodes, Wildlife Getty

When the Population Explodes, Wildlife Suffers

Population explosion is already having detrimental consequences on many environmental and social aspects, but for the purposes of this article, I'll focus on the loss of biodiversity, specifically the tragic loss of wildlife fueled by demand for their body parts in Asia, especially in China.
09/03/2013 12:19 EDT
Every Single Creature on Earth Has a Role to Shutterstock

Every Single Creature on Earth Has a Role to Play

Why aren't other sentient beings receiving the same respect as humans? You see, every single creature on the planet has a role to play, but just because humans don't see the intrinsic characteristics, they tend to treat the other creatures with disregard.
08/14/2013 05:56 EDT
The Climate Change Dilemma for

The Climate Change Dilemma for Investors

In this sequel to my previous article, I shed light on some of the recent divestment decisions by European banks, sending a stern message to the fossil fuel sector. I've also featured researchers who...
08/06/2013 02:23 EDT
An Economic Case To Protect Our Natural

An Economic Case To Protect Our Natural Treasures

In a world dominated by the almighty dollar, it's becoming more important now than ever before to put a price tag to our natural treasures, as human induced global warming continues to obliterate cora...
07/29/2013 12:57 EDT
Rescuing an Elephant in the Wilds of India Getty Images

Rescuing an Elephant in the Wilds of India [PHOTOS]

It was around 10:30 a.m. on a Friday this past June that a close friend and wildlife enthusiast, Mohan was driving me down the winding hills of Ooty -- a hill station in southern India. Suddenly, there was a distress call from a forest warden desperately trying to save an elephant. It had slipped and fallen into a two-metre deep trench.
07/11/2013 12:34 EDT
Climate Change Narratives Must Speak to the

Climate Change Narratives Must Speak to the Public

Unfortunately, extreme weather events are becoming all too common, as they turn out to be more frequent and furious than ever before. Environmental advocates are quick to point out the "teachable moments" by linking the drastic weather patterns to climate change. However, they need to walk the fine line to ensure that they don't come across as overzealous or self-righteous in their attempts to spur public engagement, as this could turn people off and thwart even their most sincere and genuine efforts.
07/01/2013 10:34 EDT
Is Your Brain Blocking Climate Getty Images

Is Your Brain Blocking Climate Action?

Overfishing, wildlife poaching, climate change etc., are not only causing species extinction, but also bringing human civilization closer to the brink of collapse. Fortunately, there is reason for hope that in the future evolution of man, human love and enlightenment will prevail over the forces of violence and destruction.
06/16/2013 09:54 EDT
China's History of Exotic Meat and Deadly Getty Images

China's History of Exotic Meat and Deadly Diseases

China does have a tradition of compassion for nonhumans. So the daunting question is: what went so awry that in the name of economic development, both farm and wild animals are now being treated ruthlessly, even as they're being driven to the brink of extinction? What is the root cause of the animal welfare crisis, especially in mainland China?
04/29/2013 12:19 EDT
The Big Contribution Chinese Ancient Beliefs Have On Animal Getty Images

The Big Contribution Chinese Ancient Beliefs Have On Animal Extinction

Asiatic Bears are farmed for their bile juice -- a Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) -- alleged to fight fever, cleanse the liver, and improve vision. There is no scientific evidence to substantiate these claims. But the bears are not the only victims of such inhumane practice, more than 1800 animals are used in TCM drugs.
04/16/2013 08:19 EDT