2017 is almost over, what have we done?
The Change we all really stand for is as basic as Love put into Action, Conviction put in practice and Justice made reality
I am Carla Madueño, a Peruvian biologist, currently pursuing a Master Degree on Global Change Ecology at the University of Bayreuth, Germany.
Now that 2017 is almost over, I would like to ask all of us how much did we truly change our world this year. Instead of asking ourselves whether we managed to “be happy”, let’s ask ourselves whether we managed to “make someone else happy”. Instead of looking at our personal achievements, let’s look at those times we tried to help, change, or amend our realities, our world.
Following these thoughts, we find ourselves in a society that loves to talk about change, such as climate change. But for me this starts to be a paradox when we get used to talking about change but do not make the change itself. I feel that this paradox leads us to live on the first hand, frightened by the news and scientific forecasts on natural disasters and nature destruction, and on the second hand, despite the “apocalyptic” reality we prefer to detach from it and go back to our regular, peaceful and privileged lives.
To the title’s question “What have we done this 2017?” we could answer “we did a lot for ourselves, but little for the rest”. This may evidence that even though everybody longs for it, not many really take courage to do it, namely the change.
However, how do we awaken conviction for change? And how do you discover your passion for it? In my case, my wish to make something meaningful evolved throughout my life steps.
The first step was to identify my ideals. To come from one of the most biodiverse countries in the world, Peru, and to witness its landscapes ever since I was a child, awakened in me a deep fascination for life and nature, and the desire to explore and protect its complexity.
The second step was to identify the needs and the urge to act. So I served in social work projects in marginal communities in Lima and as an environmental volunteer in Iquitos, back in Peru. There I witnessed that the lack of knowledge, awareness and empowerment prevented communities many times to improve and change for better.
As a third step, I decided to get the knowledge needed to improve those realities back home. So I stepped out of my comfort zone and with the support of my family, I left home at age 18 to study abroad in Germany and to pursue a career in science. Last year I graduated as a Biologist at the LMU Munich, and now I am pursuing my master’s degree in Global Change Ecology at the University of Bayreuth.
Among these past 5 years, I have been devoted to the study of Ecology, Climate Change and Conservation. I have collected meaningful research experiences, for example in insect taxonomy in the Peruvian jungle with the support of the Zoological State Collection Munich, in wildlife management at the Amazon Wildlife Rescue Center, in plant community ecology with the support of the University of Alberta, Canada and on the Island of La Palma, Spain. I have also shown my social commitment with participation in political foundations and youth forums in Austria and Germany, and more recently at the UN Climate Change Conference in Bonn.
With these experiences I took a fourth step in my career, to recognise my potential for Change.
As the Scientist I am now, I am convinced that scientific knowledge by itself can do little without societal awareness and action. On the question of how to awaken the passion for Change, I believe digital environmental activism holds the answer. Hence, I am convinced that the socio-ecological transformation the World needs, can be in everybody’s smartphones, in everybody’s hands.
With this conviction I have been administering a German student blog on Climate Action: GCE Blog and a Peruvian student blog on scientific news: NoisyScience (since June 2017). Additionally I have been a social media volunteer this March 2017 during the fifth session of the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) plenary in Bonn in the Social Media Unit, Communications department.
For these reasons, I want to become a GLF Youth Ambassador to convey the message of Nature’s beauty and conservation to the mainstream, non-scientific and general public. The Youth Ambassador program will help me master skills of online networking, content generation and act as a loud real voice in the virtual space to promote awareness on Sustainability issues.
As an ambassador of the GLF program, I want to awake the initiative for Sustainable Change in my audience via articles, blog entries, audiovisual compilations and photography on social platforms (i.e. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, WordPress). My personal commitments in return are my intercultural skills, competitive attitude, strong scientific background, excellent communication skills in fluent German, English and Spanish and recent experiences in social media outreach.
My wish therefore is to facilitate my knowledge to people out there with perhaps less adequate information, but nevertheless with much courage and initiative to do something meaningful not only for themselves, but also for others and for the Planet.
So it is true, 2017 is almost over. What can we still do?
Name: Carla Madueño Florian
Country in which you currently live: Germany
Which university you study at: University of Bayreuth
Your mother tongue: Spanish
Other languages you are fluent in: German, English