What is your role at Acclimatise? What does a typical workday look life for you?
I work as climate risk analyst and business development associate at Acclimatise. My work as risk analyst is focused on adaptation within the private sector, whilst my work as BD associate focuses on developing climate services for financial institutions. What this means in practice is designing mechanisms (i.e. tools, training programs, guidelines) to help financial institutions mainstream climate change considerations into their governance and risk management practices, and in alignment with the TCFD recommendations.
A lot of my work revolves around opening up conversations with new potential partners and clients, speaking at international events, and getting the word out about the great work that we do. I also work a lot “behind the scenes”, thinking strategically about business development for the company (especially in Latin America, where I am currently based), and helping the Acclimatise passionate and collaborative culture permeate with new recruits.
What inspired you to work on climate issues?
The reality of climate change first hit me when I was undertaking my bachelor in Marine Science in Australia. At the time (over a decade ago) I attended the testimonies of Pacific islanders and got struck by the changing realities that they were experiencing; and by the fact that relocation of entire communities was not just some projected change on a chart, or something that would happen sometime in the distance future: it was in fact a reality many people were already experiencing. I then decided to join a Friends of the Earth action program on climate awareness called “Sisters of the planet” and an activist climate change group at my university. This later led to me pursuing a career both as a practitioner and an academic on climate change adaptation.
What do you like to do in your free time?
I am an avid reader of world literature and in particular a fanatic of Russian classics.
More recently, I have started to search for modern “philosophers” with framings that may help me understand and better lead under the current changing reality: T. Picketty, M., Sandel, A. Sen, to name a couple. When I am not behind a book, doing yoga or meditating, I give the floor to the interests stemming from my dual culture. On the Italian side, I love to cook (especially for a small group of close friends); whilst on the Colombian side, I love to dance!
If you could have dinner with anyone (past or present), who would it be and why?
I have always wanted to dine with the Dalai Lama. I think being in his presence would be enough to gain some of his inner peace and his compassionate outlook on life.
What do you think the Coronavirus pandemic can teach us about climate change?
There is nothing fair about COVID-19. Just as there is nothing fair about climate change. It needs to be our institutions, our governments, civil society and us individually that bring justice to the uneven playground in which humans thrive whilst they explore their humanity.
Both issues share a story on the need for solidarity, for being compassionate and for standing for, and giving voice to, those that can´t.
Tell us a little bit about your new business!
In my role as business associate at Acclimatise, I have had the chance to attend so many great events and meetings. I started paying attention and realised that we are just about to reach a massive break through: a total change in paradigm. What I mean by this is that it is now very evident that climate change is not just an environmental issue, but also a threat to our socio-economic and financial systems . Whilst listening to financial institutions talking about “Greening the financial system and financing green”, I realised that there is still an important gap between these institutions and where finance is needed. So, I decided that it was time to move out of the comfort of my Oxford office and head back to Latin America, to help local project developers access international finance for adaptation and resilience building projects. My new company ITACA is doing just that: raising awareness on the risks and opportunities stemming from a changing climate, and helping project developers (especially MSMEs) access international finance. In this way I aim to help accelerate adaptation and resilience in the region, whilst also supporting financial institutions greening their portfolios.
Three things on your bucket list:
Is this where you store dreams you would like to achieve later?
I don’t have one. Anything that I want to achieve, I pursue it in the present moment.