Programa de Estudios Socioambientales Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México
What environmental or sustainability challenge is top-of-mind for you and why?
Profoundly transform our collective understanding of and relationship with wildlife and the natural world. In more concrete terms, advance in efforts to prevent harm or criminal offending against the environment and the biota before the act has been committed, and incorporate broader conceptions of victimization and harm than those provided by strictly legal definitions and/or certain traditional beliefs and practices.
What was a key moment, or an inflection point in your career where you made the decision to focus on the work you are now doing?
To tell the truth, since I was in primary school, I was determined to devote myself to animal studies, and also to be a detective. Then, when in middle school, I used to read the newspaper while waiting for my mom to return from work, and was shocked and intrigued by the regular informative notes on wildlife trafficking in Mexico. Since then, I started collecting this sort of news non-stop, until now. Professionally, I began working on wildlife use and conservation in 1994, when I wrote a thesis to obtain my Biology degree on a novel Mexican method aimed at classifying species at risk using information about range, population size, habitat and ecology, use and/or trade, and threats; a dissertation led by one of the most experienced and recognized conservationists in Mexico, who furthermore inspired me to continue pursuing my career in this much needed area of applied research.
Without worrying about what is realistic or time-bound, what skill or knowledge do you most hope to acquire from your fellowship year?
I hope to improve my abilities and capacity to communicate and engage more effectively with national and international networks. With this at hand, I could be less overwhelmed by the competitive and hostile environment of the academia and conduct myself in a more clear and hearty way when I have to participate in seminars, meetings and workshops where I have the challenge to address varied audiences and required to interact, formally and informally, with stakeholders from different sectors and from diverse cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds from all over the globe.