ABOARD THE MV USHUAIA, Antarctica – Colombian environmental activist Carolina Garcia, one of the 80 female professionals who traveled to Antarctica under a program to raise the profile of women as leaders, says that her generation – she’s 29 – will be the last with a chance to halt climate change.
The Antarctica expedition is an initiative of Australia’s Homeward Bound that enjoys support from Spanish infrastructure and renewable energy firm Acciona.
With a background in law and journalism, Garcia works for Colombian brewer Bavaria as a sustainability manager and co-authored the book “Cambio climatico: lo que esta en juego” (Climate Change: What is at Stake).
Her interest in sustainability goes back to childhood, when her parents inculcated in her a love of nature and animals, Garcia told EFE in an interview aboard the MV Ushuaia, the vessel carrying the Homeward Bound team.
But it was in law school that she decided to devote her efforts to issues such as climate change, the loss of biodiversity and environmental degradation.
Garcia said that her commitment has grown along with her awareness of the “great responsibility” she and her peers share as “the first generation to suffer the effects of climate change and the last who can do something to reverse it.”
Colombia, a country highly vulnerable to climate change, will need to invest large sums in adaptation, she said.
“In Colombia the principal cause of greenhouse gas emissions is deforestation and the changes in the use of the land for ranching and agriculture. We are in a critical situation. Last year alone, 219,000 hectares (540,740 acres) of forest was lost, 23 percent more than the year before.”
Asked about the purpose of the book she co-wrote, Garcia said that the idea was to enable the average person “to understand what climate change is, what its principal impacts are, what can be done to reverse it and how we are working collectively at the national level and the global level to confront that problem.”
The Colombian activist decried the sparse representation of women in the spheres where policy is decided, even though more than half the world’s population is female.
“What we are seeing is that decisions are made in controlled environments, in which more men than women participate. We are losing enormous diversity because the more diverse environments are not only more productive and more creative, but also where better decisions are made,” Garcia said.