What's your name?
Silvia Perlit Quincho Vela
Where in the world are you?
Wellington, New Zealand. Originally Lima, Peru.
What do you do in the world?
I'm an Environmental Scientist learning about Climate Change Adaptation Strategies based on Indigenous Knowledge.
In one sentence, what is climate change?
It is the consequence of our unbalanced civilization, our lack of understanding that by hurting the Planet, we also hurt ourselves.
How does climate change affect your life?
Personally, Climate Change is messing up with my morning coffee. As Climate Change shifts seasons, some products are becoming less available. In my life, that's coffee. The changing weather patterns have badly affected coffee plantations in my country, diseases have spread out and the coffee harvest has been reduced in quantity and quality. Besides that, Climate Change is causing the retreat of tropical glaciers which feed the rivers most Peruvians drink from. I feel Climate Change is a reality in my life and it can potentially affect my loved ones.
What do you feel you can do about it?
A lot. Climate Change is giving us the opportunity to become Smart Global Citizens once again. I say "Once Again" because during my time researching among indigenous communities, I realized they are already Smart Global Citizens. No matter where they are placed in the world, indigenous communities share a deep understanding of complex systems, they acknowledge the Planet as a unity, they understand the interconnection between natural systems, and they describe the role of humankind as guardians. Learning from them, has helped me to reconnect with my roots and embrace them. It has also gave me a wider outlook to find climate smart solutions. Now, I devote my work to reconnect indigenous knowledge for Climate Change Adaptation. We are all indigenous from somewhere in the world, Peruvian, Maori, British, Chinese, we are all Earthians. Indigenous knowledge is inclusive. So why not embrace that side of us and become Smart Global Citizens once again.
Do you feel there is more you could do? If so, what is stopping you from doing those things?
I do. I feel there is an amazing opportunity to build bridges to learn, share and exchange climate indigenous knowledge. Right now, being in New Zealand, I'm developing a project to connect Peruvian and Maori Knowledge around Climate Smart Agriculture. I called this project, Pukina Koru. My biggest barrier to make this happen, is my own fears. But I also need to find a kiwi counterpart and a platform. I was hoping to develop my idea by means of a Master Program in Victoria, but I wasn't granted the scholarship I applied for. So now, I'm exploring other options.
If there is anyone out there keen on sharing and exchanging knowledge on Climate Smart Agriculture based on traditional knowledge, let's talk!
What's your favourite Sunday afternoon activity?
Lately, I enjoy cooking for my friends.
Extra for experts: Do you remember how you first became active in climate change?
Was there something specific that triggered you to act? How old were you then? How old are you now?
I've been eco-conscious for as long as I can remember. But I think I started taking action when I turned 15 years old. I got involved with environmental groups and soon after I became an environmental activist. The episode that triggered my will to act in Climate Change was witnessing, first-hand, the fast retreat of tropical glaciers. I used to visit the Pastoruri Glacier which officially disappeared in 2008. It has been 14 years since I joined the Climate action. I'm 29 now - Older but wiser.
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I'd like to share with you my favourite Kiwi Quote:
‘Kia tuohu ai tatou, mo aianei, mo apopo, mo ake tonu atu’
May the wisdom of old be a force for good, today and tomorrow, and in all our tomorrows.
Author: Te Uri O Te Pani Manawatu. Tuahiwi, 1989
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