A ‘Hyperactive’ Climate Activist on the Need for Women in Climate Leadership
‘You cannot talk about climate change without talking about justice,” says Alicia Pérez-Porro, PhD
The climate activist and scientist Alicia Pérez-Porro is, in her own words, “hyperactive and does a lot of things.” But even that might be an understatement.
Though she used to study the effects of the climate on sea sponge genetics, the marine biologist now focuses on climate activism and justice, which she says enables her to directly engage in the climate conversation in a way that research did not. Now, she’s the president of an association of Spanish scientists in the United States called ECUSA; is the scientific coordinator at the Spanish research center CREAF; co-founded Ellas Lideran (“women lead”), a group connecting gender equality and climate change leadership; is part of the leadership team at the organization 500 Women Scientists; and wrote a children’s book called The Secret Life of Viruses. She’s also busy raising two kids.
Pérez-Porro sums it up like this: “What I do now is very related with justice because basically, I work connecting science and society at a lot of different levels. You cannot talk about climate change without talking about justice.”
Future Human talked to Pérez-Porro about her jump from climate research to activism, why we need women in climate leadership, and why she pushes back when people say climate change primarily affects the world’s vulnerable.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
Yasmin Tayag: How did you get your start in climate activism?
Alicia Pérez-Porro: One of the reasons why I decided to become a marine biologist is because of my grandparents. They had a house on a beach in Spain. We still have the house, but my grandparents passed. I used to spend my summers with them and that’s my happy place. We used to go fishing, and diving, snorkeling. We used to spend the whole day. We used to have a boat. We used to spend the whole day sailing. My most dearest, happiest memories are from my summers with them in that beach house. That’s how I developed this passion and love for the ocean.