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National Geographic's Strange Days on Planet Earth
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Careers in Science

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Careers in Science

Paul Sánchez-Navarro
Environmentalist

How did you choose your present profession?
Growing up, I always had a vision and concern of how things "could" be, then after university, this translated from basic respect and awe for the planet and biodiversity into trying to dedicate my time to helping humans better manage their home.

What were your biggest motivators?
My Mom's general concern for the well being of humanity and my Dad's general love of nature.
 
Who were/are your greatest mentors/heroes?
My parents, one of my ex-bosses at WWF, life on the planet itself.

Was there a pivotal event in your life that helped you decide on your career path?
Moving to Mexico - living opportunities.

What has been the biggest surprise in your life as a scientist?
I am not a scientist, more of an environmentalist. Biggest surprise is that most people really want to help improve natural resource management; they just look for guidance on how.

What would you recommend for students wanting to pursue a similar career?
Learn to write - being able to express yourself in your native language is the greatest tool for communication. Always question - don't take status quo as the answer.
  
Understand your strengths in order to be able to give your best and make a difference.

What do you like best about your profession?
Not having to wear a tie! But really, being able to learn about the details of life on planet earth, meeting wonderful people and interacting with nature in such a direct and productive way.

What would you say has been your greatest achievement?
Haven't had it yet, still trying.

Are you optimistic for the future of the planet and if so why?
Yes, very, because so many people are doing so many wonderful things to improve use of nature that soon enough, the momentum will change.

What are your greatest fears for the future of the planet?
Ecosystem collapse to the level of being unable to sustain human consumption, the ensuing life crises (but then comes the forced awakening).

What’s the one message you would like the next generation of scientists to hear?
Let's make sure that we use science as a tool for more integrated natural use of all life on earth. A tool that respects the movement of the universe and not one that serves a minute percentage of one dominant species on the planet.

What web sites, books, articles and other lay person references would you recommend for viewers interested in your work featured in Strange Days on Planet Earth?
Anything related to ecosystem management, in any country and any language. The main point is search, surf, read, research, inform yourself.
  
Must read Ishmael by Daniel Quinn.

Visit Sánchez-Navarro's bio page »


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