Community 3 minute read

Beatriz Reyes, from Cabuya for the Nation

She is an environmental engineer who thinks about how to mitigate the impact of climate change in Panama. She is […]

She is an environmental engineer who thinks about how to mitigate the impact of climate change in Panama. She is co-founder and leader of the organization Jóvenes y Cambio Climático (Youth and Climate Change).

She is currently a researcher at the Center for Electrical, Mechanical and Industrial Research and Innovation of the Technological University of Panama.

First memory of the canal

In high school, when we were talking about the treaties. I was very struck by the famous photo of the signing of the Torrijos-Carter Treaties.

What do you highlight about the place where you were born?

I was born in the town of Cabuya, Antón. The theme of my childhood was always water. Everything had to do with the protection of Cariguana Hill. Our community had the great vision to unite to prevent the sale of the land where there were water springs. Awareness was raised among families and the local authority. That led to learning about the care of the forest on the hill, about how to make alliances with tourism and private enterprise. All this marked my growth.

How did it become a personal issue?

My high school had an emphasis on Health and Sanitation. I remember being impressed by the epidemics caused by the lack of clean water.

When did you discover your voice?

In my junior year of high school I started organizing talks and meetings to talk about environmental stewardship.

Which educators gave you valuable advice?

My teacher Leyda Bernal taught me to dance the typical dances of Panama. In college, Dr. Ariel Grey suggested that I develop projects in my community.  With the support of Vivian Valenzuela, my ecology teacher, I was able to apply for an opportunity to study climate change.

Shocking fact

The Canal is vulnerable to climate change: if there is a drought, it can be bad for us; if there is too much rain, there is also a risk. Fortunately, the Canal has been a pioneer in recognizing its responsibility in water management. In the country, we already have damages and losses due to climate change, and we must put it on the international agenda.

Favorite authors

Isabell Allende, because she is Latin American like me, and her language is so familiar. At an event I was given “When we lost the forests” by Stanley Heckadon-Moreno, and I loved it.

Favorite holiday

El Torito Guapo and his iconic almirez.

Panamanian artist

Graphic artist Evade has made her art have a powerful message for science and society.

Role model in life

My mom, because her love is unconditional.

Favorite Panamanian food

My grandmother’s tamales.

Next challenge

Create a research proposal on microplastics.

Message to young people

I invite them to know where their water comes from, to be aware of the process of potabilization and what is done there.

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