Yolanda Lopez-Maldonado

Friday October 02, 2015


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Yolanda Lopez

GESA 2014  |  Mexico  |  Ecologist & Communitarian Leader

 

I am fascinated in sustainable development in human-environment systems and in the application of inter-and transdisciplinary methods in indigenous communities in Mexico, to analyse the regulatory mechanisms of both systems and to assess strategies for intervention. Through the analysis of groundwater and human interactions, I aim to contribute with this understanding in order to bring together local and scientific knowledge, and elaborate and evaluate strategies for the transition to sustainable development of this ecosystem.

Born and raised in Yucatan, Mexico, I obtained a MSc degree in Human Ecology (2009-2011) at the Department of Human Ecology at the Centre for Research and Advanced Studies of the National Polytechnic Institute, in Mexico. From January to April 2011, I also carried out a research stay at the Department of Geography, Autonomous University of Barcelona, Spain, within the TUDISTAR research group (Group of Tourism and Socio Territorial Dynamics in Rural Areas). Some of the results derived from the Masters have been communicated in international conferences and journals: including the XVIII International Conference of the Society for Human Ecology; the 4th International Conference Advances in Tourism Economics, and 3rd International Colloquium Cities of the Tourism. During this time I gained further understanding of topics associated to both, ecological/environmental sciences, and experiences in fieldwork and feedback to actors involved in the research process.

In 2012, I started a PhD at the Ludwig Maximilian University, Munich, joining the Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society and the Department of Geography, Human-Environment Relations research group. My current research is linked to groundwater pollution problems in Yucatan, Mexico and takes into account the impact of human activities in this fragile ecosystem. Considering that groundwater resources management have been playing an important role in the economy of Mayan society, by helping communities to survive dry seasons, this project considers the impacts of human activities as one of the most influencing factors that cause groundwater degradation. Being myself a member of a Mayan community and scholar, I am working with a dual perspective of the problem in order to provide possible solutions. Some results have been presented in conferences including: the Resilience International Conference 2014.

Being part of a society with its own and unique culture allowed me to analyze the current situation of my indigenous group and contribute for a sustainable management of water resources.

My future goals are to finish my PhD in geography at the LMU, return home and take over my positions as a communitarian leader to work on my community and to be involved in the academic sector in order to contribute with the new generations. I expect to communicate the results to communities to contribute in the sustainable management of groundwater resources, and livelihoods of indigenous inhabitants in the region.

 

Being myself Mayan, it was important for me to fortify trust relationships with families. In this picture, I am helping in the preparation of typical food for a traditional celebration.

Being myself Mayan, it was important for me to fortify trust relationships with families. In this picture, I am helping in the preparation of typical food for a traditional celebration.

 

Women empowerment and their inclusion in the decision-making processes was one important part on my research. In this picture, a group of them are dealing with pollution problems in their community.

 

Being myself an indigenous-scholar, I have been working with actors to show how Mayan society represents an excellent example of the consequences of human impact on a fragile environment.

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The Maya was one of the few civilizations to use a groundwater supply extensively. In this picture, a group of actors are gaining knowledge about how to protect groundwater bodies.

 

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Another step during my fieldwork was a photo exhibition developed with colleagues and local members. In this picture, children are taking photos of the resources they want to protect.

 

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In this picture, little Maria is supporting my fieldwork with her knowledge regarding to mangroves. She is so proud about her knowledge.

5 comments

  1. […] glocal level, we became engaged in organizing a regional academy in Latin America. Antonia Barreau, Yolanda López, Daniel Abreu and I wanted to help so that young Latin American researchers and practitioners […]

  2. […] glocal, nos comprometimos a organizar una academia regional en América Latina. Antonia Barreau, Yolanda López, Daniel Abreu y yo queríamos ayudar a que jóvenes hispanos se encontraran y cuestionaran de forma […]

  3. […] glocal, nos comprometimos a organizar una academia regional en América Latina. Antonia Barreau, Yolanda López, Daniel Abreu y yo queríamos ayudar a que jóvenes hispanos se encontraran y cuestionaran de forma […]

  4. […] glocal, nos comprometimos a organizar una academia regional en América Latina. Antonia Barreau, Yolanda López, Daniel Abreu y yo queríamos ayudar a que jóvenes hispanos se encontraran y cuestionaran de forma […]

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