My name is Laura Diez. I’m from Miami, Florida. I go to Northern Arizona University where I am an M.S. Climate Science and Solutions candidate
What sustainability, energy, and community issues are important to you?
My undergraduate background is actually in animal communities and ecology. I have always been very interested in how animals adapt to changing ecosystems, which often meant studying how specific species adapt to climate change. I realized upon my academic transition to human communities, in graduate school, I was not practicing what I was preaching. My generation would love to believe we’re environmentally active, but recycling just doesn’t cut it. I’ve spent the last year becoming a more conscious consumer, and really trying to communicate climate change research in a practical way.
Right now I am very focused on reducing waste. Very often, we simply throw things away without really thinking about where “away” is. Most people do realize that “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” is actually a hierarchy: recycling should be our last option when dealing with trash. Often times this can more attainably mean reducing plastics, but this also lends support to composting and package-free shopping. It’s important to me to emphasize when discussing sustainability, energy, and mobility issues that climate change cannot be looked at in isolation: everything we do is has an environmental implication.
What exciting projects/research are you working on now?
I am in a Professional Science Masters program, which means I’m trained as a scientist for business environments. Thus, I am not actively working on a personal research project. Instead, I am heavily invested in science communication. I host a weekly podcast, called ECO CHIC, where I discuss sustainability and climate change from different angles: water consumption, fast fashion, animal agriculture, travel… you name it, and climate change is connected! My goal is to make climate science practical, relatable, and easily attainable.
What are your plans for the next five years?
I hope to continue in academia and podcasting! Teaching, however, I can. I am really interested in connecting with people on environmental issues. Sustainability is not just for scientists!
What made you want to apply to SISE?
I want to see our knowledge of these issues applied! While I love a classroom setting, I think the most important learning happens in real life applications. I’m really excited to work with other SISE participants, from different specialties, to work on a great holistic understanding of community solutions in sustainability and energy.
What are you most looking forward to doing in Chicago?
Getting to know the locals and learning about a community that is different from my own. I
I have never been to Chicago so I am looking forward to exploring the city. I hope to see a Cubs game! Of course, I am also very excited to meet and work with other SISE participants.
Do you like Cats? If not, are you willing to learn to like cats?
I am definitely more of a dog person, but I am willing to make space in my heart for the right cat.