18 Jun

Alfredo Giron-Nava I Am Geo

I am geography

Ever since I was a child, I wanted to become an explorer, an ocean explorer. After many loops and turns, I finally became an oceanographer, something that could be considered as a ‘geographer of the seas.’ I realized that every interesting question I have tried to address has a spatial component: Why do fish species live where they live? How will climate change switch their distribution? Where do the fish that we eat come from? Where shall we protect the oceans to increase biodiversity and the economic well-being of coastal communities? As I have advanced in my career, I switched from studying fish to studying people and their interactions with the environment, but always with a spatial component. 

For me, geography is a powerful tool to understand our environment, but also to address some of the most pressing challenges we face as a society. Where are the higher risks for coastal communities related to climate change, fisheries overexploitation, pollution? How can we understand the context of each community to enable solutions that will work at a relevant scale? How are communities connected to each other and how could we build networks to protect our marine environment without compromising social well-being?

Last year, I was honored to be selected as an EthicalGEO Fellow by the American Geographical Society. My project is to create the first global map of the prevalence of poverty in coastal communities. Stay tuned for updates!