Martha: the scientist

In March 2019 a local action group in Merton, London was set up. At its heart is Colombian scientist Martha, who shares her experience so far.

30 Nov 2022

Why I started the group

I’m a biologist by trade, so I work with facts. Back in 2005 I was studying for a Masters in environmental sciences, and I attended a lecture on the history of the planet. We studied the natural cooling and warming of the planet that occurs over thousands of years (if you’re interested, the technical terms are glacial and interglacial periods). That cooling and warming pattern has sped up over the last 200 years, so we also studied the reasons behind that change: as you probably know, they’re man-made and a direct result of burning fossil fuels (such as coal, oil and gas).

Since my studies I have kept up with the latest science on climate change, and I belong to a network where scientists publish what they see happening as a result of burning fossil fuels. The science is irrefutable – we need to mend what we have broken, which is why I decided to form a local action group where I live.

Humans vs. the planet?

Humans are an invasive species; we tend to take over. Whether it’s burning fossil fuels and contributing to the warming of the planet or cutting down trees to make way for agriculture and industry, we impact the other inhabitants of our planet.

I grew up in Colombia, which is an amazing country in terms of biodiversity, so I’ve always felt very connected to nature.

I believe that all species need space and that we are all connected in one way or another. Everything that we do impacts the equilibrium of the eco-system and affects us in the end. We need to be accountable for our consumer choices, but we also need to work with local and national government on making large-scale changes.

Merton’s climate focus

Working with decision-makers is key if you’re going to achieve real change in your community.

Our group in Merton has already established some good connections with the councillors, and one of them is even planning to attend our group meeting. We want to work together with the council to adopt a Climate Action Plan which, when put in place, will hopefully reduce carbon emissions from transport and buildings.

We're also campaigning to stop the Heathrow expansion – it’s a topic that’s close to our hearts as we're in the Wimbledon area, so would be directly affected by a third runway. These are some specific targets that we'd like to achieve through this group, so if you’re in the area, join us!


Martha was interviewed by our Content Writer Anike Bello. If you’re in a local action group and would like to share your experience, please contact [email protected] 

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