Meet Paola: Regional Coordinator for Latin America

Student Energy’s Global Youth Energy Outlook is led by a team of 12 youth Regional Coordinators who are working together to reach a total of 50,000 young people around the world in 2020 and 2021. As they engage young people in their region through a two-phase research process, the Outlook’s Regional Coordinators will be gathering insights and recommendations to develop the final Outlook report, with key findings set to be shared at COP26 in 2021.

In this interview series, we get to know each of our Regional Coordinators in-depth:

Introduce yourself and where you come from. 

I am Paola Flores Carvajal, Regional Coordinator for Latin America, and I am from Bolivia.

Why are you passionate about energy and/or climate action?

When I was a child my family lived ____ and my grandmother is from an indigenous community and did not have adequate energy or water access. I see energy as an essential for economic equality and health. I love talking about energy because I have seen how bad climate change has impacted people in the city.

I told you how passionate I am about energy but in high school, I was not as passionate about energy until one of my friends invited me to learn more about energy and how to get involved.  Then five years ago, I traveled to La Jolla, California in the US for a summer course, and I learned about renewable energy which I had not heard of before.

What do you think are some of the biggest challenges to transitioning to a sustainable energy system in your region?

Latin American countries have great potential for supplying renewable energy, there have been a lot of things that have prevented it from happening. Specifically, policy is a key factor for my region. Political actions are needed for more focus on renewable energy.  I think it’s highly important to let the world know what is happening in my region,  Latin America, towards the transition to sustainable energy.

What aspects of the energy system in your region do you plan to learn more about?

Something I would like to know more about the energy system in my region is how sustainable are the energy projects happening in latin america. There is solar and lithium in my region and i would like to know more about it. I want to understand the conditions of the project and economic and social impacts they have on the community. I also want to know how strong the policies are in the region, and what the ambitions of the government are.

What impact do you personally hope the Outlook will have in your region, and globally?

Personally I really like the outlook because this is the first time I have seen a movement to let the world know what young people think or want for the future of energy. This is the first time we are asking young people what they want, and the impact this will have is really important as we are living in a situation where covid-19 is impacting social and economic systems. Now we have opened our eyes to what is happening in our world and what we have been doing that is wrong. This is a moment to take advantage, we can acknowledge climate change and talk about how energy plays a key role in climate change. The outlook will allow organizations to know what young people want for energy but also governments and big companies to know what we want for our future.