Dublin Environmental Scientist Helping VSO Fight Climate Change

by Jordan Upshaw

Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO) Ireland has announced that Spainish-born and Dublin-based environmental scientist Miriam Alonso will be working with the organisation as a volunteer in Malawi.

According to a statement from VSO, Alonso will: “Work closely with other volunteers and local staff to identify the ways in which climate change needs to be considered on VSO’s livelihoods programmes in years to come.”

The statement added that Alonso will make recommendations for VSO’s programmes in Malawi to ensure they are as environmentally friendly as possible, and will be “paying particular attention to sustainable agriculture and energy systems”.

Developing countries such as the African nation of Malawi suffer considerable hardships as a direct result of climate change which dramatically impacts agriculture in the area and leads to widespread hunger and poverty.

Alonso has many years of experience in the field. She worked at University College Dublin as a researcher and lab manager from 2012 to 2015. After that she commenced a Masters programme in Global Change: Ecosystem Science and Policy.

VSO’s Country Representative James O’Brien said: “VSO Ireland needs more motivated people like Miriam to work overseas on sustainable programmes.

“The effects of climate change are hard-hitting in countries like Malawi. With Miriam’s support we can ensure our livelihoods programmes consider those important environmental issues and improve the livelihoods of local people.”

Alonso has held many similar community-based volunteer positions in Ireland, Spain, and Mauritania. Her partner, Rory Ryan, volunteered for VSO in Kenya as a Water Engineer and Capacity Builder in 2010.

Alonso said: “I’m really looking forward to volunteering with the VSO team in Malawi and helping to reduce the harmful impact of climate change on sustainable development programmes there.

“It’s going to be a challenge and very different to my life in Dublin, but one I’m definitely ready for. Volunteering with VSO Ireland is all about sharing skills so it’s nice knowing any impact I make will be long-lasting.”

VSO Ireland is part of a global oganisation that has operated since 1958. For information on how to volunteer visit www.vso.ie.

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