First blog post on the upcoming PFTC5 course in Wayqecha, Peru!
a. What is your background? Where are you from? What do you study? What are you most interested in, scientifically?
I’m from a small town in the south-east of Norway, currently living and studying in Oslo. I am doing a master’s degree in ecology and evolution at the University of Oslo/Natural History Museum. My master thesis involves creating a plant functional type on Salix shrubs in high-latitude areas that I will test out in CLM, thus I am fascinated about how climate affects vegetation and vice-versa.
b. What are your goals for the upcoming course in Peru? How will you know if you’ve met these goals?
My goal is to learn to measure plant traits in the field so that I can apply the methods in my master project later. I also want to learn more about the effects and responses for these traits to the climate.
c. What are you most excited about, with respect to the upcoming course and trip?
I’m really excited to climb the Andean mountains and get to first-hand experience the ecology of the Puna! I’m also looking forward to obtain new skills in trait measuring and intent stuttering Spanish again!
d. What do you anticipate people will think about climate change in Peru? Do you think most people will accept that the planet is warming, and that this is largely being caused by human activities? Or will this topic be controversial?
I think most Peruvian university students have similar views on climate change as Norwegian students. I have been to other Latin-American countries and most locals I’ve talked to have taken climate change seriously. The general public is probably more sceptical or uninformed on climate change than university students, but in general I do not think the difference is too big between Peru and western countries such as Norway or the US.
Young people in Norway generally view climate change being caused by human activity, and many even take steps to counteract it, such as eating vegetarian, buying fewer products or choosing environmental friendly transportation. I am noticing however, an increasing number of people, especially older people, denying that climate change is caused by humans. I find that this latter view gets a lot of attention in social media, despite its lack of scientific support.
Saludos de Hilde