Olivia del Giorgio

Project Info

Role Global Environments Summer Academy 2018 participant
Nationality Canadian

Project Description

I am a recent graduate of the Honours program in Biology at McGill University. Although still at the early stages of my career, I have acquired a robust training and background in research, notably in conservation, aquatic and behavioural ecology, and applied field ecology. My primary research focus was initially on the physiological and cognitive adaptation of freshwater fish to environmental change. Over the course of my studies however, I became increasingly interested in investigating environmental responses at a larger scale. I went on to work for the NSERC Lake Pulse Network, a nationwide collaborative project that brings together the Canadian freshwater research, environmental protection, and policy communities to examine a wide range of problems affecting Canadian lakes.

Beyond my academic experiences, I have been actively involved in a number of social initiatives related to food security, sustainability and environmental education. I have organised environmental awareness campaigns, such as Ban the Bottle, Zero Waste and Earth Hour, and urban farming initiatives with a number of student groups and organisations. Currently, I am working as Regional Programmes Coordinator and Canada Office Manager for the Quebec-Labrador Foundation (QLF). QLF focuses on developing conservation projects, protecting biodiversity and promoting environmental stewardship in Atlantic Canada. Through my work with QLF, I have gained a valuable skillset in project management, communications and community-based conservation.

Looking forward, I would like my career in science to effectively inform policy and conservation practices by addressing questions of ecological functioning and resilience in the face of global environmental change. In order to develop successful and socially just conservation strategies, traditional views in ecology must be adapted so that humans are viewed as part of biological communities, rather than as externally acting agents. I will apply this perspective in my graduate studies as I embark on my master’s at the Land, Environment and Development lab at McGill University. My research will explore livelihood adaptations to expanding commodity frontiers and the environmental consequences of land-use change in the Gran Chaco region of South America.

Along with pursuing my interests in ecology, I aim to encourage discussion on how our interaction with the environment can be adapted to address current global issues. I believe that challenging people to imagine a “good” Anthropocene is key to bolstering innovation and environmental leadership. I hope that my career will generate meaningful and lasting societal and environmental change, by promoting collaboration between a diversity of disciplines, communities and people.


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