Within PyroLife, I am doing my PhD on Inclusive Risk Communication at the Open University of Catalonia, Spain. Being somewhat of a globetrotter, I have a French-Italian name, come from the Netherlands, and have lived in many different countries, including Spain. Here, in a small rural village that I call home, I experienced a wildfire up close for the first time about 17 years ago. This experience sparked my interest in wildfires, and over the years this interest grew as I witnessed many more wildfires.
My research background joins the natural and social sciences, allowing me to work – with people on the ground – on all sorts of socio-environmental topics. For my Environmental Science bachelor at the UNED (Spain), I created an environmental education program for kids at a local school on forest fire prevention. At the Wageningen University (the Netherlands) I did a Master’s in Social Sciences and researched human-wolf conflicts, water conflicts, and rural depopulation. Afterwards, I collaborated within two European LIFE projects on pastoralism.
While all these topics (socio-environmental conflicts, pastoralism, depopulation) might seem unrelated at first, they share common elements: communication and education, human-nature interactions, and rural communities, with fire as a transversal theme. All these aspects are important pillars for my research project at PyroLife, on Inclusive Risk Communication.
Specifically, I am working on risk communication strategies for – and with – vulnerable groups like young people. For this, my research includes identifying best practices in Europe and the USA on how to tailor (wildfire) risk communication to specific audiences, in addition to developing and testing inclusive communication strategies in wildfire-prone contexts.
It is great to be part of the international and transdisciplinary network of PyroLife. While our core focus is on wildfires, we are also interested in many complementary topics – like diversity and inclusion – which brings us together for spontaneous and creative collaborations across disciplines and sectors.
Furthermore, everyone has a different (personal and professional) background, so we all contribute to the project through our diversity.
Lastly, PyroLife addresses the urgent need for a paradigm change, from fire suppression to Living with Fire: with such a great network, we are surely up to the task!