Experienced Agriculture and Natural Resources Consultant Mariana Ortega Ramirez Joins Our Team of Analysts
Using LCA, systems thinking, and stakeholder perspectives, Mariana specializes in the relationship between natural resources, climate change, and public policy
Mariana Ortega Ramirez, our new junior sustainability analyst based in Mexico City, joins EarthShift Global after building a thriving sustainability consulting practice focused on agriculture, forestry, livestock, and fishing, with special attention on mapping of stakeholder perspectives.
“These sectors attract me because they’re the basis of sustenance, and encompass so much that is alive, beautiful, and meaningful,” explains Mariana, who holds a bachelor’s degree in environmental engineering and a master’s in industrial ecology.
Her specialty is the relationship between natural resources, climate change, and public policy. On behalf of clients like the World Bank Group for National Institute of Ecology and Climate Change, the Mexican Fund for Nature Conservation, and Mexico’s Ministry of the Environment she has pursued problem-solving and development of implementation schemes that emphasize innovation, communication, and understanding of socio-ecological systems.
Mariana’s interests date to her childhood, when she accompanied her mother, an agronomist who promoted organic agriculture, on visits to small farms.
She cultivated the connection as an undergraduate at UPIBI-IPN Instituto Politécnico Nacional & Técnico in Mexico City, where she calculated farm GHG emissions in an industrial ecology research project, and later working at the Mexican arm of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Office.
She subsequently conducted projects for consulting firms (CINPRO, MGM Innova), government agencies, and as a climate change specialist at the NGO founded and led by Nobel Prize-winning atmospheric chemist Mario Molina (https://centromariomolina.org/english2/).
While earning her master’s degree at Leiden University – TU Delft & Graz University in the Netherlands, Mariana met and befriended two future EarthShift Global colleagues: analyst Juanita Barrera, a classmate, and senior sustainability advisor Valentina Prado, who was their Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) professor.
“After graduating I returned to Mexico and worked on projects mostly connected to public policy,” says Mariana. Focal points include design and quantification of indicator sets for environmental monitoring and evaluation, calculation of emission inventories, and development of LCA studies.
A systems thinking perspective developed during her master’s studies is central to Mariana’s approach. “Besides LCA, I studied ethnographic research and the ‘follow the thing’ approach, as opposed to the method of ‘following the people.’ It’s like a qualitative LCA that also integrates history and storytelling and makes you question what is behind anything that humans consume,” she recalls. “So now my work mixes very technical calculations with workshops or interviews on stakeholder needs and wants, and what’s needed for advancing sustainability projects besides money or technology.”
She notes that perceptions of mitigation and environmental issues have evolved in recent years. “It’s sometimes challenging to discuss those with stakeholders; the actions involved can be complicated and often don’t render immediate tangible results. But climate change mitigation actions are much more recognized nowadays both in public policy and NGO projects.”
Mariana’s joining EarthShift Global was driven partly by her passion for the LCA process but also by close alignment with the company’s mission and activities. “It’s an unusually good match,” she says. “I’m most looking forward to helping create knowledge that can improve social and environmental performance.”
Mariana’s active volunteer work includes research and communication for the Alliance for Our Tortilla (http://www.ipsnews.net/2018/05/mexico-want-put-tortillas-table/], which supports and preserves traditional methods for producing tortillas, a source of low-cost nutrition that is central to the gastronomy of Mexico and other countries.