Inspiring Latina of the Week: Scientist & Community Leader Lina Oliveros

Have you always had a "green thumb" or a passion for agriculture?

I am true believer that your work should align with your passions. I know this is easier said than done, but we have to seek out opportunities that move our souls. This project does exactly that for me. We not only educate the public, but also bring an innovative approach to conserving the environment, energy, water and wildlife. My education has focused on the environment--I will complete my Master's in environmental science and policy, with a concentration in ecological management, from Johns Hopkins University this May of 2013. My B.S. is in marine biology.

What inspired you to become a Conservationist?

As a child in Colombia, I knew that I wanted to work in an area that involved the environment, animals, and community outreach. I've always been concerned about the environment, living organisms, and the environmental impacts of human actions. My father had a great influence on my life in terms of nurturing a love for education and always encouraging me to keep moving forward and keep seeking opportunities that are dear to my heart. My mother's crazy spirit taught me about the importance of being creative and taking risks.

What fulfills you the most about your work with Raising Prawns in the City?

"Raising Prawns in the City" is a special project where I get to work alongside colleagues who are passionate about this initiative and who, like myself, also have full-time jobs. I am truly passionate about this project, I love being able to help teach people, specifically low-income communities, new ways to get healthy food at an affordable cost. There are many healthier food choices out there, but not all of them are affordable. We need to change that if we want low-income families to have healthier lives. You are what you eat. I also take heart that the "Raising Prawns in the City" model can extend to schools and local farmers, who can create smaller-scale versions. I can see that our workshops are starting to make a difference!

Why do you believe that being environmentally responsible is important?

The truth is simple. There are too many of us on this planet, our population keeps growing, the ocean is not producing as much food as it used to, the planet resources in general are depleting. We must think differently and try innovative ways to feed the world, innovative ways to continue our life in this world that are more sustainable. My Audubon Toyota TogetherGreen project is not "the" solution to our food problems, but similarly innovative ideas like this one must exist. Our current way of living is simply not sustainable.