Paula Tassara is a climate professional and activist based in Chile. She's been using digital tools, the arts and her own music to educate and inspire others, including at the recent COP26 conference. She tells us about her work and current projects.
|Year of graduation
At the moment
I am based in Chile, working independently as a climate activist, musician, and educator, through “Cultura Planetaria”, an “artivist” platform created by me in 2019 which focuses on developing collaborative projects and curated virtual programmes, to bridge the gap between science, social change, the arts and culture.
Your time at the University
My time studying Carbon Finance at the University of Edinburgh Business School was a lifechanging experience that enabled me to draw fundamental links between our economic, financial, and ecological systems to mitigate climate change. I had worked in wind power and indigenous sustainable development in the South of Chile before arriving in Edinburgh, where I joined a truly international, diverse group of fellow students (the first cohort for the MSc!) which made it feel so natural to delve into emerging global trends to scale up climate action.
I definitely feel I gained an eagle's perch perspective for future climate-related work. I also felt very motivated by School members who encouraged me to find my own path in this newly evolving world of climate policy, carbon markets and investment. It was also great to have access to top grade resources available at the University for learning and research. Outside, in the city and away from computers, I reaped very fond memories of Hogmanay celebrations for New Year's, whisky touring, biking, live music, and the enchanting magic of a vibrant culture in Scotland!
Your experiences since leaving the University
I started a new job position in a global carbon market standard issuer before handing in my final MSc dissertation! It was a bit challenging at the time, but very exciting too as I was putting my studies into practice straight away. Later my journey took me to serve in the public, private and international NGO sectors, from Chile´s Energy Ministry, the World Bank, to WWF, among other institutions over several years in climate policy and carbon markets posts. In 2019, I had an important twist in my career, after serving as environmental NGO constituency spokesperson at the UN HQ in Bonn, when Chile signed to be COP25 host (later on cancelled due to our social outbreak). That year I gave myself the chance to explore how learnings from my climate work experience could be transferred to a wider public, by expanding awareness via artistic and cultural initiatives around climate.
I started writing songs as an “artivist” under the name of “Pau De Planet”, and created a platform called “Cultura Planetaria”, which has been particularly active in bringing artists from different corners of Chile and Latin America, and also my own planet-infused music, to take part in global events organised by civil society groups around the UK´s COP26 Coalition, and other transformational networks. Recently, during COP26, I felt very honoured to have two of my recent music videos, “Madre Cordillera”, and “Tipping Point” (which captures the 2019-2021 atmosphere in this historical South to North, Chile-Scotland COP connection), screened at the National Theatre Of Scotland as a part of #DearPlanet, a cultural takeover.
You can watch the music video for Paula's song 'Tipping Point', which makes links between the atmosphere of COP25 in Chile and this year's COP26, on YouTube:
Thinking of our climate emergency, at the heart of the MSc programme… To free yourself from the anxiety that may assault you, in the face of the magnitude of the task ahead (to save natural life and the resources we depend on), just remember to thank yourself every day for making the wee changes available to you in the right direction.