Who meets Maira Begalli superficially may think she is more of a high middle-class girl, raised in a farm in Riacho Grande, metropolitan region of São Paulo, and full of privileges. But who has the opportunity to deep into her story knows that Maira is a person who fights for life and is never tired of searching for knowledge to multiply it.
Maira says she comes from a family of survivors. Her mother comes from a rich Italian family who went to Brazil escaping hunger and war. Her father is decendent of poor Portuguese and Spanish people, who also escaped to Brazil as fugitives. And Maira is the result of a relationship between this rich woman who got pregnant from a marketer. When she was 5-years-old she saw her father going away, and her mother beginning to work, and she was raised by her grandparents in a house she defines as “a place where no one knew what crisis was”.
However it was in that same place, the farm in Riacho Grande, where Maira grew up in the middle of nature. “What people talk about in biodiversity studies was what I saw in the backyard of my house”. Among her childhood memories there is her grandfather, who traveled a lot for work and always brought her back National Geographic videos in this luggage. As a child, Maira’s dream was to be a videomaker for that publication.
The perfect scenario for this child began to fall apart when her grandfather died. Maira tells that she began to live in “artificial environments”, with shallow relationships that contributed to her anorexia nervosa diagnosed when she was 14-years-old. “I almost died a few times”, she says. So she credits her recovery to the Environmental Management course. It was in the University where she began to meet new people, projects and to reconnect with that Maira who used to explore nature in the backyard of her house.
From graduation, Maira didn’t leave University chairs anymore, always making bridges between academia and the outside world. Eclectic, she studies human ecology to journalism and meditates a lot to always reconnect with herself. From everything she studies, Maira has a great certainty: “Everything is connected! And we humans are just another species, full of fragilities; animals in this great jungle”.
And looking to the world that way and participating in a research group in the State University of Campinas (Unicamp) on the theory of Prosperous Decline she points out that: “It’s all wrong! And that brings panic to many people. But I can stay calm and what I want is to help people understand what is happening in the world and to make their micro changes”.
That is why Maira just created a blog to simplify that way people communicate about science. Not linked to any organizations, she defines herself as ecologist, activist and researcher, and she wants to show that science is not so terrifying. “I see all these blogger girls that talk about make up and have millions of views. Scientists, nothing! I wanna demystify that and speak more clearly about issues such as climate change, for example”. For this Maria keeps studying, reading, watching, listening to people everywhere where she goes to then start telling their stories. “Everytime your hear a story, something changes within you. I wanna help with that, I wanna help to build a future where we suffer less”.