Artists Help Share Science For Environmental Protection Twitter Chat On November 3

Guest post by Sebastian Zarate

The biodiversity in Paracas National Reserve (La Republica 2020) is tremendous: Approximately 216 species of birds, 36 of mammals, 10 of reptiles, and 168 of fish. A consortium of Spanish and Brazilian firms called Terminal Portuario Paracas (TPP) want to transport and export cooper and zinc concentrates through the Port of San Martin located in the reserve’s buffer zone. In 2014, the Peruvian government transferred the management of this port to TPP (Bartra 2020). In 2016, TPP’s Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) was approved despite multiple objections. To expand the export of minerals, TPP requested an amendment to its EIA in 2018.

Todos por Paracas is a Peruvian non-governmental initiative that aims to raise awareness about the risks that Paracas National Reserve could face if TPP expands its operations. Todos por Paracas aims to place the following public issues in the Peruvian environmental policy agenda: reduction of environmental impacts, protection of fish and wildlife, and stricter government regulation of extractive activities such as mining. The NGO has relied on activism through art and social media was fostered to pressure the Peruvian authorities to reject the 2018 EIA amendments presented by TPP.

Todos por Parcas

Voces de Paracas (Todos por Parcas campaign) highlighted artistic contributions to inform the public about the potential impacts and risks of ore transportation in the reserve’s buffer zone. Illustrators contributed depicting the traits of the species that could be affected by pollution. The goal was to increase the public understanding of conservation through activism as well as to engage and inform Peruvian citizens and decision makers about the risks that may endanger the reserve’s biodiversity. SENACE is the Peruvian authority in charge of accepting or rejecting TPP’s EIA amendments. #SalvemosParacas was used by artists, scientists, politicians, and other stakeholders to encourage SENACE to reject this project.

Example of illustrations used in Voces de Paracas campaign.

Source: Todos por Paracas Facebook page.

Paracas is in danger! The expansion of the port will allow the storing and transportation of mineral concentrate, which puts the biodiversity of Paracas at high risk. Let’s not allow an attack on the biodiversity of the Reserve! ¡#SalvemosParacas!

— En Movimiento (@enmovimiento_pe) July 13, 2020

In contrast with citizen science projects supervised by professional scientists that coordinate volunteers as research assistants, Todos Por Paracas is not focused on gaining new knowledge, but on spreading knowledge, raising environmental consciousness, shifting media and policy discourse, and driving policy changes. As Kimura & Kinchy mention, deep and active participation in scientific knowledge making does not necessarily enable people to challenge powerful institutions or achieve desired outcomes. In this case, illustrators volunteered their expertise to increase public understanding of biodiversity with the aim of new policy outcomes rather than to further research agendas set by professional experts.


The #CitSciChat is a series of Q&A twitter sessions that Caren Cooper started a few years ago. For this session, the panelists below posted responses to questions about Todos por Paracas initiative and sociopolitical context on Twitter with #CitSciChat. The guests have experience in anti-mining mobilization, marine biology and biodiversity, public policy and political ecology, citizen science and science and technology studies. I retweeted their responses from my account (@zarate_vasquez).

a.      Luis Romero (@LuisRomeroSN): Sociologist with experience in science and technologies studies in Latin America graduated from National University of San Marcos. He is a graduate student in the National University of Quilmes Science, Technology and Society Program. He has conducted research in gender and science and is focused on the connection between arts and science.

b.      Esteli Velia (@litabril): Political scientist and illustrator. She participated in Voces de Paracas campaign. Fellow of the Postgraduate Program on Sustainable Development and Social Inequalities in the Andean Region. She is interested in the limitations of local governance of natural resources around redistributive social and environmental conflicts.

c.      Karla Calderon (@karlacalderonma): Peruvian biologist with a master’s in aquatic systems ecology with a focus on artisanal fishery and marine resources management. She is currently the technical manager of the CFI AL-UNDP Coastal Fisheries Initiative Project, which focuses on shell and mangrove crab management in Piura and Tumbes.

d.      Tania Ramirez (@TaniaRamirezF): Sociologist with a master’s in environmental development from the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru. Fellow of the Postgraduate Program in Sustainable Development and Social Inequalities in the Andean Region. Founder and member of Eco-Razonar, a feminist political ecology collective. She conducts research on communities and mining in Peru.

This bilingual event took place on Tuesday, November 3 from 16-17 Hrs. ET.

Selected Posts from #CitSciChat


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