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Champion for Women's Advancement through Environmental Conservation with Nicole De Paula

Dr. Nicole de Paula has been globally connecting policymakers and researchers for more than a decade to create a public understanding on key issues related to sustainability and public health. As a Planetary Health advocate, she champions the socioeconomic advancement of women through environmental conservation. She is the founder of the Women Leaders for Planetary Health and in 2019, she became the first awardee of the prestigious Klaus Töpfer Sustainability Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies in Potsdam, Germany. Nicole is the author of the book “Breaking the Silos for Planetary Health: A Roadmap for a Resilient Post-Pandemic World.”

LISTEN to our full interview.


[00:01:08] On what she’s most passionate about

[00:01:46] On planetary health and how it relates to what she does for a living

[00:06:17] On growing up in Brazil and how it influenced her decision to get into her field

[00:10:53] On the think tank at the International Institute for Sustainable Development

[00:12:36] On being the first awardee of the Klaus Töpfer Sustainability Fellowship.

[00:15:08] On not having a daily routine and the work she does

[00:20:53] On how the COVID pandemic impacted her

[00:25:38] On founding Women Leaders for Planetary Health

​[00:30:17] On a success story from the Women Leaders for Planetary Health

[00:31:16] On how we can all have a positive impact on the environment in our everyday lives




Passionistas: Hi, and welcome to the Passionistas project podcast, where we talk with women who are following their Passionistas to inspire you to do the same. We're Amy and Nancy Harrington. And today we're talking with Dr. Nicole de Paula, who has been globally connecting policy makers and researchers for more than a decade to create a public understanding on key issues related to sustainability and public.

As a planetary health advocate, she champions the socioeconomic advancement of women through environmental conservation. She's the founder of Women Leaders for Planetary Health and in 2019, she became the first awardee of the prestigious Klaus Töpfer Sustainability Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS) in Potsdam, Germany.

Nicole is also the author of the book “Breaking the Silos for Planetary Health - A Roadmap for a Resilient Post-Pandemic World.”

So please welcome to the show Dr. Nicole de Paula.

Nicole: Hi, Nancy and Amy. Thank you for having me.

Passionistas: What's the one thing you're most passionate about?

Nicole: I think recently it's definitely planetary health. Uh, we've been advocating so much and at the beginning, the term was what is planetary health sounded like a horror cop thing. Right? So it was the, it was a term that sounded, it was a bit weird in some language doesn't translate. Well, I think in German, for example, it's, it's, it's hard to translate in Portuguese as well.

I'm from Brazil. So, uh, it was also a bit funny, but definitely is the topic that we should be talking about specifically. Now when we need to recover. Hopefully from this pandemic.

Passionistas: So tell us of what planetary health means and how it relates to what you do for a living.

Nicole: Yeah. So maybe what I do, I'm my background. I tend to say I'm a fake doctor, right? So I'm a, I have a PhD in international relations, so I'm not a magical doctor cause I've been talking a lot with public health experts. It's quite an interesting exercise. And so planetary health, uh, from my perspective is of very interesting narrative of things that decision makers should.

Talking about or acting. So it's basically everything. So the planet is changing, right? We say that if the planet is sick with all the climate change impacts biodiversity loss, pollution, you know, we, we don't know anymore what we have in our foods. So much chemicals there processed food, you know, and crisis.

We used to have a big problem of course, with hunger and. You know, half of the population is obese. So of course we're changing our lifestyles and the way the planet is changing and the way that we are impacting our planet. So that's why we say this anthropogenic impacts we need it's impacting public health.

So the decision normally is what is health at the end of the day, right? Is everything that is inside our bodies and is just this small system. Or we should talk about health. Connected to the health of our planet. So the planetary health is a scientific discipline or, um, not discipline is there is discussion that I think is started as saying as a discipline, but let's say it's an approach, a new area of studies calling that way.

I think many researchers were already discussing sustainability connecting to the, to human health. So again is very simple. It's just trying to connect sustainability to public health policies and on the, on the issue of. scientists are trying to understand how exactly climate change impacts, you know, human health.

We have heat waves that impact, you know, the most vulnerable in cities. Uh, so we're trying to measure that's. So that's not exactly what I do, you know, when people will do modeling and, but in the end, we need to communicate and inform decision makers of this field and say, what do we do about it? And that's the, what I'm passionate about.

How do we get the science and bring it to the people who can take these decision? And it's of course not an easy thing, especially this days, but we keep trying. So you mentioned COVID talk about how the relationship to COVID and planetary health. Like what, how is it affecting the world on the planet?

Yes, COVID is as, um, sometimes mentioned and I notice in a book it's. Of course, it's a very bad thing, but if every crisis brings an opportunity, that's the sad reality. If we need change, we probably learn through love or pain. Right. So it's very hard to change behavior if you don't have a big crisis and COVID is now showing I think stimulating this conversation about, okay, what is exactly connections?

It's, it's just, just a sanitary thing. It's, uh, the disease, but what you're learning now and, and. Trying to communicate. Actually, I think a lot of people have been trying to communicate this before, but the way, for example, deforestation, the way we are transforming our environment, we are, uh, increasing the chances of this contact with new viruses.

So for example, illegal wildlife. Trading, you know, if you're bringing species to different and because the world is so connected in three days, the whole, if you have a new disease in three days, the whole world is contaminated. So the COVID is really showing that we need to connect more. The dots. Between these issues of biodiversity conservation.

You know, this, there is a link with zoonotic diseases. When you have pathogens, frighten animals, jump to humans, we still, we don't have definitive answers about how exactly COVID was created, but six out of 10 new diseases come from animals. You know, so this, this zoonotic disease. So, so we know that we are creating some sort of this possibility of increasing diseases and, and climate change.

For example, Our natural ecosystem. So new mosquitoes there wouldn't be in Europe, for example, because of the climate. Now, if we find, so we have a new ecology of, of these diseases that it's important to understand and study again, we have, uh, researchers doing that. So planetary health brings this conversation and links, uh, this points.

Passionistas: So let's take a step back. You talked about the fact that you're from Brazil. Tell us a bit about growing up there. And when did you first become aware of these issues and what inspired you to pursue this field.

Nicole: Of course, I mean, I think I always wanted to, I remember as a, let's say teenager, the time you need to decide about university, I was between.

Two things. I think I, I love studying. So I think my thing, I love learning. So doesn't matter what it is. I people say, oh, what's your favorite? You know, subject? I liked everything. Uh, at the end I started being better at humanities and others, but I was still at some point. Good, very good in chemistry. Very good in math, some parts of physics.

So I wish I had more talent. I wish I had kept my talents. I found that time would be great for calculating it or model. Days, which I don't feel they're very capable, but I enjoyed, uh, learning and, and, and I enjoyed traveling. So that was a big thing. So I think, you know, if you're uncomfortable in new places.

So for example, from Brazil, I remember going to Portugal at early age and I didn't enjoy so much because it was so similar. To Brazil. And I think nowadays I would think, uh, differently because it's a fantastic city in LIBO, for example, it changed so much, but the traveling part was inspiring. And so I was trying to find things, you know, what is, what can I do that unite all this many disciplines that I enjoy and, and traveling.

So I initially, um, I also was very good at debating, especially my family. If I wanted something I would debate until they were tired. So it was, uh, some people found that of course, very annoying, but they thought would be, I would be a good lawyer. Right. So I thought about it. And in the end I found this brochure, that's saying, oh, international relation.

It was a new course at that point, you know, remember also globalization and all this. So that's something we have a very, of course at the university of Sao Paulo is let's say top university in Brazil, depending on the subject, but is very, uh, important center, but they didn't have international relations when I was applying for it.

So there was another universe. The head leading that in Sao Paulo and from Sao Paulo. And so I joined that and started doing international relations, but at that point, nobody knew what do you do with international relations? Right? It just, and in the first year it was, it was actually the time when the United States.

Was not ready to sign or, you know, was withdrawing from the Coda protocol, which is the whole, the initial agreement, uh, in the whole climate sphere. So as a student in political science, I was like, why, if it's such a good thing for the planet, why we have the biggest power saying that they don't wanna agree with this?

You know, that's, it's good for the plant. So that's how I entered the, the climate diplomacy conversation. So again, I entered the sustainability sphere through the political. Perspective. Right. And then from that on, I was started doing a lot of understanding how countries negotiate about the trees. So it was climate then biodiversity and quickly I could actually move to France.

So my university had an agreement. So I moved to France and then started studying a lot from the perspective of European union, which is another whole in region and negotiations of agreement to have a global position. So all that it's endless and it was fascinating. But I tended to focus on the sustainable stable development aspects.

And, you know, we have in Rio, Brazil also, we are very, it's a very important country for sustainable development. The Amazon has always been on the agenda. We have infinite natural resources, you know, is the mega diverse, uh, countries top.

So Brazil has been very important for this negotiations. And so that's why I started my academic life. And there was no specific moment, right. This, I had an aha moment for other things later, but for that, I just really enjoyed the disciplines.

And, and that's how I think also. We say the planetary health is really about multidisciplinary, you know, whatever we do, we need to unite disciplines. And international relations was always a, let's say a collection of disciplines. You did economics, law, sociology, you know, theology, linguistics things. And you had to make sense of all this.

So I think from the early age, I was maybe comfortable navigating multidisciplinary systems and which today is very useful because, you know, you're kind of comfortable. You're not there to protect a discipline and you're just free to kind of have this dialogue, which is so, so important. So tell us about some of the fellowships that you've done through the years, the international Institute for sustainable development.

Passionistas: What was your work like there?

Nicole: Yeah, so, well, the international for sustainable development is actually the it's more, um, it's a think tank and that's through this organization that I could. Actually be in the practice of sustainability tracking sustainable development in real time, because you are, uh, going to all this at the UN and, and, and trying to understand the country's positions and why.

So it's a lot of work of Intel in the end, the product you would say you would do reports and informing in a very succinct, uh, way what countries are doing. However you need the whole background. So we were, most of the people there were doing their PhDs or at least a master in one of the specific negoti later negotiations.

So it was more, uh, yeah, so we were part of a global team tracking this, but usually also connected to your academic. Research. So this was during my PhD times where I could, I think, you know, I don't know, almost 60 countries and, and it was gave a lot of perspective, you know, from what people think, because one [00:12:00] solution, you know, in Europe is not a solution in Africa is on solution in Latin America.

And that's, that's why it's so slow. And that's why it's so difficult because of course we do need global solutions. However, you still need to kind of get the. Contextualized moments of this. So very challenging, but that's what I did there. It was really getting, uh, and track and sustainability in practice at the UN level.

Passionistas: And as we mentioned in our intro in 2019, you became the first awardee of the Klaus Töpfer Sustainability Fellow. So tell us about that period and what, and what that experience was like.

Nicole: So that's a very recent experience and it's, it's one of my favorites because it gave so, um, gave me a lot of freedom to, I think, do follow my passion and do the things that, you know, I use usually say it's it's.

When is a time that you have time and money together, you know, it never either you have time or no, uh, no money or money and no time. So this was, this fellowship is really dedicated for two kind of people do their projects and elevate them. And so I was so proud to, uh, cost software is the former Minnesota environment in Germany.

He was also the head of the United Nations department program before. So it was someone who was, you know, doing politics in Germany. But also went moved to Kenya and was the head of a large organization. And he had to also understand, right. This compromises, how it works. Africa is not the same as Germany.

So, um, and of course it's very influential. Public figure. So I, he, uh, and together a few of, I think Noble Prizes founded, uh, this Institute in, in Potsdam. And it's a very interesting, I think I had a lot of intellectual freedom there and I could develop the book, "Breaking the Silos for Planetary Health," which if you don't have time to sit down and write it's, you know, you never finish.

So I could do that. I could support Brazil in a large [00:14:00] planetary health global event together with the Harvard university. And this was a fantastic, uh, really expanding the field of planetary health in Latin America. Because one of the things I try to say is there's no point of having planetary health conversation.

If it's only in Australia, Europe and you know, North America. So I need to bring that to the global south. And I could found the social enterprise, uh, called women leadership, monetary health, and, and this has opened so many. To a lot of my work today. So I really enjoyed that and, and very supportive colleagues and directors, and it was really, really a very fun time in my career. I must, I'm very thankful for that. I think it was, you know, when you got these things at the right time, you really could. I think I used the opportunity and then COVID came and that for me professionally, Was good because I was talking so much about health sustainability, and unfortunately, see, you need a crisis to push these things and it's a sad reality, but from that perspective was a good timing to talk about this.

Passionistas: Talk us through what you do. You connect policy makers and researchers. So what is that process? What's your day like?

Nicole: Well, that's funny. My day has been the most. I don't have a routine I have now. I think it's first two weeks that I'm having more of a routine in my life and I'm almost 40. So I enjoy that.

I think I worked a lot to get a lot of flexibility in my work life. So I have absolutely no routine because every day, and now with the pandemic, it became then a different world. Why we could do so much virtually and things, but it was more about, so I did a lot of work in different countries when. You know, ISD the internet.

When I said I was tracking sustainment about negotiations, every time was in a different country. So I would be in the desert and the next week I would be in the Arctic literally. So you'll have to Pack, you know, for north of Finland and Dubai. So it has been very hectic, but I enjoyed that, but definitely not a common.

Existence, especially for women, as we know, you know, people expect that you have your traditional things and then you have your family life like a traditional way and all that. And I always refused in a way and said, no, that's really exciting to not have these routine. That's not what I want. And during this time, so you, why, if you travel so much, you're also connecting with people around the planet.

So it facilitates so. Your work doing, you know, if you have to gathering intelligence, you have to see what that country's thinking and what the others. So how can I, if I'm writing a paper. Or, or, you know, even my PhD, I had to really, for, for five years you were doing research and, and, and I was about the strategic partnership between Brazil and EU on the specific agreements.

So things are evolving, right? So I need to track that. And so this connection is. First through research because you have to inform and you have to publish and you have to get the knowledge, but then once, once you are working with these organizations, you're actually also transferring that knowledge or trying to, you know, it's not so much of an academic exercise, but if you do, if you're working with think tanks, then you do round tables and you do other events.

And it's more of the networking part, exchanging the word that I like here. Cross pollinating knowledge around disciplines. Institutions. So that's a lot of what I do. And so it's not a clear cut thing, but when you see, you have to yeah. Do your research like political scientist and a lot of interviews.

For example, the method, if you're this participant observant, you know, you are in the process. So not only reading cuz what is published in the end, it's not necessarily what was happening. There's so much in politics that cannot be published. That's why these personal connections are so important because you need trust from these individuals to get the information.

That's how I think, think it's a very important talent. So this personal [00:18:00] diplomacy with trust building networking in many countries that really helps to kind of today. I have my colleagues that, oh, we will. And I moved to Bangkok after, right. So I lived in France, then I moved to Thailand and I lived in Canada.

I lived in Washington, DC, and I lived in more in Brazil, of course. And now I'm in Italy. So it's kind of, some point gets Tre with the bureaucracy, you know, the visa things. That's, uh, what I'm, but apart from that is fascinating because you adapt and I think that's what the world needs today. Right? We all had to adapt so fast, but honestly, for me, it was.

When the lockdown came, I just felt that was just my regular life that everybody could finally understand that we could do so much online, that we could do so much virtually. So a lot of distracting of the negotiations we did virtually and I worked. Like this with slack or all this chat functions with people around the world that I never met since 2012.

So, you know, 10 years later, the world figured out that it is possible. We don't need to fly across the world to have, you know, a one-on-one meeting that that's absolutely insane

Passionistas: We're Amy and Nancy Harrington and you are listening to The Passionistas Project Podcast in our interview with Dr. Nicole de Paula.

To learn more about Women Leaders for Planetary Health's mission to empower women to lead planetary health solutions at frontlines of development in the Global South visit

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The three-day virtual event is focused on authentic conversations about diversity, equity and inclusion, this unique gathering of intersectional storytellers and panelists harnesses, the power of our rich community of passionate thought leaders and activists to pose solutions to the problems plaguing women and non-binary people.

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Now here's more of our interview with Nicole.

Did you miss traveling though for someone who likes to be on the go.

Nicole: Exactly, that's a very, you know, interesting question and. The good thing is I did so much that I feel that. I feel a bit satisfied with, you know, the places that I've been and it's never enough there's no, if you like traveling, you know, you can always do again and, and learn more and spend more time. But I definitely felt at the beginning was fine because, you know, with the lockdown you could produce everything and write, I used my time, a lot to do the writing and.

What I miss is just, um, the easing, you know, the facility that you could go. So now, if you're in Italy, Italy, you have to go back to Germany. It feels like you're going to another continent in the civil war, you know? So, and that's the thing, it's very, it's sad because, you know, if you have family also abroad and it's just, it's kind of a, a worry that if you need to travel fast and, and, and not every.

We'll have, you know, the same advantages or being treated equally. So in the end, the most vulnerable will always suffer more. They will not have support. They cannot. So I miss, I miss the, the easy connections to exotic places. so in 2019 new co-founded the planetary health research group. So tell us about that and what the mission is of that organization.

So this group is at the, is hosted by the universal Sao Paul in Brazil. And, and it's hosted by the, there is an Institute for advances studies there and was with together with professor Antonio Saraiva, who is an absolutely partnering crime and that in Brazil and an amazing group of. Interdisciplinary researches.

So we were, we actually with professor sarava, we met in the first meeting of the planetary health Alliance in Boston. It was hosted by Harvard and we met in a museum, uh, with, you know, I think it was natural history and you have like ping wings around us. So it was a very fun dinner. And in the bit of the.

And we just connected. And for many years we were, you know, discussing and going to these meetings. Every, every it's an annual meeting until Brazil got the right to host for, for the first time the planetary health Alliance would, you know, give the right for a developing country to host this, this conference.

And then we, we were just natural partners and we had, we were working direct together. So we decided to have this an official center, uh, at the university of Sao Paulo in the most interdisciplinary center. And this is growing now I'm affiliated I'm founder co-founder and professor is really leading that.

Now he's a very senior professor there, so it's, it's just fascinating because it's not something, you know, that belongs to the university. Of Sao, but it's something that belongs to Brazil because we have many partners. We have people from all regions, as you know, Brazil's a very, very big country. So it's kind of really well distributed now.

And it's fascinating to, even for me, when you go to meetings, you have all different accents from Brazil. You know that sometimes you, if you'll sustain your bubble, you don't even listen to different voices. And, and if you're advocating for this diversity in decision making it. You know, it starts there.

We have to have people from different regions, so that's, it's growing and we could host successfully the. In last year. Yeah, because January, so definitely like, uh, last year, I think April, we got 5,000 people who register for this and, you know, from 130 countries. And, and because also it was the first time it would be in Brazil, but the pandemic had to be online, but we really took the opportunity to make this.

An inclusive, you know, not that a lot of people would, this conferences would be usually around 400 people and we could at least bring that to the houses of, you know, in people in hundred, 130 countries. So, and that's why the, what I like to talk about also volunteer health movement. It's a scientific thing, but also if you don't talk and people don't get excited and don't wanna do things, it's usually right.

The planetary health movement, as you know, social movement is very important as well. And I think we've worked quite well and there are now new programs of young ambassadors from different universities and they're doing things. So it's about also inspiring others to, to get to know more about the few, to apply to their, how would they think, you know, in their topic of research discuss this.

So, yeah, so very proud of that one. That's how I could help my own country. Explore the team.

And in 2020 you founded the Women Leaders for Planetary Health. So what is the mission of that organization?

Nicole: Yeah, it was so the United nations climate conference, the cop 25 December. I had it with the support of, I, I asked this organization that was in pots.

I really wanted to do something that would, I was doing so much on voluntary health, but the gender dimension was really mentioned. I wasn't hearing about it. It was just. You know, unknown issue. So, so, uh, I, I definitely the mission is we want to empower women to lead planetary health solutions in the global south, simple as that, because how many women, you know, and sustainability is very full of women, but how many women really leading solutions or, you know, receive funding to do their own thing, or that's the challenge that we have.

Right. And so I wanted to focus. On that discussion first to understand why if we empower women, what's the difference for planetary. And I mean, we're doing research on that, right. But of course there's many indications that you can accelerate the impact of sustainable development policies. If you have women empowered and able to, to take the lead and, and make a change, if you wanna like in food systems, for example, if you, you can be investing agriculture in bio things, however, if women don't have land.

You know, legally they're discriminated and they cannot produce their own things or do practices. Um, it's kind of useless. So we need to pay attention to this, to many of inequalities of inequalities, not only income, but also opportunities. And that's why I wanted to again, bring the planetary health conversation to low and middle income countries.

So I was really targeting that as part of the. That's why the first, um, round we created a digital academy, which was with the pandemic was great because everything could be digital. And it could, we, we had third more than 30 countries participating in our things. So, and, and, and very, let's say non reachable, difficult countries, you know, we had people in Palestine had people from Sudan.

We had people named Zimbabwe from Brazil, you know, in Latin America. In all these women, they all share the same problems, but also the same passion and the same solutions. You see the they're doers, you know, and the, the [00:28:00] narrative is really not to make oh, women is, I didn't create organizations to say, oh, we are suffering.

It's so difficult. They're discriminated. The point is how we empower them to, to do what they wanna do and, but have the right resources and the leadership. So we focus really on, on leadership training sessions and with, we had our wonderful Angela field who also supported us on that. And I was mostly focusing on, on this research part of planetary health.

And so we write papers and do the research as well. How climate or. Biodiversity. How does things connect to gender? Yeah. So that's how we, and it's, it's growing the UN, so it was good to also have that conversation at the UN that's, how it started. And now we are a social enterprise, you know, legal institution in Germany.

And, and that's, I'm very excited to see how this is growing. We have a team in Brazil. Now we have things growing Africa. We have things in Southeast Asia. Yeah. Very excited. That's I think how we get that's the, the passion, I think our jobs. And if you work with the policy makers, it's not always fun. Right?

They're of course politics entered in the middle. Things can be delayed and take time to, to drive change. But this is really the fun part. I think of my work, cuz you see the results and you see also the results at the personal level. You know, you have sometimes I think we underestimate how much we could help people by simple things, just, you know, supporting them with the letter.

So the mentoring part of our, we had this digital academy, but also we were pairing individuals with senior mentors. So we had a mentorship program. Targeting low middle income countries, women in low middle income countries. So, and I heard so many stories after, because at the beginning I thought, well, you know, this is not, I mean, it's not a big deal.

It's just, okay, we're helping a little bit. But when you see the later, what they tell and the things, the decisions that they took in the end, or the courage that they had to do, their own things, they really, you get surprised and you say, wow, and this is, you know, we did this and that's very rewarding.

Passionistas: Can you tell us about maybe a success story, something that you've seen come through the organization?

Nicole: Yeah, I think it, I mean, what I saw a lot was this positive. They tell stories that, oh, when I joined the program, I was, you know, I was a bit lost. I didn't know what to do or maybe careers. And they normally, they felt empowered to take the decisions that they already knew that they would do, but they felt validated somehow that that's, oh, that's I can do this.

So I heard many stories like this. If they wanna maybe start a new master's program or if they wanna change careers, if they wanna quit their toxic. You know, there were stories like this or people who they want to change industries and do more work on sustainability. I saw a lot of this and simply, and maybe at the end, I can tell another story, but don't keep it a secret.

Passionistas: So what can women who aren't kind of full-time activists in this field? What can we do on a day to day basis to have an impact on the planet?

Nicole: Yeah. So this is a very, it's a common question that we get, right? So how, of course, everybody wants to know how they can make a better place of role, but I like to call attention to, to another point, because yes, you can do your recycles.

You can eat, you know, reduce, consumption meat, normally, what is in terms of impact. If you change your diets, that's the easiest and the biggest impact you're gonna. So not so simple to do it. And especially it depends where you leave and your culture or your habit, but that's what researchers show that that's the biggest impact you can have.

If you change your diet, you have of course, more, more, less meat, less a more plants. And so there is something called plenary health diet that it doesn't say you can never eat meat, but you know, Definitely. We have to shift the quantity and the proportion of things that we are eating, as we know we're not so healthy these days.

So I would invite our, our participants to, to, you know, Google planter, health diet. That's an interesting exercise. But what I like to think about, and that's why it's, it's important also to think in this, which is also hard, but the systemic part, right. Nobody will completely change. What I'm trying to do is really how do you address the root causes of this problems that are saving?

I don't think it's our five minute, three minute or 60 seconds shower that will do that. So when we try to put the, the solutions on the shoulders of individuals only, you're not addressing the problem. You're just masking. The problem. And you're just, you know, you want to delay action because what you need to do is to change drastic.

You know, you need to change trade rules, you need to change the way supply chains you need to, it's not only one company, right. That company has thousands of companies involved in their business. So how do we do that? So I'm more interested now in, in really in. Transformative systems for sustainability.

And of course we have the UN sustainable development goals who, who addressed it. It's a very, it's a plan for development and address so many questions that they're important. But as you see there, it's very hard to disconnect one goal from the other, but many institutions they say, oh, I do, you know, SDG two or four or five.

I do gender. And what I like to say, no, if you don't do everything. A little bit, if you don't understand the connections, you're not doing much. So, which is difficult to do because obviously capacity and is limited. Time is limited. Resources are limited. We need to prioritize, use your best skills and maybe focus on what you can do best, but you need partnerships.

Nobody will do this alone. So that's why the individual quest, what can we do is yeah, you can start with your house and then maybe influencing your own family and your building and start expanding, but also try to educate yourself about these connections, because I see a lot of people. Oh, use this or consume that, but there's so many inconsistencies things, you know, they would, maybe they are young activists, but they're using Neo Polish full of chemicals for, because it's cheaper from, I don't know, another country try to understand the whole picture.

And, and I think that's the way we can have a bigger impact and on women. Right. Let me just, uh, address that. And I think because. Women need to support women. That's simple, you know, for too long, we are also trying this narrative. Oh, women are difficult. You know, today I was hearing someone, if you, since a lot of positions of power are, you know, occupied by men.

Also, if, if you're a woman you're just maybe used to kind of, let's say. Working for men or serving that, you know, the ideas of men have. And, and then if women wants to do things they're normally considered difficult or challenging, you know, this is so typical and, and it's happening every day and it's just getting tiring now.

And I think women need to stop that and help each other. To, instead of making things worse for ourselves, because we already have a lot of challenge in life. So it's, it's just not acceptable that we are also struggling with other women. So I think it just is more cohesion and support solidarity would make life for all of us so much easier.

Passionistas: Thanks for listening to The Passionistas Project Podcast in our interview with Dr. Nicole de Paula. To learn more about Women Leaders for Planetary Health's mission to empower women to lead planetary health solutions the frontlines of development in the Global South visit

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